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Vampiric Disciplines in Brief

      Below is a list of information about the various disciplines; since there are so many printed across different books, it is nice to pin them all down in one place.  Each entry offers a general description of what the discipline can do but there are too many powers to go into here.  Please consult the books for the best and most detailed information.

Animalism is the discipline devoted to dealing with animals and the animal nature inside of Kindred.  Under normal circumstances, animals tend to shun Cainites because they register vampires as very dangerous predators.  With this discipline, though, Cainites can magically call animals and communicate with them; if need be, Cainites can feed from the animals that show up, effectively calling their dinner to them.  At higher levels, this discipline can influence frenzy and passionate emotions.  The Animal Ken skill tends to be very important to the use of this discipline.  Animalism can be found in the Vampire the Masquerade 2nd edition main book.  

Auspex is the discipline that involves seeing beyond the normal limits of the world (without actually seeing into the spirit world, which is the province of Necromancy).  By using this discipline, vampires can see auras and communicate telepathically with others and even more besides.  Auspex is also used to see through illusionary powers like Obfuscate and Chimerstry.   This is a highly investigative and socially useful discipline; although it has no real value in combat, it often comes to the fore in other situations.  Not surprisingly, Perception is important to its use.  Auspex can be found in the Vampire the Masquerade main book.

Bardo is an extremely rare discipline, seeing as how it belongs to a very select group of Kindred called the Children of Osiris.  Most Cainites haven't even heard legends of the Children; they are hidden, forgotten, and don't tend to share their powers.  Nevertheless, Bardo is a powerful discipline that is able to do a great many things.  Some of its effects are usually impossible, like restoring Humanity or bringing a Cainite back from the dead.  Other effects are impressive but usually defensive in nature.  Bardo does not require any particular traits but uses a good variety of them.  Bardo can be found in The Hunter's Hunted.

Celerity is the discipline of superhuman speed.  In plain terms, it gives Cainites more actions than they would normally be able to take.  This is one of the combat disciplines and requires very little to use, making it very handy indeed.  Celerity can be found in the Vampire the Masquerade main book.

Chimerstry is the discipline of mirages and illusions, and it is the unique clan power of the Ravnos.  Small effects are allowed at first, but at higher levels the illusions can become dangerously real.  Willpower is important to make reality seem to be other than what it is.  Chimerstry can be found in the Vampire the Masquerade Player's Guide (2nd edition).

Daimoinon is a discipline that invokes the powers of evil and hell; it is almost entirely offensive in nature and deals with curses, sin, and the summoning of demons.  It is a rare discipline in the modern nights, given that it is the handiwork of the Baali bloodline, but its powers might be granted to others through demonic pacts.  Some of the powers of this discipline are rather subtle, while others are bound to garner some attention and panic.  Occult tends to be used in this discipline a good deal.  Daimoinon can be found in The Storyteller's Handbook (2nd edition).

Dementation is the discipline involved in directly bringing about madness and it is usually the province of the Malkavians, although they are suspiciously willing to teach this discipline to others.  While it is used to make other people go mad to various degrees, practitioners tend to go insane as well.  Manipulation often comes into play in this discipline.  Dementation can be found in The Player's Guide to the Sabbat (2nd edition).

Dominate is the art of mentally controlling others to different extents and even manipulating memories; the higher levels make puppets out of others.  This powerful discipline has several notable restrictions, including the fact that it will not work on vampires of lower generation, but overall it is quite useful in the night to night existence of a vampire.  Manipulation and Leadership can be vital to its use, though other things come into play as well.  Dominate can be found in the Vampire the Masquerade main book.

Fortitude allows vampires to resist damage better and to resist injuries that are normally very difficult to heal.  Although it is a passive power, Fortitude can be a great boon in combat and keep Cainites alive when they would otherwise turn to ash.  No other traits are needed to use Fortitude nor must blood be spent, so it's a low maintenance discipline.  Fortitude can be found in the Vampire the Masquerade main book.

Melpominee is the unique discipline of a very small bloodline called the Daughters of Cacophony, and it is the reason the "cacophony" is a part of their bloodline's name.  This gift is focused on the powers of the voice: how far it can be cast, how enchanting it can be, and how it can damage others.  Many different traits are used to activate the powers of this discipline, and no single trait predominates.  Melpominee can be found in the Vampire the Masquerade Player's Guide (2nd edition).

Mytherceria is the province of the Kiasyd and it has developed in two major areas: the Fae, and stone.  Some powers deal with the faeries or resemble faerie enchantments; other powers do magical things with earth and stonework.  Such a wide array of traits are involved in this discipline that none is more important than the rest.  Mytherceria can be found in the Storyteller's Guide to the Sabbat.

Necromancy has been specially developed by the Giovanni to focus on the realm of the dead.  In second edition, Necromancy is one power, but in third edition it is broken up into different paths of study and rituals (like Thaumaturgy).  Regardless, this discipline allows vampires to deal with spirits and the land of the dead and to create zombies.  While this might not seem like much at first, it must be noted that the dead can know a great deal and make excellent spies.  This discipline heavily relies on Occult and is made even more useful if the Storyteller uses Wraith or some system for detailing spirits.  Necromancy can be found in the Vampire the Masquerade Player's Guide (2nd edition).

Nihilistics belongs to the very exclusive and mysterious Nagaraja, and they only share secrets at a steep price.  This discipline is sharply focused on the spirits of the dead and entropic energies.  It varies from Necromancy in that it generally involves closer contact with ghosts, to the extent that Nagaraja can feed from the strange substance of wraiths.  Many traits are required for this discipline and blood is sometimes important to its use.  Nihilistics can be found in Dirty Secrets of the Black Hand.

Obeah is the only vampiric discipline known for its healing capabilities (since Bardo is virtually unheard of), but it is also feared for its potential to control others.  In modern nights, many vampires have only heard distant stories about the Salubri, and most of these stories are drenched in fear and revilement.  After all, the same touch that can soothe can also paralyze, or worse.  What's more, learning this discipline causes a third eye to develop in the middle of the user's forehead; the eye is needed for some powers, and it sheds a mystical light when the higher levels of this discipline are used.  The few remaining Salubri tend to stick out like sore thumbs when they use this discipline - but they often consider it their duty to help others.  Willpower is very important to the use of this discipline.  Obeah can be found in the Vampire the Masquerade Player's Guide (2nd edition).

Obfuscate allows wretches like the Nosferatu to walk around unseen or appear to be someone else, though other clans possess this discipline as well.  This discipline is ideal for spying and planning ambushes.  It does not rely on any particular trait.  Obfuscate can be found in the Vampire the Masquerade main book.

Obtenebration is the power of manipulating darkness and eventually becoming the stuff of shadows.  This discipline is the property of the Lasombra and they are quite proud of it - and they guard it jealously.  Manipulation tends to be important to its use.  Obtenebration can be found in The Player's Guide to the Sabbat (2nd edition).

Potence is the discipline of superhuman strength, and as such it is a combat favorite.  Vampires with this discipline are simply stronger all of the time; they need do nothing extra to activate this strength.  Potence can be found in the Vampire the Masquerade main book.

Presence involves influencing people's emotions and attracting others.  It has less restrictions than Dominate, since it can be used on crowds and even on vampires of lower generation than the wielder.  Unlike Dominate, however, this discipline does not control people's actions outright; targets still have their free will but they are simply more disposed toward the vampire.  While Presence is not as potent or as long-lasting as the Blood Bond, it is a subtle and powerful discipline that can earn a Cainite a lot of attention and favors.  It is also one of the most common powers, since it is shared by many clans.  Charisma is useful to this discipline at lower levels.  Presence can be found in the Vampire the Masquerade main book.

Protean is the shapeshifting discipline of the Gangrel, allowing them to take on animal forms and turn into mist.  This discipline is extremely useful to any vampire who wishes to travel since it can grant flight and even allow the vampire to melt into the ground for the day.  This discipline does not require special rolls but does require blood.  Protean can be found in the Vampire the Masquerade main book.

Quietus is a discipline that focuses on silence and poison and it is the domain of the Assamites.  Through this discipline, a vampire can create different types of poison out of their blood.  The Assamites' bloody reputation is supported by this discipline's lethal effects.  Since it is one of their best weapons, the Assamites do not tend to share this discipline with any outside of the clan.  Blood and Willpower are often used in this discipline.  Quietus can be found in the Vampire the Masquerade Player's Guide (2nd edition).

Sanguinus is a discipline unique to the Blood Brothers, and for good reason: it is completely tailored to make a group of Blood Brothers stronger in various ways.  It relies on the bonded nature of the Blood Brother's condition and it is unlikely that others outside of such a circle would be able to use the discipline.  Blood Brothers are able to heal and help each other, and at higher levels they are able to meld together into one form.  Needless to say this is a rare discipline.  It relies on blood and little else.  Sanguinus can be found in The Storyteller's Handbook (2nd edition).

Serpentis brings the Followers of Set closer to the snake that symbolizes their god; there is a very good chance that a vampire with Serpentis is either a Setite or is in the thrall of the Setites in some way.  The various powers turn different parts of a vampire into a serpent-like version, granting mystical effects.  Thus, the eyes can be given the hypnotic quality of a snake.  Blood is most important to the use of this discipline.  Serpentis can be found in the Vampire the Masquerade Player's Guide (2nd edition).

Spiritus is the creation of a very, very small bloodline called the Ahrimanes and they violently guard its secrets from others.  The discipline shares Animalism's focus on animals but is based in shamanism and spirit magic.  Thus, some levels of Spiritus are reminiscent of Animalism powers but tend to deal with the spirits of animals rather than the flesh.  Spiritus can be found in the Storyteller's Guide to the Sabbat. 

Temporis deals with the manipulation of time, from the ability to stop bullets to the legendary ability to peer into the past.  Thus, this is a very powerful discipline and able to make a game very interesting (as well as potentially confusing).  This discipline is the special secret of the True Brujah, who make it a point to keep their powers to themselves.  In their war against the more numerous Brujah, the True Brujah need all of the advantages they can get.  Occult is important to the higher levels of this discipline but most of the time, a variety of abilities are used.  Temporis can be found in Dirty Secrets of the Black Hand.

Thanatosis is the discipline of the Samedi, a clan so reviled that most would not approach them even to learn their unique power.  Still, Thanatosis is not without its uses.  It is centered around the body, specifically causing others to rot and wither.  These powers can permanently damage or kill mortals, but Kindred are not immune and suffer some effects.  This discipline also allows the Samedi to change their forms in different ways than Vicissitude or other disciplines.  Blood is absolutely necessary to use this discipline.  Thanatosis can be found in the Vampire the Masquerade Player's Guide (2nd edition).

Thaumaturgy is the most flexible discipline of them all and the Tremere insist that it is their power alone.  Nonetheless, other clans like the Assamites have used blood magic for centuries and will continue to do so for the advantages it brings.  The discipline has various paths that can vary wildly from one another.  The Path of Blood, for instance, deals with manipulating blood in people's bodies, while the Path of Conjuring creates objects on the spot.  By the modern nights, there are many different paths available.  Added to this are Thaumaturgical rituals, which are special magical spells that require preparation but bring about even more useful effects.  In order to work Thaumaturgy, a high Willpower tends to be important.  Thaumaturgy's basics can be found in the Vampire the Masquerade main book; Thaumaturgy paths and rituals are spread throughout many books.  For a full listing of paths and where you can find them, click here.

Vicissitude is the flesh and bone melding discipline of the Tzimisce, and they don't tend to share such a valuable secret.  This power can be used to make people look amazingly beautiful, but it can also be used to effectively erase someone's face - and mouth, and nose.  The higher levels allow Tzimisce to change forms; this is one of the only ways that a vampire can attain a form reminiscent of a werewolf, at least in its size and ferocity.  The Body Crafts skill is needed for better control of this discipline.  Vicissitude can be found in The Player's Guide to the Sabbat (2nd edition).

Visceratika makes the rocklike Gargoyles even stronger and more allied to stone; it also makes them some of the best sentinels in existence.  With this discipline, the Gargoyles can monitor an area with ease and even melt into stone the way that the Gangrel can melt into earth with Protean.  Since the Gargoyles are a small bloodline they don't share their discipline with others.  It might also be impossible for other clans to learn Visceratika, except perhaps the Gangrel and Kiasyd - their link to the earth and stone might be enough.  Different traits are used for this discipline; none predominates.  Visceratika can be found in The Storyteller's Handbook (2nd edition).

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