When a vampire is Embraced, her soul is burdened with a dark, primal instinct: the Beast. The Beast makes her a predator, driving her to savage acts in order to survive. Some vampires resist their Beasts, while others delight in their new, animalistic nature. By drawing on this feral instinct and predatory drive, a vampire can communicate with and control animals, establishing a mastery over more primitive beasts. Animalism can be used on birds, mammals, marsupials, and fish. It cannot be used on insects, nor on creatures whose minds are too simple to understand rudimentary communication, such as mollusks or worms.
Animalism Test Pool: The character wielding Animalism uses her Social attribute + Animal Ken versus the target’s Social attribute + Willpower.
Animals recognize you as a fellow predator and react with suspicion and fear. You can communicate with animals by murmuring to them in growls and using body language. Although an animal is not forced to obey you, it tends to respond favorably to individuals using this power.
You can communicate with animals by murmuring to them in growls and using body language. To ask questions of an animal, consult your Storyteller. The Storyteller should respond from the point of view of a local animal that has been drawn by your howls, chirps, or other inquiring noises. A character who wishes to establish communication must be both visible and audible to the creature. You may speak to a specific animal, or you may use Feral Whispers to interrogate all local wildlife within hearing.
If there are no animals nearby, your queries may go unanswered. Further, if the Storyteller believes you are asking about something animals would not notice (or might not understand), your character may receive a confused or incomplete answer. Asking, “Have any two-legged creatures (human or vampire) passed through here tonight?” will likely receive a reasonable answer. The local chipmunks, stray dogs, or birds could tell you that a pack of six men walked by, and that they were here very recently. However, such animals would be unable to tell one human from another, nor identify the kind of equipment they were carrying.
You don’t need to growl or gesture to make yourself understood. Your Beast can communicate directly with the minds of nearby animals. However, such animals must be able to see you while you utilize this power. Additionally, you no longer need to rely on the animal’s ability to utilize language. When you use this power, you get a mental image of any situation an animal attempts to describe. For example, you would see a memory of the Prince walking to his car, rather than hear a rat’s description and interpretation of what it witnessed.
By uttering a howl, a series of chirrups, or some other identifiable animal noise, you summon animals to your location. Depending on how you call, you can select the size and type of animal common to the area. Although these animals are not your slaves, they are relatively friendly toward you and will attempt to assist you with whatever you command.
Spend 1 Blood and use your standard action to summon up to five small animals, three medium animals, or one large animal. You determine the type (and size) of the animals. Normally, these animals will arrive over the course of the next 10 minutes. However, if you choose to summon animals that are particularly common in your area, it may take less time. Summoning especially rare animals may take longer (at the Storyteller’s discretion). Attempting to summon creatures that do not exist within the locale (such as calling a polar bear in the Egyptian desert) will have no result. Summoned animals are not granted any unusual power to answer your call and must be able to travel to your location. A coyote cannot open a locked door, but will arrive in the parking lot, while a crow could more easily fulfill a rooftop summons. This power confers no special abilities, intelligence, or courage to the animals summoned. Summoned animals consider you an alpha of their breed. If you use Feral Whispers to communicate, Beckoned animals will attempt to obey your requests. They will work for you until dawn or until they take damage equal to their NPC rating.
Multiple uses of this power do not allow you to summon additional packs of creatures while still controlling the first. However, if your original group of Beckoned creatures is disbanded (by taking damage, fleeing, or dismissal), you can utilize this power again to summon a second pack. Further, Beckoning cannot be used to control animals that are currently under the effect of another practitioner’s use of the Animalism discipline (though you may use Feral Whispers to speak with such animals). Animals summoned with Beckoning are created using the Retainer rules, with the following additional guidelines:
• Small Animals: Use the rules for 1-point Retainers. Small animals may possess one unusual movement ability. This movement ability allows them to climb, swim, fly, or burrow at their normal movement rate. Small animals include small dogs, cats, and squirrels, as well as most birds, fish, or moles.
• Medium Animals: Use the rules for 3-point Retainers. This category includes larger dogs, brown bears, coyotes, and bobcats.
• Large Animals: Use the rules for a 5-point Retainer. The summoner might Beckon a horse, a stag, or a grizzly bear. Before going to sleep or entering torpor, you can spend 1 Blood to activate this power. If used in this way, the animals summoned by this power will guard your resting place until they are killed or you wake.
When you summon creatures using this power, apply one of the following additional effects. If you summon more than one creature, the chosen effect applies to each creature you have summoned (all are cunning, or can fly, and so forth).
• Unusual Movement: You may summon a group of medium-sized creatures that possess the ability to swim or fly at normal speeds (such as a vulture, eagle, or salmon); or you may summon a single large-sized creature that possesses the ability to swim at normal speeds (such as a shark or dolphin).
• Cunning: You can Beckon an animal with extraordinary cunning for its breed. This animal is capable of understanding and following more complex instructions. You can give if/then commands, such as “Stay by this door while I sneak inside. Bark once if you see a man approaching, and twice if you see a woman.” This animal is a standard example of its type for all other purposes.
• Swarm: You summon a large number of small animals. These might be rats, crows, piranha or similar creatures; remember that Animalism cannot affect insects. A swarm is built using the normal Retainer rules, and a swarm is considered a single creature for the purpose of combat. A swarm moves slowly (one step per action), and killing a single animal has little effect on the overall swarm. To overcome a swarm, you must inflict twice the normal amount of damage necessary to defeat a standard Retainer of its size. A large animal has 5 health levels, whereas a large-sized swarm has 10.
Quell the Beast
A vampiric Beast is a fierce creature, eager to seek dominance and act on primitive, violent impulses. However, the Beast can be tamed, or even cowed, by those who know how to master those impulses. Some vampires utilize this power as an alpha would to a lesser creature, forcing her Beast into quiescence. Others soothe their target’s emotions, lulling the opponent’s Beast into a sleepy peacefulness. Whatever the method, the result is the same, and the vampire must temporarily survive without the sharp instincts of her Beast.
The target of this power must be a vampire or other supernatural creature capable of frenzy.
When you are the focus of another character’s attention (as per Gaze and Focus), you can spend 1 Blood, expend a standard action, and make an opposed challenge using the Animalism test pool. If the target was in frenzy when this power was successfully used, she immediately falls out of frenzy.
If the target of your Quell the Beast was not in frenzy, she becomes incapable of entering frenzy for the next hour. Further, her Willpower is sapped, and she must spend 2 Willpower (instead of 1) to retest challenges for the remainder of this turn and for the next full turn.
A vampire’s Beast is a critical part of her predatory nature. When it is somnambulant, the vampire is slower to react. If an individual has a Beast trait (or gains a Beast trait) while under the effect of Quell the Beast, she struggles to use Willpower for a longer period of time. For the next five minutes, she must continue to spend 2 Willpower instead of 1 to retest challenges.
Characters with merits or powers that allow them to make retests without spending Willpower can use those merits normally while under the effect of Quell the Beast and do not spend an additional point of Willpower to use those retests. Quell the Beast cannot be used on yourself.
The Willpower-sapping effect of Quell the Beast lasts for the rest of this turn and for the next two full turns (rather than one).
Instead of having to spend additional Willpower to retest, the victim is unable to use Willpower retests at all for the duration of this power.
Subsume the Spirit
The Beast is a palpable thing, capable of influencing the minds and spirits of other animals. Not only can you cause lesser creatures to be cowed, you can actually send your consciousness into an animal’s body, subsuming it completely. The animal’s body becomes wholly compliant to your will, and you can utilize it as though it were your natural form. While your spirit rides within the body of the animal, your own physical form falls into a comatose state. Although you can utilize the full scope of your intelligence, cunning, and memories, you are limited by the physical capabilities of the animal.
To use Subsume the Spirit, you must spend 1 Blood and use your standard action to stare into the eyes of an animal; this power will not function on blind subjects or subjects who cannot see your eyes. Make an opposed challenge against the animal you intend to control. If successful, your consciousness is transferred into the target’s body, and its mind is rendered into a fugue-like state. Because your character’s mind is focused entirely on controlling the body she has inhabited, the vampire has no sense of anything occurring to her native physical form. The character’s original body falls into a torpid state and can neither defend itself nor act on its own. Your body does retain your Fortitude or other powers that are always active while your consciousness is absent. While Subsuming the Spirit, you always know the direction and distance of your real body, although you cannot perceive its surroundings.
Normal and ghouled animals can be targeted with Subsume the Spirit. Supernatural creatures (such as vampires transformed into an animal or werewolves) cannot be targeted by Subsume the Spirit. Be sure to ask your Storyteller if you have a question about whether a creature is an appropriate target for this power.
Normal animals have no disciplines and cannot spend Blood. However, if your character is controlling a ghouled animal, the ghoul holds up to 5 points of vampiric Blood (as per a standard ghoul). The controlling vampire may spend this Blood pool at a rate of 1 Blood per turn, regardless of the character’s generation. You cannot spend this Blood to affect your character’s native form in any manner.
A character cannot use any of her own disciplines while using Subsume the Spirit. You can spend the ghoul’s Blood to fuel the ghoul’s Physical powers: Celerity, Fortitude, and Potence. While using Subsume the Spirit, a character uses her own Mental attributes and focuses, Social attributes and focuses, Skills, and Backgrounds in challenges. However, you utilize the Physical attribute of the animal for any Physical challenges. This attribute is equal to double that animal’s NPC rating. If the animal you are controlling has the power to fly or is adapted to aquatic life (like a fish), you gain its ability to fly or swim at normal speeds.
Subsume the Spirit lasts until the next sunrise, or until you spend a simple action for your character to leave the animal and awaken. Subsume the Spirit ends immediately if the character travels more than 10 miles away from her native body, if the character’s native body takes damage, or if the animal she’s controlling takes damage.
Animals do not take damage from sunlight even when controlled by a vampire. However, a vampire with Beast traits still risks frenzy. For more information on frenzy, see Chapter Seven: Dramatic Systems, page 301.
You can use the first 2 dots of your Mental and Social in-clan disciplines while employing Subsume the Spirit. If you are controlling a ghouled animal, you can spend up to 5 Blood to fuel these in-clan disciplines, at the rate of 1 Blood a turn, regardless of the character’s generation. Vampires with this focus who have Animalism in-clan can activate Subsume the Spirit while in Subsume the Spirit, thus transferring directly from one animal body to another. Each new use of Subsume the Spirit requires 1 Blood point, a standard action, eye-to-eye contact, and an opposed challenge (as per the standard use of this power).
Drawing Out the Beast
Through your keen understanding of your own predatory nature and instincts, you have reached a communion with your Beast. Although none would call the monster tamed, the ability to willfully unleash or restrain your Beast is fearsome and can provide a vampire with a great advantage.
Spend 1 Blood and expend a simple action to immediately cause your character to fall out of frenzy. Alternately, you may spend 1 Blood and expend a simple action to instantly launch your character into a rage frenzy.
You can use Drawing Out the Beast to enter frenzy, even when you would otherwise be unable to do so, such as when you are affected by powers like Quell the Beast. Additionally, while in a rage frenzy, your character receives a +3 bonus to all Physical attack test pools (instead of the standard +1 bonus). Your character still suffers the standard -2 penalty to Physical defense pools while in frenzy.