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Nosferatu

Nosferatu clan symbol

“But I'm on the outside
I'm looking in
I can see through you
See your true colors
'Cause inside you're ugly
You're ugly like me
I can see through you
See to the real you”
-- Staind, “Outside”

Description: It should be easy to talk about the Nosferatu, to reduce their experience to words and perhaps even jokes.  After all, how many jokes have been made about the ugly and the deformed?  We could just say that the Nosferatu have been beaten with the ugly stick to end all ugly sticks and leave it at that - but that would just show how little we've paid attention.  And it's easy to disregard the Nosferatu, to forget about their horribly mangled features, the stinking cellars in which they are often forced to live, and the diseased, unwashed, homeless people from which the Nosferatu often take their food.  Humanity has a knack for ignoring the unpleasant things in life until such things find a way to bite back.

Wise vampires learn not to disregard the Nosferatu or to insult them.  Ancient vampires understand that the Nosferatu can make or break many Kindred simply by watching and biding their time.  Since the curse of Nosferatu blood changes even the most beautiful into twisted, deformed and horrendous mockeries, the clan has developed a power that allows them to walk unseen or to walk around looking like someone else.  This power, called Obfuscate, helps the clan feed, make allies, and avoid attack, but it also allows them to peer into the lives - and secrets - of others.  Thus do the Nosferatu often make their trade in the business of secrets, offering up the weaknesses of others for those who pay the right price.  It is a dangerous game but one that the Nosferatu have become very good at staying ahead in.

As a whole, the Nosferatu are generally closer knit than most other clans.  On one hand, they have to be.  Because of their deformities and their reputation for being spies, other Kindred tend to shun their company except when seeking business arrangements.  Other vampires will gladly take advantage of the Nosferatu if they can, so the Nosferatu often work together for protection.  On the other hand, Nosferatu feel the need for companionship and sympathy like anyone else; sometimes they want these things even more because they are so hard to come by.  In order to deal with mortals, the Nosferatu always have to wear a face that isn't their own, or the mortals will run in fear.  When they deal with one another, however, they can show their true faces.   Very few people know what it's like to be attacked and transformed into a monster overnight.  Each Nosferatu knows that they will have to wear their curse for everyone to see until the night they meet Final Death, which could be a long time in coming.

Not all Nosferatu get along, however.  Since each Nosferatu is deformed by the curse in a different way, it can be difficult to look on the mutations of others; for this reason, some Nosferatu shun all company.  There are also Nosferatu who use their Embrace as a kind of torture or punishment; there have been many stories of Nosferatu Embracing the prideful and beautiful out of spite.  This can cause a deep and abiding hatred that never abates; some Nosferatu have every reason to want to kill other clan members.  But it is important to realize that when the Nosferatu war among themselves it is usually done so silently that other clans don't notice.

Allegiances: The Nosferatu can be found in the Camarilla though they must be especially careful - their very appearance is a breach of the Masquerade.  The Nosferatu in the Sabbat, on the other hand, can be as nasty as they want to be.  The Anarchs also accept Nosferatu in their ranks.  Given the hidden nature of the True Black Hand, the Nosferatu are a natural choice for such clandestine membership.

Founder: The story of the Nosferatu Antediluvian, simply called "Nosferatu," is the story of hubris.  As a mortal, Nosferatu was exceptional: unfailingly handsome, strong, and skilled in the art of hunting.  While out on the hunt one night, he happened to meet and inadvertently challenge Zillah, beloved wife and childe of Caine.  Something in him amused or pleased her, so she Embraced Nosferatu instead of killing him.  The trouble was that she Embraced him before a scratch on his face had healed, and thus the mark was doomed to reappear night after night.  For this and likely other reasons, Nosferatu grew to hate his sire and began to plot her murder.  Indeed, Nosferatu is credited with leading the charge against the Second Generation, which supposedly ended in the deaths of all of Caine's direct progeny.  It is believed that Caine cursed Nosferatu so thoroughly that his entire clan suffers the same malediction.  Nosferatu has not been seen in centuries, which is probably for the best given his bitter and violent nature.

Weakness: After the Embrace, the appearance of a Nosferatu begins to twist and warp into something horrible - and it stays that way forever.  All Nosferatu mutate in different ways, including things like mottled or cracked flesh, sores, discoloration, and flaps of skin.  No magical or mundane art has yet been found that will cure this condition, even for a moment.

Disciplines: Animalism, Obfuscate, Potence