Nosferatu

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Nosferatu
Nosferatu symbol.png Nosferatu logo.png
The Clan of the Hidden, Horrors, Sewer Rats, Lepers, Hives, Scabs, Vagrants, Orloks
Disciplines:

Bane:[[#Bane|Repulsiveness]]


Compulsion:[[#Compulsion|Cryptophilia]]


Introduced in:Vampire: The Masquerade Corebook Renegade store / DriveThruRPG store

Background

Nosferatu are one of the fourteen vampire clans of Vampire: The Masquerade. The Nosferatu wear their curse on the outside. Their bodies horribly twisted and deformed through the Embrace, they lurk on the fringes of most cities, acting as spies and brokers of information. Using animals and their own supernatural capacity to hide, nothing escapes the eyes of the so-called Sewer Rats.[1]

Their Embrace is one of the most painful, twisting and deforming their body into something else forever to be stuck as a monster. The entire transformation process can take weeks and result in deformities similar to birth defects, growths, severe injuries, or, sores; leaving the unlucky as hideous monsters or normal looking humans with conditions. Regardless of their monstrous appearance, they are often some of the most compassionate kindred from wearing their curse on the outside rather than inside. To blend in some will use their abilities within Obfuscate or heavy make-up and prosthetics. Some believe that when trouble is about to come knocking, it's best to slink down into the underground and sewers to avoid detection. Sending others to report into the tower rather than face the Camarilla themselves and be caught out by the hunters storming or being faced by their beautiful counterparts.

The Second Inquisition have noted that this clan lingers around social outcasts, building rapport with them and earning their compassion in trade to better hide from the hunters. The Nosferatu have taken to communicating via codes and dead languages through several sources to not be tracked after the fall of their ARPANET station, SchreckNET. [2]

Disciplines

Below are the powers innate to the Nosferatu as well as the uses they find in it. [3]

  • Animalism serves a purpose as a way to increase the Nosferatu's reach with spying, as well as sending swarms to attack their opponents. It also assists the Sewer Rats with feeding as it's easier and arguably more ethical to summon and drain an animal than stalk a mortal to feed from.
  • Obfuscate has mixed opinions in the clan as some are proud of their ghastly appearance. Regardless of the controversy, it is an exceptional tool when feeding.
  • Potence is a valuable tool in rapidly neutralizing foes in their path. Being able to hit and run a vessel for blood or incapacitate a pursuing enemy as they flee. Many Scabs will think twice before using it in front of mortals as it may expose their deceptions.

Bane

Repulsiveness - Cursed by their blood, when they are Embraced they are twisted into revolting monsters. They can never raise their rating in the Looks merits and instead must take the (••) Repulsive flaw. Any attempt to disguise themselves incurs a penalty equal to the character's Bane Severity, this also includes the use of Disciplines such as Mask of a Thousand Faces. However, most Nosferatu do not breach the Masquerade by being seen, they are instead perceived as gross or terrifying.[4]

Compulsion

Cryptophilia - Consumed by a hunger for private secrets, the Nosferatu seeks to obtain knowledge no matter big or small as long as it's not a well-known bit of information. During this, they also refuse to give up their secrets except in strict trade for something greater than their own. Any action not actively working towards gaining them a secret they take a two-dice penalty. This Compulsion does not end till they learn a secret they deem to be useful, sharing this secret is entirely optional.[5]

Example archetypes

  • Private Investigator - While their looks won't bring anyone to the door, their ability to gather information has turned more than one head. In life, they might have once been a gumshoe and now continue their profession from the shadows.
  • Underground Dweller - Once they lost everything in life they went underground, living with the rats in the dust and debris left behind. Here they've made their home, only surfacing when required and otherwise plotting their schemes from the safety of the warrens.
  • Cleopatra - Once upon a time they were a rising star or one snuffed out too early. Beautiful beyond compare and that invoked the rage of someone without, embracing them to strip everything from them. Now they walk the city with a face that no one could love like they once did.
  • Tech Specialist - Their unappealing presence might deter some, but others know that if you ever need a phone cracked or a server hacked, they are the person to reach out to.

Notable characters

Zelios - A great architect, mason and master planner of the clan, he disappeared beneath New York in the 90's. Left behind were only his libraries, plans and treatises regarding the power location and sacred geometry.[6]

Ambrus Maropis - His reputation as a trend-setter and Masquerade protector is well-known in Kindred society. With a reputation of being on the cutting edge of technology and culture, the Toreador that know he's a Nosferatu loathe him. His persona allows him to sell software he hacks into including the information, advise on security methods stolen from governments or corporations or simply talk about upcoming trends in Elysia.[7]

Nathaniel Bordruff - A former vampire hunter turned Nosferatu who harbored his hatred for kindred society throughout the centuries. He served high profile kindred in Chicago gaining influence, while secretly subverting attempts to confound the Second Inquisition. His end goal is death to all kindred society.[8]

Wauneka - A Vietnam veteran turned information broker, Wauneka has a reputation for protecting the vulnerable in the urban centers of Chicago. While not as technologically savvy as other nosferatu his old school spy skills prove effective in Chicago especially with his street family acting as his eyes and ears.[9]

Jasper Heartwood - An reserved Kindred with talents in stealth and physical prowess, he had lost much transition from kine to Kindred. Formerly a recluse in the LA area as the story unfolds in LA by Night where he is shown to be a major asset to his coterie having a humane side and plenty of dark secrets.

Khalid Al-Rashid - A well-respected Chicago primogen and master swordsman. An elder of the clan who had long searched for a way to win the battle with his Beast, but he never quite reach Golconda. Even when Chicago was dominated by Menele’s and Helena’s war, he proved stealthy enough to avoid falling under eithers sway. He may have found a deep secret, but has long since disappeared or may have met final death. His disappearance is not widely known as a younger clanmate impersonates him to keep the Clan stable in Chicago.[10] [11]

Culture

Embrace

The Nosferatu embrace many different steps of life, typically ones they find of use. The clan has a diversity of needs in these nights. In the new day and age of technology and the disaster of SchreckNET, many sires have opted to Embrace from tech crowd and physical archivists. Keeping information secure and getting it to other Kindred have become paramount in this time offering dangerous, but lucrative opportunities. Other sire may look for the Nosferatu with an inquisitive mind; law enforcement, academics, sleuths, or anyone who are good at unraveling complex puzzles. On the flip side many forget Nosferatu have potence, criminals, survivalists make decent embraces and uses of such facts working as enforcers.[12]

The Embrace into the clan is like no other, their transformation isn’t done in one instance, but slowly over time. A young fledgling may be subjected to the horror of their flesh slowly breaking out in pussing pox, their bones twisting, or tissue lumping in to growths. At the end of their transformation they take on some physical manifestation of their curse. Some Nosferatu look humans albeit with a condition, but some truly unlucky kindred look downright monstrous.[13]

Mortal society

Due to their curse, it is hard for Nosferatu to mingle with mortals. However, they usually find ways to blend in with humans outcasts and humans with medical conditions. Some have more severe manifestations of the curse, so they take to using Obfuscate, or using physical masks to help blend. The other option is to always hunt prey from the shadows. Given their circumstances, the Nosferatu are least likely to still contact humans in their old life.[14]  

With all these obstacles, Nosferatu still like to keep company as do other Kindred. Some Nosferatu take advantage of the outcast's sympathy for them, some even going as far as to convince mortals that they are the only one who will care for and look out for them. They may also convince mortals of this as they steal blood from their exploited victim’s neck.[15] Whether it is unhealthy codependency or pure subterfuge, it is effective. Many Nosferatu use this influence over their outcasts to have decent messengers, blood bags, and street spies.[16]

Kindred society

The Nosferatu are known as clan of secrets, subterfuge and spies. Many Elysia have Nosferatu appearing either wearing their curse with grotesque pride or appear in beautiful masks.[17]  They were the original architects of SchreckNET, a former online hub for Kindred to post information and such. When members of the Second Inquisition compromised the servers, this caused a crisis among Kindred. Even if they saved secrets of their own clan, their credibility was called into question and as their clan members died  The Nosferatu bunkered down and began to plot. As the Camarilla and the Anarchs started to drift, Nosferatu made a secret pact with the Brujah to leave the Camarilla as well. They lied, selling out the Brujah instead to secure their place in the Camarilla.

The Nosferatu now have a stigma of backstabbing behavior with a new clan and faction as an enemy, but they still benefitted.[18]   With the loss of the Gangrel and Brujah, the Camarilla had to turn to the Nosferatu for their strength. Enforcers, hunters, and spies all fit perfectly for a Sewer Rat trying to advance these nights. They plan to continue their stance of bunkering down and rebuilding.[19]  

Even with such a paranoid stance the Nosferatu still take coteries seriously. Once proven trustworthy, they may see a coterie as a family unit of sorts. Many have a habit of compartmentalizing their social circles. Coteries offer a chance for Nosferatu to see other parts of the world that they thought blocked off: Nightclubs, walking under the stars, museums, etc. This helps with the alienation many Nosferatu can feel with those outside the clan. Some coteries may need to work on getting to such a point, overcoming the Orlok's trust issues and the coteries personal prejudices.[20]

Cleopatras

Main Article: Cleopatrans

The Cleopatrans of Yima or Cleopatras are a cult formed at the height of Caesar August's Rome. Who Yima is left to debate, as two separate stories are told about her. One story is that Yima was Embraced before the clan founder was cursed. Others tell of Yima being the Nosferatu who stood between Caine and the Antediluvians to take the brunt of the clan curse while the founder only took a small fraction. The stories are contradictory, but one fact remains with Yima as a figurehead of either sympathy or aspiration. The Nosferatu within this cult adorn their hideous shapes with paint, baubles, and other items to accentuate their beauty and prove their worth as more than their horrid curse.

Despite this cults existence, some Nosferatu and still called Cleopatras whether they are members or not. Some Nosferatu may display some of the cult's personality as well without being members.

Factional differences

The clan has done much to throw in with the Camarilla. The Betrayal of the Brujah is a big indicator of this. This is because many of the clan thinks the Camarilla’s adherence to the Masquerade and being completely hidden is a major benefit to the clan. Though the Nosferatu come together when faced with an external threat the political divide is grating.

Anarch Nosferatu are called Red Nosferatu, and what the Camarilla Lepers mockingly call their clanmates for their “mini revolution”. The Nosferatu who become Red Nosferatu do so from being tired of being at the bottom and hiding in the shadows of a sect. This leads to some Nosferatu who more flagrant with the Masquerade at times. The worst part, the Red Nosferatu may have started taking leadership roles in the Anarch Movement. Camarilla Nosferatu try to undermine these efforts, seeing the reckless breachers and standout leaders as dangerous in these times when the clan should focus hunker down in the shadows.[21]

Exclusive Loresheets

Nosferatu characters have special access to the following loresheets:

Descendant of Zelios

Cleopatras

London under London

The Nictuku

Gallery

Game concepts
Beginner's guide Vampire: The MasqueradeConsiderate playOfficial TTRPG sources
Character creation Merits and FlawsCoterie Backgrounds and MeritsLoresheetsPredator typesMortals and ghouls
Quick references Hunger systemResonanceHumanityIndex
Clans Banu HaqimBrujahGangrelCaitiffHecataLasombraMalkavianThe MinistryNosferatuRavnosSalubriToreadorTremereTzimisceVentrueThin-blood
Disciplines AnimalismAuspexBlood SorceryBlood Sorcery RitualsCelerityDominateFortitudeObfuscateOblivionOblivion CeremoniesPotencePresenceProteanThin-Blood Alchemy
Factions CamarillaAnarchCults
Antagonists Second InquisitionSabbat

References