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Posted: Dec 31 2014, 01:09 AM
the kindred society
'Kindred' is the most common euphemism for a vampire. However, the term is most commonly used by vampires who strive to maintain their Humanity. On the other hand, Sabbat vampires prefer the term 'Cainite' to refer to themselve, as many of them believe that the curse that the vampiric curse originated with the biblical Cain, after he murdered his brother Abel. The term 'Kine' (i.e. 'cattle') is the opposite of Kindred, and refers to human population.
Most vampires live in cities, which are run feudally by a Princes; life in a city is one of constant political manipulation and paranoia, as the Cainites vie for food, territory and power. But while they must dwell in close contact with their source of sustenance, vampires largely fear the exposure to the mortal world, and since the Inquisition the majority of these creatures have lived under the Masquerade - an enforced campaign to hide their supernatural existences from humanity.
In general, vampiric societies consist of two levels: sects and clans. Characters within the Vampire setting are members of one of the clans or minor bloodlines offered, and usually belong to factions associated with these or that reflect a general ideological stance the characters happen to share. For example, a Brujah may belong to the Camarilla, the Sabbat, or the Anarchs, but very few Tremere would be found among the Sabbat and even more rarely among the Anarchs.
Some clans and most of the minor bloodlines declare themselves independent from any sects. In addition, the Laibon, known as the Kindred of the Ebony Kingdom by Western Vampires, are not so much a sect as a cultural group bound together loosely by a powerful spiritual bond to the land and the people of Africa. While the Kuei-jin, also known as the Kindred of the East, share some superficial similarity to the western vampires, but they are actually an entirely different variety of supernatural beings.
Vitae is the primal essence and energies of blood. It is the source of a vampire's power and also the cause of his/her cravings. It is what sustains the undead body of the vampire and the reason they must drink the blood of the living. Not all clans can share the same sources of blood however. For example because of the Venture Clan's upbringing, they have a higher chance of vomiting up non-pure blood (from a homeless person, or someone infected) and gain no nutrients from animal blood.
the embrace itself
When a vampire desires a childe, due to loneliness, regret at an accidental feeding, a need for a pawn, or any other reason, the first step is to drain the candidate dry. Any technique that results in a bloodless corpse will do. Once the candidate is drained of blood, the sire gives the candidate a small amount of his own blood, and this instantly transforms the candidate into a new childe.
The first reaction most childer have after an embrace is raw hunger. With less than a blood point available and no experience dealing with a fully raging Beast, the childe will most likely enter a hunger Frenzy at the first sight of blood. For most vampires, this means that the Embrace is followed immediately by a moment of degredation.
After the Embrace, the fledgling may take several days before the full impact of the curse is apparent. Ventrue preferences take several weeks to define, and the Nosferatu change can take up to a month as the body re-forms to accept the curse.
Kindred change considerably after the Embrace. Physically, they are incapable of eating food, vomiting it up almost instantly, they have no need or interest in sex (although they can imitate the physical reactions if needed). As a result of these processes, the vampire is paler and generally thinner than they were before the Embrace. Once Embraced, vampires are locked into a form of stasis.
Apart from wounds (healed with blood), vampires are restored to their condition at the time of Embrace every time they rise up for the night. This physical condition eventually extends to their mindsets - old vampires find it very hard to learn new things. In addition to the physical changes, vampires experience extreme intellectual and emotional changes. Vampires are unable to climax, sorry for the TMI, but it’s true. Vampires can still enjoy sex, but it’s not as great as it used to be. They can’t reach an orgasm (normally. There are weird other supernatural stuff that can make it happen but it’s weird and stupid and don’t bother with it unless you know what you’re doing.)
Vampires are highly vulnerable to a some physical threats, most importantly sunlight and fire. Vampires burn easily, and will burn up almost instantly in sunlight. However, outside of these, vampires are very hard to kill - bullets do not cause much damage, and their superior strength and speed make them hard to hit, let alone damage in combat.
When wounded, vampires can pass into a deathlike stasis called Torpor, which allows them to heal more extreme damage. Torpor can last for centuries depending on the circumstances, and as a vampire gets older, Torpor becomes a more attractive option. Some vampires have been in Torpor for millennia.
phrohibited acts & misc info.
∡ In places under camarilia control, the prince's permission is needed to sire any childe. refusal to gain permission is a mark against the governing authority and the penalty is final death. ∡ Animals cannot be Embraced
∡ Vitae must flow directly from the sire to the childe. It cannot be placed in an intermediary vessel or otherwise delayed.
∡ The Embrace is instantaneous, except in the case of thin-blooded vampires, where it can take many hours.
∡ Any activity which completely drains the corpse is acceptable; draining doesn't cause the Embrace, Vitae does.
∡ Pregnant women almost always miscarry when embraced. We dont' want to see any daywalkers running around the board.
∡ While two Vampires can theoretically feed their Vitae to a candidate for an embrace, the resulting Vampire will generally have clan and generation as if the lower generation parent had performed the Embrace.
All that a Brujah does, he does with passion that is his curse and his blessing. Brujah adopt passions and causes, which they support with volume and vitriol. Some Brujah follow charismatic members of their clan, while others prefer stances of blatant, defiant individualism. Many Brujah are glad to have an opportunity to speak their minds, then indulge in a bit of destruction afterward to illustrate their points.
As divided as the Clan is, all work against each other in some way, and even when some rivalries within are more embittered than in any other Clan, they still keep together (after the proverb "I against my brother, my brothers and I against my cousins, my cousins and I against strangers"). If any Kindred not of their blood would oppose a Brujah, they would face the wrath of the whole Clan, as even idealists would defend iconoclasts in front of the Prince and each iconoclast is more than ready to beat someone up who humilated a Clan member within Elysium.
Two conventions the clan does support universally are the Rant and the Rave. Rants are just that: Informal meetings of Brujah (and other insurgents, Kindred and kine) at which anyone who can scream loudly enough can have her opinions heard. Raves, named after the all-night techno dance parties started in England, are social gatherings in the guise of huge-scale musical or entertainment events. One usually leads to another, and clues to the locations of the events are often hidden in the media of the gathering in progress.
Nomads who hold closer ties to the wild places than most of their city-bound cousins, they are also closer to the animal aspect of the Beast, and are masters of the Protean Discipline. They were one of the seven founding clans of the Camarilla, but became disillusioned with the sect in the Final Nights, its elders eventually deciding to sever its ties and become an independent clan. Due to their inherent clan weakness, Gangrel are very close to the Beast within; as they succumb to it, it leaves its mark on their bodies. Every time a Gangrel frenzies, they gain an animalistic feature.
This feature is determined by the player it might be tufted ears, a pelt, a tail, catlike eyes, a snarling voice, tusks, even scales or feathers. The Gangrel are considered the most feral and predatory of the kindred, and because of their reclusive natures, animalistic tendencies and loose organization, are the least social of the Cainites, preferring solitude to society. They also tend to be extremely territorial and possessive and to enter a Gangrel's territory without permission is certain death. They do have their role and reputation among the kindred as fierce warriors, but to get a Gangrel to agree to work with others, even other Gangrel, can be a difficult, if not impossible, task.
The Malkavians are a clan of Kindred cursed with insanity. Every Malkavian is in some fashion insane; in game terms, they have at least one derangement they can never remove. They are one of the original seven clans of the Camarilla and, strangely enough, a pillar of the organization. Throughout history, the Malkavians have been the seers and oracles of the Kindred, bound by strange compulsions and insight. Due to their inherent clan weakness, every last vampire of Malkav's blood is irredeemably insane in some form or another. Some attribute this to a curse of the blood, while other Lunatics actually call it a special blessing, a gift of insight. When a Malkavian character is created, the player must choose at least one derangement for that character at the time of the Embrace; this derangement can be temporarily fought with Willpower, but can never be permanently overcome. They are also pranksters, with their "jokes" ranging from benign to sadistic.
Malkavians have traditionally fulfilled two roles in Vampire society: seers and jokers. In the former role, the Malkavians have relied on advanced Auspex and the Cobweb to provide information. Malkavians being Malkavians, this information is generally jaundiced, incomplete, filtered through cracked lenses or a total lie. The joker role is somewhat more complex: Malkavians have a clan tradition of pranking. The exact purpose of these pranks is open to debate; they often appear intended to readjust the target's perceptions, but are also often sadistic. In the Camarilla, Malkavians are tolerated; they are rarely princes but often are important primogen or otherwise figures of authority.
Given their obvious insanity, princes traditionally give the Madmen a certain amount of latitude; in return, Malkavians are generally expected to demonstrate enough self-control to not break the Masquerade. This is not a benevolent arrangement but largely driven by fear on both sides: fundamentally, Malkavians are unknowable and the general attitude among princes is that its better to keep them quiet and happy, since unhappy Malkavians have a tendency towards introducing bizarre and inexplicable incidents to the equation. Conversely, Malkavians need the protection of the Camarilla, and have been modified as discussed above to make them more amenable to it.
The most visibly cursed of all Kindred, the Embrace warps each Nosferatu into a hideously deformed creature; the archetypal Nosferatu resembles Max Shreck's Count Orlok, though the curse has any number of variations. The Nosferatu are the spymasters of the dead, collecting information and selling it for a dear price. They are also the masters of the underground, living in the sewers for protection.
Due to their inherent clan weakness, all Nosferatu have Appearance ratings of zero. They may not improve Appearance with experience points. Most Social actions based on first impressions, except intimidation and the like, fail automatically. In both the Camarilla and Sabbat, the Nosferatu are famous information brokers and spymasters. While this is partly supported by their use of the Obfuscate and Animalism disciplines, the Nosferatu also emphasize information interchange as part of clan culture. Nosferatu invest an awful lot in teaching their childer with riddle games, memorization exercises and other activities which emphasize sharing and hiding information.
The Nosferatu have a deeply ingrained complex about physical beauty, especially with clans like the Toreador. Nosferatu will tend to charge Toreador higher prices, and make the higher clans crawl through humiliating or disgusting tunnels to actually negotiate with them. Similarly, Nosferatu will often accentuate their hideousness by cultivating an array of disgusting physical habits. On several cases where Nosferatu have embraced a Caitiff, the Childe has been exiled or killed. Nosferatu also tend to use Obfuscate for practical jokes involving their appearance, such as dropping a discipline's use for a brief instant and reveling in the effects.
The Toreador are some of the most beautiful and glamorous of the Kindred. Famous (and infamous) as a clan of artists and innovators they are one of the bastions of the Camarilla, as their very survival depends on the facades of civility and grace on which the sect prides itself. Due to their inherent clan weakness, although lovely and seductive, the members of this clan are as much prisoners of their artistic vision and sensitivity as they are its beneficiaries. They are often overcome by the beauty they see around them, and become immobilized with fascination. Such things as paintings, neon signs, or even sunrises can captivate them. This trait explains why Toreador so often fall in love with mortals.
It is said that while the Ventrue are the mind of the Camarilla, the Toreador are its soul. It was one of their number, Rafael de Corazon, who was instrumental in its formation. The Toreador are the greatest supporters of many of the Camarilla's traditions, most notably that of Elysium. This is where the Toreador are in their element, showcasing their latest pieces and practicing their highly effective (and sometimes deadly) form of social manouevreing. From the outside, most other Clans think of one face of the Toreador, but see another. When speaking of them to another, most envision Toreador as the Artistes - billowy shirted, frock-coated fops who crow about the beauty of the ages and lamenting their lost humanity.
In reality, outsiders are less likely to meet such characters, given as they are to sequestering themselves away to work on their latest masterpiece. Far more often encountered are those Toreador whose unlives have become dedicated to the Kindred social scene - Toreador are often a large contingent of the city's Harpies, and having spent years with their bitchy and conniving clan-mates they are more than capable of ruining someone's reputation with a pithy comeback or a damning piece of gossip whispered in just the right ear.
The Toreador portray themselves as the vampires closest to the living, breathing pulse of the humans around them (though this honour might be shared with the Brujah). They claim that this is what keeps them so vital and modern. Indeed, Clan members are often the first ones to be aware of what mortals are wearing, eating, buying and sleeping with. While a Malkavian elder might be found in his 1800s finery, the Toreador is much more likely to be wearing something from this year's Paris catwalks.
Clan Tremere is one of the youngest vampire clans, having just come into existence during the dark ages. In the little time since then they have made incredible inroads within vampiric society and are arguably the most powerful clan in the modern nights. This is due in no small part to their strict hierarchy, secretive nature, and mastery of Thaumaturgy, all of which elicit suspicion, fear, and respect from other Cainites.
The Warlocks stand as a pillar of the Camarilla and are one of its main defenders, despite the fact that they exist almost as a subsect. Some even go so far as to consider themselves the evolution of vampirism, citing their extreme versatility of blood magic and lack of a true clan curse. The Final Nights have many things in store for the Tremere, however, and the more powerful they grow the more their enemies gather.
The Tremere clan weakness consists of an initiation, which requires neonates must all drink from the blood of the seven elders of the clan when they are created. This means that all Tremere are at least one step toward being Blood-Bound to the clan, and therefore must watch their step very carefully when around their leaders.
Clan Ventrue has long been one of the proudest lines of vampires. Its members work hard to maintain a reputation for honor, genteel behavior, and leadership. A sense of noblesse oblige has long pervaded the clan, accompanied by the genuine belief that the Ventrue know what's best for everyone. They not only consider themselves the oldest clan, but see themselves as the enforcers of tradition and the rightful leaders of vampire society. Unsurprisingly, they have long been chosen from the ranks of nobility and privilege, whether kings or merchant princes, but they have also been known as knights and warlords who sought to live by the laws of chivalry and duty.
If anything, the Ventrue have adopted to fill the roles of leadership over the ages, and in the modern nights are more politician than noble warrior, more CEO than baron lord. They remain the largest supporters of the Camarilla and the Masquerade, believing both institutions to be the surest means of protecting vampires from the growing mortals masses, and of guarding their own power.
Due to their inherent clan weakness, Ventrue have exacting and rarefied tastes, even when it comes to blood. The player must pick a restriction on the type of blood their character can feed upon, e.g. only young men, no animals, only virgins, etc. A Ventrue will feed on no other type of blood, not even if she is starving or under duress. Ventrue culture places a heavy emphasis on dignitas, the Latin word for "dignity."
In modern days, it's often described as "Face". Ventrue are completely aware of the unsavory aspects of power, and while a Ventrue leader is just as likely to lead organized crime as he is a Fortune 500 company (the Ventrue really don't object to theft, so much as petty theft), he must always comport himself with dignity, with grace and with honor. At least publically.
The leaders of the Sabbat, clan Lasombra are social Darwinists, predators, elegant and inhuman. Firm believers in the worthy ruling and the unworthy serving, the Lasombra have maintained their traditions even as they have turned the Sabbat to their own purposes.
Due to their inherent clan weakness, Lasombra vampires cast no reflections. They cannot be seen in mirrors, bodies of water, reflective windows, polished metals, photographs and security cameras, etc. This curious anomaly even extends to the clothes they wear and objects they carry. Many Kindred believe that the Lasombra have been cursed in this manner for their vanity. Additionally, due to their penchant for darkness, Lasombra take an extra level of damage from sunlight.
If you described a Tzimisce as inhuman and sadistic, it would probably commend you for your perspicacity, and then demonstrate that your mortal definition of sadism was laughably inadequate. The Tzimisce have left the human condition behind gladly, and now focus on transcending the limitations of the vampiric state.
At a casual glance or a brief conversation a Tzimisce appears to be one of the more pleasant vampires. Polite, intelligent and inquisitive they seem a stark contrast to the howling Sabbat mobs or even the apparently more humane Brujah or Nosferatu. However on closer inspection it becomes clear that this is simply a mask hiding something alien and monstrous.
The Tzimisce clan weakness dictates that whenever a Tzimisce sleeps, they must surround themselves with at least two handfuls of earth from a place important to them as a mortal.
Nobody in the west understood the Ravnos, and now in the Final Nights, it's too late to do so. Misunderstood as a clan of gypsies and tricksters, the western Ravnos are a minor and heretical branch of the undead lords of India. Gifted with the power to manipulate maya, the Ravnos saw themselves as tempters and avengers, replacing the fallen Kuei-Jin in the scheme of the universe. All that is irrelevant now, however, as Zapathasura rose from his slumber in the Week of Nightmares and in his own death throes, wiped out nearly all of his clan.
Due to their inherent clan weakness, The Ravnos clan are all criminals; each Ravnos has a specific vice ranging from plagiarism to mass murder. When the opportunity to indulge that vice is present, Ravnos must succeed in a self-control check to avoid indulging it.
The usurpers of clan Cappadocian and the youngest clan of Caine, the Giovanni are both a clan and a family. They Embrace exclusively within their family (one of many things kept within the family), and are heavily focused on two goals: money and (necromantic) power. The clan weakness of Giovanni dictate that when a Giovanni bites a living being, they deal more damage than normal making it difficult to keep people alive after feeding from them.
The Giovanni are organized as something between a highly ruthless mafia dynasty and a highly ruthless corporation. Favors such as financial responsibilities (and rewards), ghouling, and the Embrace are dependent on performance; vicious backstabbing and cutthroat competition are the order of the day in a Giovanni household.
The Giovanni maintain their own internal Masquerade; a member of the family may be aware that his family is into some weird stuff, but beyond the relatively benign (in comparison) incest and high-finance backstabbing, be blissfully unaware that he's a catspaw for cannibalistic blood-drinking necromancers. Decisions in the Giovanni are made by councils of elders knwon as the Anziani, with age, rank and competence all playing a role. Giovanni are highly family-oriented, even after the Embrace, and will spend centuries guiding their descendants for the greater good of the family (and themselves).
The Assamites are one of the thirteen vampire clans of the Classic World of Darkness. Based in their hidden fortress Alamut in the Middle East, they are traditionally seen by Western Kindred as dangerous assassins and diablerists, but in truth they are guardians, warriors and scholars who seek to distance themselves from the Jyhad. Throughout their history, they have remained self-sufficient and independent clan.
Due to their inherent clan weakness, Assamites grow darker with age.
Warrior Caste Weakness: The Warrior Caste suffers from an addiction to vampire vitae and an aura stained by diablerie. Even if they have never actually engaged in diablerie, their aura shows their blood lust clearly.
Sorceror Caste Weakness: Any use of Aura Perception on the Sorcerer Caste reveals that he practices blood magic, even if the character has no knowledge of Thaumaturgy or Assamite Sorcery and even if the observer fails on the static mental challenge required to read the sorcerer's emotional state.
Vizier Caste Weakness: The Vizier Caste has an Obsessive/Compulsive derangement that is related to the creative or intellectual ability in which he has the most Ability traits
In general, much of the Camarilla's approach to maintaining order involve enacting the Traditions, which among other things means supporting a system of feudal domains and the responsibilities of sires for the conduct of their childer. The latter idea is often taken farther to mean the sire has authority over the childe, and that elder vampires are intrinsically more deserving of respect and fit for leadership than younger vampires.
Whatever the merits of that position may be, it has a tendency to instill great resentment among young Kindred and in the past has driven many to the Anarchs. Older vampires naturally support the social order which they have mastered over the centuries, and in fact much of the Camarilla's policies are designed to facilitate the activities of Kindred who have long ago lost touch with the mortal world.The Camarilla's position in regard to mortals is simply pragmatic.
The Camarilla's position in regard to mortals is simply pragmatic. In the Dark Ages the Inquisition and other mortal forces were responsible for the destruction of countless vampires. Now that the mortal population is counted in billions instead of millions and have created weapons stronger than the most powerful Disciplines, they could easily destroy most of Kindred society should their existence be revealed.
Thus, the Camarilla ensures that mortal populations are not unduly harmed by vampire activities in order to protect the Masquerade, not out of any good will towards humanity. Still, Kindred are encouraged to blend in with mortals as best as possible and to retain the civility and composure that comes from holding onto one's human characteristics. Almost all Camarilla members are on the "Path" of Humanity, with Paths of Enlightenment being strongly discouraged and usually only practiced by elders.
The Camarilla is a global organization that maintains and oversees a collection of feudal domains, particularly in North America and Europe. It is a loose alliance lacking a strong central authority or standing military. Individual Camarilla cities are almost always ruled by a prince with the assistance of the primogen, who either act as a council of advisers or hold their own measure of power. Other offices of a city include the harpy, Keeper of Elysium, seneschal, sheriff, and scourge.
The Sabbat sees itself as the army of Caine, and consequently is tightly organized, far more than the relatively anarchic Camarilla. The cornerstone of Sabbat organization is the pack; Sabbat packs are organizations of 3-10 vampires mutually bound through the standard blood-sharing rites of the cult. Packs have a ductus, who is the pack's warleader, and a pack priest who reminds the pack of its responsibilities to Caine.
In addition, pack members are mutually bound in a vinculum — a sort of communal blood bond — created by the blood-sharing ceremonies. Packs generally occupy communal havens; given the Sabbat's rejection of human mores and its use of artificial loyalties enforced by the vinculum, there is less need for privacy.
Above the pack is a set of hierarchical titles specifically mocking the titles of the Catholic Church. Bishops oversee multiple packs and may also have a specific portfolio; overseeing Bishops are Archbishops, generally holding a position analagous to Prince for a city. Above the Archbishops are the Cardinals, who oversee large geographic regions (such as Canada, or the Eastern Seaboard) and who comprise the Constitory, the governing body that selects the Regent.
Advising the Regent, Constitory and Archbishops or other leaders are the Prisci, a group of elders and other respected Sabbat who take an advisory and judicial role. The higher ranks of the Sabbat enforce their will through agents commonly called Templars or Paladins, depending on rank.
These titles are formally recognized, but also generally involve a certain degree of self-selection. The Sabbat has a formal rite for recognizing Bishop and higher ranks, but any Sabbat may claim a title and try to defend it. However, the higher the rank claimed, the more likely the claimant will meet a gruesome end. The Priscus, in particular, are selected only by other Prisci.
In addition to this structure, two parallel organizations exist within the Sabbat. The Sabbat Inquisition investigates vampires within the Sabbat for any signs of demon worship. In addition, the Black Hand is a militant sect within the sect, and operates semi-independently from the Sabbat that it predates.
As with all Vampiric organizations, organization eventually bows to the demands of power. While most Sabbat belong to packs, elder Sabbat are more likely to live and work without packmates. At the higher levels of the organization, the difference between Camarilla and Sabbat elders is negligible, regardless of how different it may appear in the trenches.
Anarchs are vampires who reject the status quo of vampire society. They especially resent the privileged status held by elders within the Camarilla and other vampire sects; when the eldest hold the most power in a society of immortals, the lot of neonates is not a happy one. The Anarchs themselves are not a sect, per se; in most areas, they are simply a faction on the fringes of the dominant Camarilla hierarchy. However, a loosely-organized Anarch Movement has emerged over the course of the past century, and has begun to establish its own traditions, power blocs, territories, and all the other trappings of a full-fledged sect.
Anarchs are often targeted for recruitment by the Sabbat, but most respect the Masquerade and some of the other Traditions, even if they do not respect the vampires who enforce them or the system that benefits from them. Anarchs, like all vampires, are considered members of the Camarilla by default, but unlike the Sabbat they are tolerated, as per the terms of the Convention of Thorns.
The Anarch's historical origins lie in the Anarch Revolt that birthed the Sabbat, but in the modern nights they are mostly an unorganized rabble of younger vampires and Caitiff. "Anarch" was originally a name imposed upon them by Camarilla elders, since they sought to overthrow the leadership structures of Cainite society, but while many new Anarchs are indeed anarchists, the more traditional desire has been to bring equality and democracy (or at least meritocracy) to Kindred society.
In the modern era, the Anarchs that have been sidelined to the fringes of Kindred society have gathered together under the banner of the Anarch Movement. The Anarchs made their single largest coup against the tyranny of the elders and the sects in the Second Anarch Revolt. In this revolution, the Anarchs liberated Los Angeles in 1944; within a year, they established an Anarch Free State across southern and central California. The Princes of the liberated cities were overthrown and slain, and in their place the much more tolerant "barons" were given a much more tolerant degree of authority over their fellow Anarchs.
Ghouls are created when a vampire feeds vitae to a living creature. Mechanically, this vitae is treated as a single point - for one lunar month, the ghoul has a point of vampiric blood in his system and acquires all the benefits (and drawbacks) of ghouling. Ghouls can hold multiple blood points in their system, but if they try to hold more than a human capacity, it has unpleasant side effects until the vitae replaces their normal blood. As long as a ghoul has vitae in his system, he remains a ghoul: vitae is lost at the rate of one point per month, and when used to power Disciplines. While a ghoul has blood in his system, he will not age.
Ghouls can learn vampiric Disciplines, but at a much slower rate than vampires. In addition, the maximum level learnable by a ghoul is a function of their domitor's Generation. Most ghouls cannot learn more than the first or second level of a Discipline. However, ghouls automatically get a dot of Potence for free.
Animals can also be ghouled, a tactic particularly favored by the Nosferatu. Animal ghouls tend to grow larger and mutate, the result being a somewhat horrifying parody of the original creature. In addition, almost all ghouled animals develop a taste for blood, regardless of their original diets.
Enough of the benefits, now the drawbacks. Ghouls are prone to frenzy, although not as strongly as a vampire. In addition, they are addicted to vitae - apart from the deleterious effects of the blood bond, Ghouls are subject to horrible side effects when the supply dries up. Without vitae, a ghoul will rapidly age physically to his actual chronological age, and ghouls over a century will crumble to dust quickly.
types of ghouls
Ghouls tend to fall into three major factions:
Vassals: who are the stereotypical blood-addicted servant of a vampire.
Independent ghouls: who eke out an existence trading favors for blood.
Revenants: the hereditary ghoul families. Largely associated with the Tzimisce, revenants actually manufacture their own weak vitae. If they weren't all insane cannibalistic freaks, they might even be a new form of humanity.
There also exists a fourth faction composed of roving gangs of independent ghouls who hunt down vampires. They don't hunt the vampires for altruistic reasons or for revenge. They hunt vampires for two reasons: to get their fix of vitae, or because they think it's fun.
Ghouls are addicted to blood, and the control of blood is the primary way that ghouls are managed by their domitors — in addition to more traditional techniques like Dominate. The nastiest part of being a ghoul, of course, is that one is a slave to an inhuman monster that treats humans as chesspieces or the occasional light snack.
Various clans have different needs (and consequently treatment) for ghouls. The Ventrue make extensive use of ghouls, many of whom are only marginally aware of this fact. The Tzimisce are also fond of ghouls, although they tend to use them as one might use modeling clay, and such ghouls are almost invariably deformed. Tzimisce ghouls used as bodyguards or shock troops are called szlachta; others are combined into the gigantic, gestalt war ghouls called vozhd. Some unlucky ghouls are even shaped into architecture for Tzimisce havens.