The Corpse In The Monster

This path enhances the necromantic understanding of the unliving form and allows the user to fully experience the corpse as a gateway between life and death. The path lets the vampire apply some of a corpse’s traits to a vampire, and she can enhance or reduce these traits at various levels of the power.

• Masque of Death

The character with this ability can assume a visage of death or inflict that shape on another vampire. The victim’s flesh becomes pallid and thin (if it is not already), and skin pulls tight against bone. This ability can be very useful, as it allows one to hide in plain sight in a tomb or crypt at any time (though the character remains as vulnerable to sunlight and fire as ever). When a necromancer uses this power on another Kindred, the victim gains the same corpselike demeanor. In this sense, the ability works as something of a minor curse.


The player spends one blood point for the character to gain the form described. Those afflicted with the Masque of Death lose two points of Dexterity and Appearance (minimum of 1 in Dexterity and 0 in Appearance) for the duration of the power. The player also gets two extra dice to his Intimidation dice pool, should he wish to terrify any onlookers. Further, if the character remains perfectly still, observers must roll five successes on a Perception + Medicine roll (difficulty 7) to distinguish the character from a normal corpse. The player doesn’t need to roll anything to have the character stop moving — vampires have no autonomic functions.

If the user inflicts Masque of Death on another vampire, he must spend a blood point, touch the target, and then make a Stamina + Medicine roll (difficulty equal to the target’s Stamina + 3). The Masque of Death lasts until the next sunset, unless the character who created the masque wishes to extinguish its effects earlier.

•• Cold of the Grave

The dead feel no pain, though most undead do. With this ability, the character can temporarily take on the unfeeling semblance of the dead, in order to protect herself from physical and emotional harm. When assuming the Cold of the Grave, the vampire’s skin becomes unusually cold. When she speaks, her breath mists even in warm air — those with exceptional senses might even see a slight red tinge to the breath.

The power brings a sense of lethargy over the character, as a mortal might feel under the influence of a mildly unpleasant disease. It becomes difficult to rouse oneself to action, and very little seems important enough to really worry about. A corpse has no worries, after all.


The player spends one Willpower point. For the remainder of the scene, the character takes no wound penalties, and the player gains an additional die to all dice pools that involve resisting emotional manipulation, such as Intimidation or Empathy. However, the player also loses a die from dice pools to emotionally manipulate others. The character is a cold fish to those she interacts with, and they do not respond readily to her. The Cold of the Grave does not protect the character against the depredations of the Beast. She may be emotionally cold on the surface, but if others taunt and anger her sufficiently, she is still subject to frenzy as normal.

••• Curse of Life

The Curse of Life inflicts some of the undesirable traits of the living upon the undead, removing their corpselike nature and creating a false life to remind them of the worst things about being alive. Targets of this power regain only the unpleasant aspects of life, as culled from the memory of the Discipline’s user. This may include mundane hunger and thirst, sweat and other excretions, the need to urinate and defecate, a decrease in sensory acuity, and a particular vulnerability to attacks that the character might normally shrug off.


The player spends one Willpower and rolls Intelligence + Medicine (difficulty 8) to affect a target within line of sight and no farther than 20 yards or meters from the character. If the roll succeeds, the target suffers the weaknesses of the living without gaining any benefit from that state. He does not become immune to sunlight or holy artifacts, for instance. However, he does become badly distracted by mundane needs, with the net result that his player suffers a +2 difficulty penalty to all rolls. He can ignore these distractions at the cost of one Willpower point per scene. Additionally, the victim cannot use blood to raise his Physical Attributes while this power is in effect, and Willpower cannot eliminate this penalty. The power remains in effect until the next sunset.

•••• Gift of the Corpse

This power, one of the most potent on the Corpse in the Monster path, enables a necromancer to ignore most of her race’s inherent weaknesses for a short time. A dead body is not particularly vulnerable to sunlight, holy artifacts, frenzy, or being staked through the heart, after all, and so it is with a vampire using the Gift of the Corpse. As with the Cold of the Grave, above, the character using this power takes on an even more deathlike mien. It lasts for less than a minute, typically, but that time may be enough to enable a character to charge through a burning building without fearing frenzy or instant death.


The player spends one Willpower and rolls Stamina + Occult (difficulty 8). For every success, the character can spend one turn in a state in which he is more akin to an animated corpse than a vampire. Holy artifacts and sanctified ground have no effect, and the character is immune to frenzy and Rötschreck. Sunlight does only bashing damage, and then only if bare skin is exposed on a clear day. Being staked through the heart is only as much of a danger as getting stabbed through his dead spleen would be. Fire harms him only as it would a mortal — causing lethal damage instead of aggravated.

Should the character end the power’s duration while exposed to any of the aforementioned harmful things, he immediately takes their full effect. If he is staked, he become immobilized; if he is on or near fire, he begins to take the damage a Cainite should take, and he must immediately roll against Rötschreck.

••••• Gift of Life

With the Gift of Life, the character can experience the best and most positive things about being alive. The overwhelming hunger for blood temporarily abates, al - lowing the character to consume and enjoy food and drink. She can also enjoy sex as she wishes, and the sun does not burn her. The Gift of Life comes with a dark, terrible cost, however. Its use is almost sure to result in the death of a mortal, as the vampire must expend an enormous quantity of vitae in order to initiate it. The Discipline’s effects last until the midnight after the character uses the power, so it is in her best interests to use it just after midnight.


The player spends 12 blood points, burning as much blood as possible each turn until she meets that level. She then rolls Stamina + Occult (difficulty 6) and needs only one success for the power to work. A botch has catastrophic effects. The character might be instantly killed or might inadvertently Embrace her victim, for example. If it takes longer than one turn to spend the necessary blood to enact this ability, it does not take effect until all 12 points have been spent. However, the blood must be spent continuously — the vampire cannot burn five, run off and feed, then burn seven more an hour later. On the other hand, she may feed as she activates the power — in one turn she might burn one blood point while drinking three. Since few Kindred above the Seventh Generation can easily expend such an amount of blood, the most efficient way to activate this power is to have a human nearby who can be sacrificed to power the transformation.

After her transformation, the character gains many traits of an ordinary human. She is largely immune to the scorching effects of the sun (Fortitude difficulties to soak damage from direct sunlight are halved, and she takes no damage if she is sufficiently covered), and she can experience and enjoy many of the fine things about human life. She retains a few of her vampiric benefits, however. Fortitude and Auspex abilities remain in place if she has either of those Disciplines, and the Storyteller may allow her to retain other Disciplines as well if he deems them dramatically appropriate. She also retains a vampire’s benefits when it comes to handling bashing damage. However, she is still vulnerable to holy artifacts, human faith, and being staked. Her blood remains vitae, not human blood. Use of this ability — which creates a mockery of human life — may interfere with a character’s Path advancement, at the Storyteller’s discretion.

The vampire is no more vulnerable to fire than any other mortal while in this half-alive state, but she still suffers somewhat from the Beast. Frenzy and Rötschreck difficulties are halved (round up). She can remain active during the day without Humanity or Path-based dice pool caps, although she is certainly tired during the day, since that is not her usual time of activity.

Her Beast exacts a dangerous retribution when her day of “life” is done. Although its influence is greatly suppressed during this power’s duration, the Beast has its way with the vampire for the next six nights, as all difficulties to resist frenzy increase by three. The wise necromancer hides herself away somewhere during that period, but, depending on morality and temperament, enforced isolation might drive her to frenzy on its own.

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