The Cities of Eternal Fog
Vampire: The Requiem revolves around the clandestine world of Vampires. In this world, vampires aren’t lone predators or tortured humans with a debilitating disease. They are an entire society of villains, heroes, and anti-heroes.
Fact and Fiction
- Vampires must sustain themselves on the blood of the living: Fact. For the Kindred, the act of feeding becomes highly sensual. The vessel feels ecstatic when it happens, and the feeding vampire undergoes a heady rush as well. Certain vampires sustain their undeath by drinking the blood of animals, but rarely for long, as either their tastes or the needs of their cursed bodies force them to seek human blood.
- Vampires are “immortal”: Myth and fact. Although vampires do not appear to age, and some survive for centuries, the Kindred use the word “undead” rather than “immortal.” Vampirism is a curse, not a blessing. It does carry with it great power, but the state of being a vampire also brings with it numerous detriments, not the least of which include the internalized rage of the Beast and feeding on human blood.
- A vampire’s prey becomes a vampire: Myth. You do not necessarily become a vampire if you’re bitten or killed by a vampire. It takes a conscious act of will, known as the Embrace, to create a new vampire. Indeed, a vampire leaves little to mark her passing if she is careful. All a vampire must do to hide the wound left by her feeding is to lick it when she’s done.
- Vampires have every manner of supernatural power, such as turning into animals, flying and wielding the strength of a dozen men: Fact. While these powers are not universal, vampires have unique abilities known as Disciplines, which can grant individual undead capabilities such as these and more.
- Vampires can have sex: Fact. While the act of feeding replaces all physical urges, vampires can still indulge in sex and even take pleasure from it. Curiously, however, the emotional aspect of sex vanishes after the Embrace. A vampire might enjoy the physical sensation of sex, but no more than she enjoys a particularly savory smell or the touch of a luxurious fabric.
- A wooden stake destroys vampires: Myth. Vampires aren’t destroyed upon being staked, they’re held in stasis. A vampire’s body slowly withers and turns inward while trapped in this state, desiccating and becoming ever more corpselike. Vampires don’t show up like normal people on camera or in mirrors: Fact. Vampires show up with their features obscured in photographic media (including video footage) and in mirrors. They can temporarily counteract this effect, but the “default” is a sort of occlusion. The same is not true for voice recordings; vampires’ voices are captured normally on those.
- Sunlight burns vampires: Fact. As part of their curse, vampires recoil at the touch of the sun, its vital rays scorching their undead flesh. Vampires typically spend the daylight hours in the cold sleep of undeath, and only the most resolute can shake off the weight of the day’s forced slumber for even a short time.
- Garlic and running water repels vampires: Myth. Such notions are nothing more than old wives’ tales, cultural biases or perhaps the banes of certain bloodlines of Kindred. Vampires are repulsed by crosses and other holy symbols: Myth — almost. While such is not generally the case, the devout sometimes do affect the Kindred with miraculous aspects of their faith.
- Vampires’ souls are as dead as their bodies after they become undead: Myth and fact. While a vampire might believe that he feels an emotion, what he actually feels is the echo of mortal emotions that the remnants of his soul apply to his current experience. That is, a vampire who feels angry might indeed be angry at the subject of his ire, but the resonance of the emotion actually comes from some situation the vampire dealt with in life. This condition results in many strange situations. A vampire who has never experienced a given emotion before becoming Kindred might be emotionally confused, while a vampiric artist might create a work of “art” that is awkwardly devoid of any true emotional insight.
There are five clans in the world, each with distinct traits. A vampire’s clan is passed down through their blood from sire to childe.
The Daeva are the succubuses. Tempting, social, and mesmerizing, these vampires have much in common with those describes in the work of Anne Rice.
The Ventrue are the leaders of vampiric society. They epitomize the vampire as the controlling businessman, ruthless CEO, or just a well-connected lawyer.
The Nosferatu are the most monstrous of the clans. They all have some sort of physical deformity, and are epitomized by the classic film, “Nosferatu.”
The Gangrels are the muscle of vampires. Tough and durable, they often share a close tie to the natural world. Or just like to hurt things.
The Mekhet are the mysterious scientists and scholars of the vampires. Oftentimes, they seek to understand more about their world and their condition, or simply choose to focus on academic pursuits.
Virtue and Vice
Vampires are created for a reason. They are rarely accidents or mistakes, even if they may appear to be so. Sires must expend considerable resources and energy to create another vampire. So the two most likely motivations are that they see the usefulness of a mortal or simple loneliness.
At this point, it’d be a good idea to check out the Government of San Francisco page, in order to get a better view of the vampiric society you’ll be participating in. Also, it’d be a good idea to check out the Covenants page to determine what your character’s Covenant (or lack thereof) should be. Also, it’d be a good idea to check out this wiki for more information about the game.