The Cities of Eternal Fog
The Kindred with this ability has learned to understand the lesser creatures that surround her, and to speak with them and make herself understood. It is the foundation upon which all other Animalism abilities are built, for without understanding there can be no obedience. The vampire must initiate eye contact with the animal in question; doing so forges a strong empathic bond between Kindred and beast, allowing communication. This contact is at least partially mental. The vampire may either whisper to the animal in her own language (or any language she knows), or she may hiss, bark, chirp or make whatever sounds the animal might use to express itself. (Some Kindred prefer the latter, feeling that it joins them more closely with the animal in question, though many others deride them for it and consider the practice vulgar.) The animal, in turn, might make some sort of noise while responding. It might be a growl, a low chirp or anything else. The precise nature of the sound is irrelevant, as the meaning is conveyed mostly via the empathic link. Most animals instinctively respond quietly when answering Feral Whispers, unless the situation is a tense or violent one. The Kindred must maintain either eye contact or a constant dialogue with the animal. If she fails to do so for even a single turn, the link is broken and she must reinitiate contact if she wishes to speak further.
Because Feral Whispers requires initial eye contact, animals that cannot see cannot be affected. Additionally, the simpler or less intelligent the animal is, the more difficult it is to link with its Beast or its emotions. Mammals, raptors and certain large reptiles are relatively easy to communicate with; insects, invertebrates and most fish are very nearly impossible.
Note that while Feral Whispers makes sure that the animal communicates with the vampire, it does not compel the creature to obey commands or perform tasks. Further, the nature of the information conveyed by the animal depends largely on its intelligence and awareness. A cat might be able to explain that a large number of humans scared it out of a nearby building, but it’s unlikely to understand questions such as, “Was one of them wearing a green baseball cap?” or to have any real concept of numbers.
Dice Pool: Manipulation + Animal Ken + Animalism
Dramatic Failure: A dramatic failure indicates that the character misreads the animal, gaining false information. Additionally, the animal is immune to any further uses of Animalism by that character until the next sunset.
Failure: Failure indicates that the character cannot communicate with the animal.
Success: Success indicates that the character can fully communicate with the animal, to whatever degree it is capable.
Exceptional Success: Exceptional success indicates that the animal is not only communicative but actively helpful, even volunteering information unasked if it considers that information important (so far as its intelligence allows).
+1 The animal is a predatory mammal (wolf, cat, insectivorous bat).
+1 The character is able to assume the same animal form via the Protean Discipline as the creature with which he tries to communicate (though he need not actually make the transformation).
+1 The character attempts to communicate with an animal in its “native tongue” by hissing, squeaking or what have you (assuming the player is willing to attempt to roleplay such actions).
— The animal is another sort of mammal, a predatory bird or a large reptile (rat, owl, alligator). -1 The animal is another sort of bird or a small reptile (pigeon, snake).
-3 The animal is an insect or fish.