|The Watcher in the Dark|
|Full Name:||Sasha Petrovich Vormoncrief|
|Birthday:||July 7, 1429|
|Apparent Age:||Early teens|
|Theme Song:||R3FORGED - Omen (R3 Mix)|
|Quote:||"It's amazing what people will ignore if you show them what they expect."|
- The local garou are taught that security is not always a thing of doors and locks. Log
- Louise Marquette tries sneaking into the asylum and gets more than she bargained for. Log
- David Green discovers that sometimes, when you think you're safest is when you're most vulnerable. Log
- Nicholas Grey decides to investigate the Asylum some. Log
The years have long since stripped away what humanity once clung to this creature, and even the long sleeps of torpor did little to slow the process. These days, Sasha cares little for the softer sort of things or for trivialities. Including human frailties. His own curiosities and desires are all that matter, these days, and others are not so much scorned as simply ignored as irrelevant, unless they can also be turned towards serving his wants.
- Physical: Strength 2, Dexterity 4, Stamina 2
- Social: Charisma 3, Manipulation 4, Appearance 3
- Mental: Perception 5, Intelligence 4, Wits 4
- Talents: Dodge 1, Empathy 2, Insight 2, Integrity 1, Sensitivity 1, Subterfuge 3, Vigilance 2
- Skills: Larceny 2, Meditation 1, Research 2, Stealth 3
- Knowledges: Academics 2, Computer 1, Enigmas 3, Investigation 2, Linguistics 3, Lore (Vampire) 3, Lore (Occultism) 2, Occult 3, Rituals 4, Science (Psychology) 2
- Disciplines: Auspex 4, Dementation 4, Obfuscate 3
- Banality: 7
- Backgrounds: Elder Generation 2, Equipment 3, Herd 5, Library 5
- Virtues: Conviction 4, Instinct 3, Courage 4
- Path of Caine: 7
- Willpower: 8
- Blood Pool: 15 (3 per turn)
- Merits: Holdings (1), Patience (3)
- Flaws: Child (3), Eerie Presence (2), Short (1), Touch of Frost (1)
- Derangement: Megalomania
- Dexterity (Evasive)
- Sasha is under no illusions that he is a physical powerhouse. Trying to actually land a hit on the little bastard, though, may be easier said than done.
- Intelligence (Scholar)
- Sasha has devoted entire mortal lifetimes to the procurement and internalization of knowledge. In these days, the simple processes of learning are as simple to him as breathing is to one that still lives.
- Manipulation (Leading Falsehoods)
- Long, long ago, Sasha learned that the easiest way to get people to do what is wanted is to tell them what they want to hear. Whether or not those things are true is entirely beside the matter.
- Perception (Keen Eyed)
- Once you've learned what the normal looks like, you learn to very quickly notice what is not normal. And quite a lot starts to be normal after several hundred years.
- Wits (One Step Ahead)
- Foreplanning is lovely, when you have time for it. But sometimes things move too quickly for careful plans, and one must always be ready with quick action to compensate. Paranoia is a survival trait.
- Russian, Slavic, German, French, English
- Rituals (Hedge Magic)
- Born in a time where magic and what is now called the paranormal was all around, Sasha has never fallen into the trap of thinking that reality is just what we can see. He's kept some traditions from his mortal life, learned others through the centuries, and in general has a decent library of little effects that can make things so much easier if used correctly.
Discipline Variants Edit
- Confusion (Dementation 4)
- This manifestation of Dementation was seen only during the Dark Ages of history, having been replaced by Voice of Madness in more recent nights.
The Cainite may cloud her victim's senses just by making eye contact and conversation. The target loses all sense of time, cannot recall most of his memories, and generally wanders aimlessly until the confusion lifts. The victim often allows himself to be "aided" during this time; the tractableness can lead to a gruesome fate.
- The vampire must meet her victim's gaze and speak to him, while the player rolls Manipulation + Intimidation (difficulty equal to the target's Perception + Self Control/Instinct). The duration depends on level of success, with 1 success confusing the target for an hour, while 5 would have the fugue lasting for an entire month.
- Whispers of Loathing (Auspex 4, Dementation 2)
- By implanting whispers of his own fractured madness into a victim's mind, a vampire with this power may infect others with creeping insanity. Each night draws the victim deeper into depravity and despair, as half-heard whispers speak recriminations and advise monstrous acts. The whispers eventually rise to a gale of unintelligible syllables and curses that drive the strongest minds to abject paranoia or suicide. Only the moon-kissed childer of Malkav know this wretched art, though that is little comfort to other undead.
- The player rolls Manipulation + Empathy against a difficulty of the victim's Willpower. If successful, the vampire successfully implants an echo of his twisted psyche into the victim. The disembodied echo whispers intermittently at first, criticizing and offering the worst possible advice in equal measure. In time, the voice grows more insistent and other voices join the fray in howling cacophony. The victim must roll Willpower for each week that the infection lingers. The difficulty begins at 6 and rises by one for each failed roll. Once the difficulty reaches 10 or the victim botches, the power ends and the victim gains a new derangement (paranoia is most common). Victims who roll three or more successes on their weekly Willpower check overcome the torrent and silence the voices, escaping with the better part of their sanity. This power requires the vampire to touch the intended victim or make eye contact.
- Regards the Asylum as an ongoing observational experiment, has little to no regard for the patients as actual people, has no interest in whether or not they are cured, though carefully observes all "cures" and their actual efficacy
- Primarily hands-off, but sometimes introduces stimuli to observe response (see sub-experiment below)
- Was brought up under the medieval theory of madness being demonic in origin (or a curse from God), lived through the Victorian theories that it was a disease, is mulling the modern ideas on the origins of madness and the structure of the mind
- Asylum experiment has prophecy/psychic experiment as sub-module
- Uses the patients as something of a psychic battery/terminals
- "Art therapy" sessions sometimes actually attempts to evoke visions within the patients
- Dream journals encouraged by staff based on Jungian theories, scoured for insights by Watcher
- Checks for psychometric ability by inserting objects into patients’ environment (i.e. a knife used for murder slipped into the kitchen’s supplies for one specific day, responses observed)
- Any that show actual Gifts are shifted to special bureaucratic groupings and more closely observed by Watcher, "special cases"
- This is actually sometimes beneficial, as the Watcher singles out patients that are only "insane" because they do not know how to manage their abilities, and often funnels them to occult societies that can make use of them, though neither party realizes his involvement usually (lucky happenstance, fate, felt the call, etc). Does this because he regards them as skewing his results, since they are only "insane" because of bad definitions and lack of training. Wants those with insight because they are mad, not "mad" because they simply do not understand what they see.
Merits & Flaws Edit
- Saint Benedetto Giuseppe Labre Asylum
- Similar facility in an old Bedlam back in England
- Mostly surveillance and monitoring equipment scattered throughout the grounds of the Asylum, as well as repeaters of the existing surveillance equipment that the kine know about and use. Also a few interesting tools and doodads he's picked up over the years.
- Poor bastards in the Asylum, patients and staff both. To avoid trouble, he uses Confusion on his victims before feeding, and any lingering memories are chalked up to bad dreams or delusions.
- Collecting things here and there over the course of nearly 600 years has given the Watcher something of a hoard of interesting knowledge.
Elsewhere in the world, Jean d'Arc was leading her followers with the Words of God and a sword of steel. However, not all touched by the visions walk such glorious roads.
Deep in what would be later known as the Russian Old Country, a boy was born. He was somewhat small, but food was sometimes scarce, so it was not remarked upon. His eyes, though... those piercing eyes, staring into the hearts of things seemingly from the moment they could focus. Moreover, he was a quiet child, reserved and withdrawn, rarely crying and remarkably calm. His mother, already burdened with four other children, simply counted her blessings that he was easy to tend and went on with her other duties without giving it a passing thought. His father barely noticed, being out in the forest more often than not, trapping the beasts that provided meat for his family and hides to trade. The other children, though, knew that something was odd about little Sasha. They saw him, watching them, always watching.
At first, they ignored him, just a boy learning about the world by looking.
Then they distrusted him, unsure of what he had seen, what he knew.
Then they hated him, for prying at their secrets with those piercing eyes of his.
Then they feared him, for what secrets he might keep, behind that calm face.
It was a quiet thing, undertaken without the parents’ knowledge. Little comments, here and there, soft words spoken in the right ears. Sasha knew what you had done, but Sasha would keep your secret... for a price. Mother and Father never need know... if Sasha got what he wanted.
However, it was not meant to be. Wounded pride seethed within the other children, fed by fear and distrust. And so, during the winter of his twelfth year, while out with the older boys on a hunting trip, Sasha found himself set upon. He was beaten unconscious and left there in the snow, while the boys ran home with tales of a bear and poor Sasha, little Sasha, quiet Sasha, who would never stare into their hearts ever again.
Or so they thought. For while no bear roamed the woods that night, a predator of another sort was out walking.
It was a vampire that found the boy, broken and bleeding in the snow, his lip bitten through to keep himself from crying out. Hypothermia had set in, but the eyes that looked up at the vampire were clear, and without fear. Something in that gaze called to the immortal, saying this was something other than prey, something other than just another of the kine. Something... more.
Sasha’s sire never gave his name, calling himself simply the Walker of the Woods. He was of the Clan Malkavian, and the dark insight of that bloodline flowered within little Sasha as though it were always meant to be. Where the vampires of the other Clans clench their eyes tightly shut when pulled across the border of death, the Malkavians keep their eyes open, and look to the right. It was many years before the fledge was released from beneath his sire’s wing, and by that time his mortal family had dispersed somewhat, mother and father dead, siblings married off, with families of their own.
He systematically hunted down and destroyed each of them, those that had wronged him and left him to die in the cold. But not the clean, simple destruction of death. Oh no, that was not enough. He watched them in their sleep, dogged their steps through the night, until each and every one fled willingly into the arms of Death, seeking solace from the piercing eyes and haunting words of the Watcher in the Dark. His last quarry died sobbing in bed, an old man wracked by a terror of the night, begging God to kill him so that he might rest...
Once that was done, things went more slowly. After all, the mortal lifespan was no longer a factor to be considered. He drifted between townships, watched the cities grow, watched the Age of Reason flower. He watched the kine scurry, invent, and discover with such burning passion. He watched the Kindred skulk, plot, and scheme as though existence itself depended on it. He watched each change the other, back and forth, down through the ages. He watched as the very concept of the human mind and body changed, from a thing infested with demons and evil humours to a carefully studied logic structure inhabiting an organism. And he thought to himself...
"What does it mean to be aware?"
He infested one of the early Bedlams, back before they were named such, before there was even really a name for such things. He watched the inmates, their caretakers, and the people that surrounded both. He drank deeply of the howling, screaming madness of the poor wretches locked in cages, and of the quiet, lurking madness of those that jabbed into those cages with sticks and taunts and stares. And he thought...
Perhaps the inmates were not the truly mad ones of the arrangement.
He began to study the caretakers, those that sought to "cure" this "disease of the mind" with their crude methods that seemed more like the Inquisitor's torture than treatment. He watched, and he saw the weaknesses within them, the fears, the doubts. He decided, then, to conduct an experiment. To see just what separated the Caretaker from the Patient. What was the difference between the lunatic and his keeper?
There are still stories of how an entire city fell into madness, the citizens driven to the heights of passion and the depths of depravity by unseen forces. Perhaps a disease. Perhaps something in the water. Perhaps divine punishment. Some of the citizens even recovered, in time, though all bore the scars of their descent into insanity.
The Watcher in the Darkness moved on, taking his notes with him.
Little Sasha's touch has been an unseen presence within human society for centuries. Sometimes subtle, sometimes blatant, but always there, just out of sight. Sometimes as a mere observer, other times pushing and poking at his subjects like a medical student in an anatomy class. It was not the mere, fleshy shell that drew his attention, but the mind and this thing that men called "madness," and the burning question that lingers to this very day.
What makes a man "mad?"
His latest experiment is one of the more subtle sort. He nurtured the idea of the Saint Labre Asylum within its founder, guided it gently and carefully from the shadows. Even the workers that built the place did not know what they were constructing, and were helped to forget things that would have skewed the results of this little test. For to observe something openly is to change it. To get a true reading, a true insight, the subject must never realize they are under observation.
However, the creeping madness of the blood of Malkav is a subtle thing, seeping its way into the very stones of the earth, given time.
And Sasha has all the time in the world.