From WoD Gotham
Vampire: the Masquerade Themes in World of Darkness: Gotham
This article focuses on attempting to clarify some common pitfalls in VtM RP
What is a Vampire?
Let's set the foundation of expectations first by asking what on the face of it may seem like a very superfluous question. However, when you think about all the different interpretations of vampires in film, books, television, art, and in RPGs it's really not such a stupid thing to ask.
There are the obvious core qualities of vampires like superhuman powers, the necessity of drinking blood to survive, and fangs, but the Classic World of Darkness has its own spin on the genre and the one that we want to focus on here is the aspect that is integral to Vampire: The Masquerade and what most players ignore or forget and that is the Beast.
From the moment that a Vampire is Embraced, it becomes something other than human. Think of it as a light switching off and now your character is enveloped in darkness forever. He is plucked from the light of the stream of life. Disconnected. Unplugged from all that is living and the life force of creation. He is Cursed. That darkness prevents them from reaching out and connecting on an honest level to anyone or anything. Even other vampires or perhaps especially other vampires are impossible to connect with. Why? Because your character is now the worst kind of addict ever. All that he craves is blood. He is consumed with that hunger which is infinitely stronger than even a heroin addict's craving. That is the darkness. Addicts have no concern for other people. They are only concerned with themselves and their fix and a lot of times they have to compete with other addicts to get it. He has to compete to survive among those addicts and secure his supply chain to his fix. He has to establish his access to blood and protect it while keeping from getting himself destroyed.
On the face of it, this must seem simplistic, but this is what the Jyhad boils down to: the access to vessels and surviving. In a community of addicts where everyone lives forever, there is little room for upward mobility. Those that have been around centuries, have their territory carved out and claimed. They have their vessels, their domains, their powerbases to protect them. Newer vampires have no chance to inherent a sire's legacy as the sire is immortal just like they are unless that sire happens to have some misfortune befall them. This is where the paranoia comes in and where vampires ultimately look upon each other as predators all competing for the same finite resources.
The Beast is a selfish creature, like most addicts. It does not share or want to cooperate. It sees others of its kind as competitors. It sees humans as blood sacks full of the good stuff it craves. Nothing more. All Kindred must struggle with the Beast during every one of their waking moments. It, therefore, shrouds your character in its darkness and prevents him from seeing the wonder and light of life and feeling the pulse of creation. Every aspect of existence is coloured by this darkness and as he reaches out to try and connect and retain some semblance of Humanity, the darkness prevents him from connecting. It tricks and corrupts and distorts and destroys everything good and true that your character touches just as an addict destroys his connections to family, friends, lovers, spouses etc. as it drags your character further into the downward spiral that is Degeneration. This is the tragedy and the personal horror that is core to Vampire: the Masquerade.
Humanity and the Downward Spiral
What is Humanity?
- The first is that of a beast - purely driven by instinct, by hunger (welcome to Humanity rating 0). Caring nothing for the Masquerade, caring nothing for anything but the most immediate concerns. Truly, a 'feral' vampire. "Must feed. Must kill." - this is the level of consciousness that the kindred is reduced to. There isn't any true intellect left - only instinct.
- The second is a kindred who is so wholly alien to human thinking that they have embraced an alternate path of enlightenment. That way lies most commonly the way of the Sabbat.
But what does Humanity actually really do? For you - as a player, that is? How is it anything but another series of dots on your character sheet? It's a fair question.
Humanity helps your character blend into the faceless masses. Humanity hinders your character when he's trying to do those pesky things - like torture, murder, etc. It's what allows your character to rise earlier once the sun is down, and allows him to fake being alive. It's also the precarious measuring stick by which the degeneration to a mindless, slavering beast can be measured.
This brings us to the first common misconception about Humanity - to put it plainly: your average human mortal does not have a high Humanity score. Don't mistake Humanity as your character's ability to be human. Once Embraced, a vampire is anything but human.
"Humanity" is about human social norms and morals as per human philosophy, not Kindred. Kindred philosophy is dealt with via the Paths of Enlightenment. It's not about "being human" - that's a tricky subject in its own right (and possibly the most common misunderstanding when it comes to Humanity). It is about morals and not your character's morals. It's the character's attempt to masquerade (hence the name of the venue) as a human by mimicking and even fooling oneself into reproducing their core values as to "what is right and what is wrong".
Page 221 of VtM Core Revised lists the Hierarchy of Sins for the Path of Humanity. Pages 134-136 of VtM Core Revised give good examples of the different levels of behaviour associated with the relevant Humanity levels. Go read up on them. Do it now. Even if you know it by heart, have a good, careful read and think on the wider implications. This isn't just a set of rules/guidelines. This is (to a great degree) 'the essence' of Vampire: the Masquerade.
Armed with this knowledge, let us then consider the actions of your average Joe Mortal for a bit.
Is it likely he would callously murder someone for a slight gain? Probably not. But put him under duress, and chances are he could be driven to that point. Pretty much anyone could be, right?
Would your average Joe Mortal torture someone out of sheer convenience? Possibly. It depends on where this person's personal "point of acceptability" lies.
In many ways, your level of Humanity determines just where your character's manufactured "point of acceptability" lies. The higher your Humanity rating, the less you can get away with as "an excuse" or matter of inconvenience. The less your character can delude itself that it still has a moral compass. In return for choosing the high path, you have to give up convenience. Mingling with the Herd never comes easy and this includes dealing with consequences.
- IMPORTANT NOTE: Having a high Humanity doesn'tmean that your character's beast is any weaker than it is for a Humanity 1-2 vampire. Not in the slightest. All it means is that your character still clings to the social norms and philosophies of mortals in order to evade succumbing to the Beast a while longer. A Humanity 10 vampire can frenzy out of hunger just as easily as a Humanity 1 vampire can. The difference lies in remorse (low Humanity kindred not having any), and taking responsibility.
Yes we said "taking responsibility". That'd be "taking responsibility for your character's actions". Intentional or not.
Someone who "just tries to feel sorry and pouty" over the mortal they've just drained dry because they failed a self-control roll to stave off feeding frenzy, but doesn't actually do anything beyond getting rid of the body is not role playing the actions of someone who has any sense of morality. All they are demonstrating is an interest in ensuring their own continued existence. The only thing that's moral here is the lesson learned from acting in one’s own "self-interest", and you should note the sarcasm bleeding off the screen at this point, since "self-interest" and "morality" are pretty much polar opposites for the purposes of this topic.
A responsible and moral individual owns an issue and then sets out to atone for it in a meaningful way.
Those measures may be experimental. They may very well not work. But they become a key driver. Guilt isn't a matter of "Did I get away with it? Will I get killed?" It's about the horror of what your character has done (be it in or out of her control) and actively working to prevent such mishaps again and to atone for the collateral damage left in one’s vampiric wake.
- REMINDER ON MORALITY: It's generally not the ST's job to explain "what is good and what is evil". Given that we've set a requirement to be 18+ (and preferably 21+) for playing here, we're expecting to deal with fully formed adults. What your characters get up to and "deems to be acceptable or not" is purely up to you guys. The thing that we will do is apply the Humanity Hierarchy of Sins to your actions. You have no excuse NOT to be aware that this is how we operate here. And no, there will not be exceptions to the "No alternate paths of enlightenment"-rule. Humanity is what you and your character's actions are measured by.
If you generate a Humanity 8 character and your character then irreverently treats mortals as disposable meatbags or items of convenience, you may get a warning before we make you roll Conscience. Yes, "the rules" state that an ST should warn a player that a set a course of action will threaten their Humanity, but those are the rules for table-top. ST's aren't constantly available, and we may have to go over chat logs recursively.
Again - this is an adult game. We fully expect you to own the consequences of your characters' actions. So if your Humanity 8 vampire goes on and uses his human minions as a convenient bullet shield, expect at the very least to have to roll for degeneration. We may even deign to strip your character immediately of Humanity as a result of repeatedly ignoring one's Humanity rating. The latter should be RARE (I stress "should", as we reserve every player's right to surprise us). We've experienced some pretty damn cold-hearted actions from some folks. We expect that with this article everyone has had their fair warning.
Why Is High Humanity So Rare?
Have a good look at the higher levels of Humanity ratings (page 221 of VtM Core Revised). Humanity 10 is "selfish thoughts". This means characters have to roll Conscience whenever they even THINK something selfish. Accidental or otherwise.
Take a moment and digest that before moving on...
Being a Kindred and pulling off a stunt like that is nigh impossible. Just succeeding in not hurting people for even a week is a miracle in its own right. Your character is hurting people (even if it's just for a short time) just by drinking a single blood point. You weaken them as a whole, you induce hurt from the bite. What exactly do you think taking blood against someone's will is? Sure, "the Kiss" will mask things over, but it's still an act of theft, if not rape.
Yes, it's THAT pedantic. This is very much a difficult level to sustain and it is meant to be as such. Golconda is by and large a myth for good reason!
We're talking about people's feeling here too, not just bruised bodies. "Harm" does not restrict itself to the physical. A single racial slur, an angry quip could result for a Humanity check for someone with Humanity 10. This is very much "more human than human" and requires constant saintly and selfless thought which is truly rare. Think on that one for a while.
Is Humanity an inevitable slow spiral downwards? Yes.
To be clear on the subject. Is Golconda possible? Theoretically? Yes.
Is it likely? No. You can start out with the best intentions in the world, and merely by sheer dint of "being in a major city" chances are you will be exposed to situations which will make high Humanity difficult. There's a reason that "wise (wo-)men" (and monks and such) generally live a hermit's life away from all manner of distractions and temptations.
So is Humanity just a way of keeping score of the expected half-life of your character? No. The more realistic answer? Possibly. It depends on you, first and foremost.
As a character develops and he (hopefully) claws out his power base there's bound to be some fallout. Sooner or later he will run into some sort of resistance. Even if it's just competition from "Aunt Edna's" store down the road. How does one deal with rivals? Killing them off tends to get them permanently out of your hair, but keeping them around means that they can make your character's life complicated, time and time again. Granted, you're not going to roll Humanity rolls when offing a vampire monster, but that's a very sharp knife's edge to walk - trying to justify to yourself that it's ok to kill vampires and at the same time not doing the same to humans.
Doing something "just this once", be it torture, murder or some other callous act is often the first step into repeating that same act. Once you've popped that cherry it's easier to do it again.
And I bet your character didn't even notice the Humanity slipping away, did he? Nothing like lying to yourself to justify something as "necessary". "Necessary" is a choice, it's an excuse, it's a reason for a choice. It's never "the only option".
Is "being nice and moral" something you really see most Kindred doing? Oh sure, for a few weeks perhaps. Maybe even a few months. Once they're exposed to many of their own kind though? How do you compete with "the ruthless" if not by being ruthless yourself?
As you should hopefully understand and see by now Humanity is very much an ever present inconvenience to the Beast. A kindred's Beast, their lower nature is all about 'the direct path' and selfishness. To try and deny the Beast is to walk a very hard road because you sacrifice in all your actions. The high path is not a matter of convenience, it's a dedicated lifestyle. Even then you're not really denying the Beast. It's still there inside always - ready to claw its way out.
Humanity and the Puppet Master
Have a think on how high (8 or more) levels of Humanity impact the image or fantasy of the vampire puppet master or mastermind.
What are ghouls exactly? Apparently a simple question, right?
Well, they're minions. But they've had their free will stolen by the Blood Bond. There's no nice way to put that down as anything other than slavery. There's nothing benign about ghouling. If your instinct here is to argue the point, you're just fooling yourself. The Blood Bond is mental enslavement. There is nothing redeemable in it. It is one indicator of the recurring themes in VtM which is the perversion and corruption of 'everything' that the vampire touches.
Players can say, "Well my character sees giving his vitae to a ghoul as a gift!" There the point is made that degeneration is inevitable. By rationalizing enslavement away like that, the player character is degenerating. If he were to retain his Humanity, he'd be wracked with remorse - horrified and tormented by his actions.
What about "those mortals" your character has influence over? Say it's a gang, and one of their number gets injured whilst on an otherwise righteous task for your character. That counts as an "accidental injury to another", even if your character did not cause the injury directly. But it was gained in your service. You are responsible for it. At high ratings, any minor wrongdoing is a potential hazard.
It's not impossible to retain an equilibrium of Humanity, but the very nature of VtM (and this is one of its key themes) leans heavily towards the erosion of the borders of acceptable behaviour - of the loss of humanitas. This can be resisted against, true, but to do so will come at its own cost.
A Beast I Am, Lest a Beast I Become
The ways by which can they hope to retain any semblance of control over it are few. Once a part of control is surrendered to the Beast, it is very, very difficult to claw back. Humanity doesn't grow on trees.
Have you ever looked at a pretty / sexually attractive human being of your preference and had an idle, passing thought of "Oohhh! I wouldn't mind some of that!". That's very much "the Beast" in concept - just that the Beast is a LOT stronger and insidious.
It objectifies. Through it, one perceives "things" and "possessions". It does not perceive "feeling, sentient beings". Others exist purely to be devoured. They are something to be consumed or owned. There is no consideration for the thinking, feeling creature it actually is. The Beast is not concerned with long term, or even medium term. The Beast lives in "the now". Immediate gratification is the name of the game, consequences be damned. Considerations for the feelings of others just don't enter into the equation.
The Beast is not like an animal (much to the disappointment of many a Toreador I'm sure). It's far worse. An animal would not senselessly rend and tear at something that is already long dead. Sure, some predators may well be gluttonous when opportunity presents itself (as it rarely does), but that's not Kindred levels of gluttony. If the Beast had its way, Kindred would be over-feeding all over the place, whilst sweating the excess of blood away in rivers. There is no such thing as 'enough' for the Beast as the Hunger serves as a constant driver.
The Beast is not comparable at all to an animal. It is comparable - at best - to a rabid animal. It's a permanent fever, short-circuiting a vast majority of the brain.
Interestingly, this is the nature of its attraction to humans. There's a distinct element of self-destructiveness in this sort of appeal. Think of the adrenaline junkie who climbs up some impossible cliff side without a harness. Treading near the Beast is something that psychopaths like blood dolls do "for the thrill". It's a great thrill...until it goes horribly wrong. And when it comes to the Beast, something will eventually go wrong.
The Beast and High Humanity
All that having Humanity 10 means is that somehow the Kindred has successfully gotten herself into circumstances which allowed her to exist in saint-like conditions. It no way, shape, or form diminishes the power of the Beast. Put into the same circumstances (i.e. - say a pool of blood on the ground), the difficulty to resist frenzy is the same for Humanity 1 as it is for Humanity 10.
The Beast and the Blood
Vampires are about BLOOD. The drive for BLOOD is their strongest instinct. It's their most powerful motivator (whether this is desirable or not). A simple example should make this very clear.
Imagine for a moment a mortal couple in a household. Spouse A is cutting vegetables for dinner and cuts herself. Spouse B's first reaction would likely be along the lines of "Ah crud! Where are the bandages?". Concern for the spouse. Concern for the injury that happened.
Now flip the situation by replacing one mortal spouse with a vampire.
The very first reaction is not "Ah crud! Where are the bandages?", but "Mhmmmmm. That smells tasty." This is always the case - even if the impulse is suppressed a fraction of a second later through sheer will. For a vampire this is THE FIRST thought irrespective of a Humanity rating of 10 or 1. It's that split-second where the Beast tries to drive the vampire to glut herself on even the smallest source of BLOOD that is the constant monkey on her back.
I would like you to chew on this for a while - consider the implications. It's a HUGE paradigm shift.
Imagine a room where a (mortal) mother is giving birth to a child. A vampire will be overcome by the aroma of BLOOD in the air, and will have to fight the urge, CONSTANTLY, to consume the BLOOD. To feed. Any concern for the mortal mother (who may well have been a lover prior to the poor sap's Embrace) is at best second place.
BLOOD is EVERYTHING. It's an all-powerful source for Kindred, of nourishment, power, ecstasy, and misery. Consider what impact this has on the emotional health of a person. Consider the impact of the stark realization that, when a loved one is hurt, their first thought is "Oh yummy! FOOD!" as opposed to "This person I love is injured". Have a good think on how this will change a person.
Angst and Torment
Vampires are miserable beings, in short.
Whether they are haunted by the horrors either they themselves inflicted, or merely witnessed (even if your character proves to be a perfectly good saint, there's plenty of monstrous Kindred and other beings out there), theirs is not a happy or fluffy existence. The young have to come to terms with the horror of their existence and exist in fear of their elders. The elders exist in fear of being eaten by the masses of young Kindred out there, as well as the fear of being used and manipulated by the truly ancient.
Vampires are poisonous creatures perverting and corrupting pretty much anything and anyone they are in contact with over time. Whether it's an "oops" type frenzy that acts as trigger, vampires are built to be forces of entropy through and through. This is a terribly psychological millstone that hangs around each Kindred's neck.
They cope in different ways, statistically speaking, the vast majority cope (if you can call it such) via drops in Humanity. As time progresses (and they become more powerful), their inner angst becomes focused towards those around them. Consciously or not, self-loathing, frustration and so on become manifest in their cruelty and brutality over time.
Vampires are corrupters at heart - intentional or not. That's what makes vampire so poetically tragic.
If they give into their desires (the Beast) their spirit corrodes and corrupts itself.
Vampiric nature, the vampiric condition itself has no redemptive characteristics in and of itself.
The only thing that could be redemptive about vampires would be their individual personalities and character. This is one of the reasons you lot are limited to playing neonates. The simple reality is that the longer one is exposed to the vampiric condition, the more the corrupting nature of being a Kindred eats away at the soul and that slow process is where we choose to place our focus in this Chronicle.To us it's worth exploring and RPing.
Yeah, the first, second, maybe even tenth human that is accidentally drained dry may cause anguish. A Kindred may try really hard to fight the Beast and kudos to them for trying. But it's not a battle that can be won - only delayed at best. The Beast is intrinsically linked to the vampire, and it can be a patient bastard. At some point, through sheer exposure if nothing else, the sight of dead sentient beings will no longer be much more than a point of note. We "adapt" and through adapting, the Beast fights its battles with a deck heavily stacked against the vampire.
And as the vampire herself becomes more corrupt, so does she exert her corrupting influence more completely. She is more ruthless in her use of her power base which becomes a stream of corruption in its own right.
First up: SEDUCTION IS NOT SEX. Seduction is promise of fulfillment without actual fulfillment. Vampires are seductive, yes. However, they are not sexual creatures. They lure mortals in different ways for different uses.
With that out of the way, keep the previous point about corruption and entropy in mind here.
Vampire is all about seduction in its many forms. The seduction of power. The seduction driving player characters towards fall from grace. The seduction of a million and one false hopes or other lies. Seduction is a tool used by the vampire to manipulate those around them.
Seduction is not about role playing vampires having sex.
Vampire 101 Commentariessex for Kindred and final words on Blood Bonds and Degeneration.
Let's Talk About Sex
Vampires do really not get anything out of sex. Niente. Nada. Zilch! Physically it's about as exciting for them as washing your hands is for you. Filing tax returns is more exciting.
Sure, a Kindred might well desire the emotional connection involved (in a bid to keep a mortal lover or whatnot happy), but they themselves don't get any physical satisfaction out of it. Not a single iota. And even so, the emotional connection is a very dull echo of a living memory. Sure, your mortal love interest might be happy for the moment, but there's only so much excitement to be had out of dull repetition. And it leaves a huge, empty hole behind in the soul, as the vampire wonders why she feels nothing. It's one of the most painful reminders that your character is dead.
Sex is replaced by the BLOOD and it is EVERYTHING. Even taking a drink from some hapless bum is going to beat the best sex, the best high of any drug a your vampire has experienced while human. The Hunger is everything and BLOOD of certain more select creatures can be positively addictive, purely because they are so potent.
Feel free to use sex. It's a great tool for manipulating mortal pawns and hapless victims. But that's all it'll ever be, a tool of manipulation. It's potentially good way to feed. If you do your job right, the fellow mortal who's busy copulating (or being copulated with) will be too distracted to notice a brief pang of pain somewhere as they are consumed by the Kiss. But that's all it is - a tool. There is no bliss in it. Satisfaction wise, sex is a complete dud.
In fact, it is more than likely a Self-Control Diff 7 roll might be required, to see whether the Kindred in question can resist the temptation to "have a drink" to get at least a little payoff for the trouble of fucking a filthy kine. Remember vampires are corrupters, what better way to corrupt than to defile an act of love to such ends?
Now in scenarios where the Kindred in question is trying to fulfill an emotional craving to "relive the memory", be prepared to come up with other rolls, as the rather big disappointment for the Kindred will be a stiff and painful (not to mention - likely sore) reminder that indeed they are no longer human. This is a soul crushing realization and players should roll Self-Control Diff 8 to keep their characters from losing it.
Remember, Kindred are not "humans with a craving for blood". The Hunger is an addiction so profound and deeply seeded that it would make a hardcore heroin user look mild in comparision.
Upon Embrace, a Kindred's whole outlook changes. Their senses change - their entire physical body transforms into a disconnected dead thing powered only by BLOOD. Through this cursed perception, their reality changes. They no longer look at "random hot and studly guy" or "scorchingly hot pair of legs/breasts" and regress to a mental age of 6 as many humans are prone to do. They're simply not into that anymore. Those instincts have been replaced with something all together different - BLOOD. Sure, they can appreciate those things that they once did as mortals, but it is no longer of real consequence to them. It's mostly a painful reminder of their lost mortality and the curse of their immortality. So Kindred begin to pervert and twist that which they were and mock it as a means of coping and denying the inevitable - the downward spiral into the depths of the Beast. Why do you think that parts of Ghoul: the Fatal Addiction are so perverse?
Getting Kinky With Fangs
As for the combination of two (or three, four, etc.) Kindred having sex with each other? Shy of being an act of sheer desperation and stupidity (and it should be RP'ed as such) for some neonates, it's really not going to happen.
It's worth reminding people actively here that Kindred are not naturally suited towards sex-related activities. Sure, they can control their BLOOD to go into certain inny and outy bits to give life-like appearances. However, the sad truth is that if you want to appear anything OTHER than a freak of nature, you're going to be spending a fair bit of BLOOD.
The list of what is required for Kindred to have sex and fool anyone:
- Breathing. Deceptively simple to miss, but Kindred don't breathe naturally. They don't need to.
- Heartbeat. It’s a bit suspicious when mortals lean on to your character's chest and don’t hear ANYTHING.
- Body Heat. Guess what? Kindred are cooler than humans. Given that a state of arousal is ESPECIALLY helpful in raising body temperature, you better be burning BLOOD.
- Erection. All organs (and that includes reproductive organs) cease to function on corpses. Therefore, the vampire must use blood to entice his or her parts to rise to the occassion.
- Lubricants and Fluids – Corpses don’t have them and so neither do vampires. You must spend BLOOD for your character to manufacture it.
So we're looking at at least 5 BLOOD to appear fully life like during sex for a scene. Not really an effective method for feeding considering your character may kill the vessel in the process or be hungrier at the end of the encounter than your character was beforehand.
As a reminder, your vampire character is a predator. The predator wants to feed. Always. It's dangerous to be that near another Kindred and in that capacity. Vampires have more potent vitae. They are simply more tasty than mortals. When Kindred become intimate, the pressure to feed is ever present as the Beast tempts the Kindred towards Diablerie
Mutual Blood Bonds or How to Desperately Fake True Love
As indicated already in the Blood Bond article, and in conjunction with my previous explanations, I hope it is perfectly clear when I say this:
A mutual Blood Bond is never in any way to be confused with true love.
There is no “single exception” or “one in a million” cases where this could be altered.
Vampires are beings of corruption and entropy. The Blood Bond is little more than mental slavery of the harshest kind. It is NOT romantic in the least. If you believe it is, you’re seriously deluding yourself. A mutual Blood Bond is an absolutely terrifying thing.
It’s the single worst combination of enforced co-dependence, mutual enslavement with no chance of redemption and all of this under a rotten veneer of love. It is a selfish and corrosive thing as are all things Kindred touch.
This is what the Blood Bond is.
Getting the message now? Corruption. Corruption. Corruption! All they touch turns to ash! This is a recurring theme in Vampire: the Masquerade. The Blood Bond is one of the more compelling ways to explore this corruption. It's not to be taken lightly!
On the Brink
Page 221 of VtM Core Revised says that your ST should always warn you if your actions may cause Degeneration.
This works well until you realize that this rule is meant for a tabletop game where an ST is constantly present. It should be pretty evident that this is simply not realistic for a chat.
We’ve gone to very long lengths (in this article alone) to explain what a Kindred’s morality will be measured by. If we see your character acting in a manner not befitting his Humanity, we will either have you roll a check or simply DIRECTLY deduct rating points (and we hope that this will be a rare things) if a player is just wantonly ignoring his character's Humanity. So choose carefully what points you sink into Humanity at character creation – being willing to play to that standard of morality.
Fair Weather Humanitarian
From an ST point of view, the main way by which to earn our ire is to take the "fair weather" approach to Humanity.
What is that, you may ask?
It’s taking on the mantle of high Humanity when it’s convenient for you to do so (“Oh noes – look at my Humanity! I’m such a noble creature”) whilst throwing it to the winds when it’s more convenient for your character to be reckless.
To repeat, Humanity is about going the hard path. It’s not something that can be conveniently discarded at a whim. We have no qualms with shearing off any veneers of self-deception in this regard. Actions speak louder than words and we will hold you accountable for your character's choices.
Will I Lose Humanity Using the Hunting System?
Kindred who fail on automated feeding rolls, simply get 0 BP's out of the action. We don't give folks grief for it.
When they botch a frenzy roll is made (at which point, you CANNOT spend Willpower to stave off frenzy) so the frenzy rides itself out.
This is quite normal as per RAW (Rules As Written). So we're not stealing anything from you (quite to the contrary, since simple failures are harmless, we're actually quite nice to you).
However, gorging the vessel will require a Conscience check based on your character's current Humanity and her place on the Hierarchy of Sins for the Path of Humanity.