Vicissitude is the signature power of the Tzimisce and is almost unknown outside the clan. Similar in some respects to Protean, Vicissitude allows the Fiends to shape and sculpt their own or others' flesh and bone. When a Tzimisce uses Vicissitude to alter mortals, ghouls and vampires of higher generation, the effects of the power are permanent; vampires of equal or lower generation may heal the effects of Vicissitude as though they were aggravated wounds. Naturally, a wielder can always reshape her own flesh.
Note that while this Discipline permits powerful and horrific effects, the wielder must obtain skin-to-skin contact and must often physically sculpt the desired result. This even applies to the use of the power on oneself. Tzimisce skilled in Vicissitude are often inhumanly beautiful; those less skilled are simply inhuman.
- Nosferatu always "heal" back Vicissitude alterations, at least the ones that make them better-looking. The ancient curse of the clan may not be circumvented through Vicissitude, except possibly by the Antediluvian of the Tzimisce clan (who is rumored to have been destroyed anyway).
- Body Crafts
- Vicissitude is as much an art as it is a power, and vampires who wish to use it well must learn a particular version of the Crafts Skill (p. 124), known as Body Crafts. This Skill enables its possessor to make all manner of alterations to living and dead flesh and bone. The Skill also gives insight into more mundane techniques; many Tzimisce are skilled at flaying, bone-carving, embalming, taxidermy, tattooing and piercing.
Malleable Visage Edit
A vampire with this power may alter her own bodily parameters: height, build, voice, facial features and skin tone, among other things. Such changes are cosmetic and minor in scope - no more than a foot of height gained or lost, for example. She must physically mold the alteration, literally shaping her flesh into the desired result.
- The player must spend a blood point for each body part to be changed, then roll Intelligence + Body Crafts (difficulty 6). To duplicate another person or voice requires a Perception + Body Crafts roll (difficulty 8), and five successes are required for a flawless copy; fewer successes leave minute, or not-so-minute, flaws. Increasing one's Appearance Trait is difficulty 10, thus usually requiring Willpower expenditure for even minimal success, and a botch permanently reduces the Attribute by one.
This power is similar to Malleable Visage, above, but allows the vampire to perform drastic, grotesque alterations on other creatures. Tzimisce often use this power to transform their servitors into monstrous guards, the better to frighten foes. Only flesh (skin, muscle, fat and cartilage, but not bone) may be transformed.
- The vampire must grapple the intended victim, while her player makes a successful Dexterity + Body Crafts roll (difficulty variable: 5 for a crude yank-and-tuck, up to 9 for precise transformations). A vampire who wishes to increase another's Appearance Trait does so as described under Malleable Visage; reducing the Attribute is considerably easier (difficulty 5), though truly inspired disfigurement may dictate a higher difficulty. In either case, each success increases/reduces the Attribute by one.
A vampire may use this power to move clumps of skin, fat and muscle tissue, thus providing additional padding where needed. For each success scored on a Dexterity + Body Crafts roll (difficulty 8), the vampire may increase the subject's soak dice pool by one, at the expense of either a point of Strength or a health level (vampire's choice).
This terrible power allows a vampire to manipulate bone in the same manner that flesh is shaped. In conjunction with Fleshcraft, above, this power enables a Vicissitude practitioner to deform a victim (or herself) beyond recognition. This power should be used in conjunction with the flesh-shaping arts, unless the vampire wants to inflict injury on the victim (see below).
- The vampire's player makes a Strength + Body Crafts roll (difficulties as above). Bonecraft may be used without the flesh-shaping arts, as an offensive weapon. Each success scored on the Strength + Body Crafts roll (difficulty 7) inflicts one health level of lethal damage on the victim, as his bones rip, puncture and slice their way out of his skin.
The vampire may utilize this power (on herself or others) to form spikes or talons of bone, either on the knuckles as an offensive weapon or all over the body as defensive "quills." If bone spikes are used, the vampire or victim takes one health level of lethal damage (the vampire's comes from having the very sharp bone pierce through his skin - this weaponry doesn't come cheaply). In the case of quills, the subject takes a number of health levels equal to five minus the number of successes (a botch kills the subject or sends the vampire into torpor). These health levels may be healed normally. Knuckle spikes inflict Strength +1 lethal damage, while defensive quills inflict a hand-to-hand attacker's Strength in lethal damage unless the attacker scores three or more successes on the attack roll (the defender still takes damage normally). Quills also enable the vampire or altered subject to add two to all damage inflicted via holds, clinches or tackles.
A vampire who scores five or more successes on the Strength + Body Crafts roll may cause a rival vampire's rib cage to curve inward and pierce the heart. While this does not send a vampire into torpor, it does cause the affected vampire to lose half his blood points, as the seat of his vitae ruptures in a shower of gore.
Horrid Form Edit
The Tzimisce use this power to become hideous monsters; naturally, this provides great advantages in combat. The vampire's stature increases to a full eight feet; the skin becomes a sickly greenish-gray or grayish-black chitin; the arms become apelike and ropy, tipped with ragged black nails; and the face warps into something out of a nightmare. A row of spines sprouts from the vertebrae, and the external carapace exudes a foul-smelling grease.
- The Horrid Form costs two blood points to awaken. All Physical Attributes (Strength, Dexterity, Stamina) increase by three, but all Social Attributes drop to zero, save when dealing with others also in Horrid Form. However, a vampire in Horrid Form who is trying to intimidate someone may substitute Strength for a Social Attribute! Damage inflicted in brawling combat increases by one due to the jagged ridges and bony knobs creasing the creature's hands.
A vampire with this power can physically transform all or part other body into sentient vitae. This blood is in all respects identical to the vampire's normal vitae; she can use it to nourish herself or others, create ghouls or establish blood bonds. If all this blood is imbibed or otherwise destroyed, the vampire meets Final Death.
- The vampire may transform all or part of herself as she deems fit. Each leg can turn into two blood points worth of vitae, as can the torso; each arm, the head and the abdomen convert to one blood point. The blood can be reconverted to the body part, provided it is in contact with the vampire. If the blood has been utilized or destroyed, the vampire must spend a number of blood points equal to what was originally created to regrow the missing body part.
A vampire entirely in this form may not be staked, cut, bludgeoned or pierced, but can be burned or exposed to the sun. The vampire may ooze along, drip up walls and flow through the narrowest cracks, as though she were in Tenebrous Form.
Mental Disciplines may be used, provided no eye contact or vocal utterance is necessary - and if a vampire in this form "washes" over a mortal or animal, that mortal must make a Courage roll (difficulty 8) or fly into a panic.