Anger, mortal threats, hunger, or bloodlust are some of the things that can cause the Beast to rise. The Beast is capable of taking over the vampire's conscious mind, forcing them into a frenzied state where they take violent, often deeply regrettable, actions that they perhaps otherwise would not. One of the major themes of Vampire is characters' battles to strike a balance between their violent, predatory nature and being morally responsible before their humanity is eroded by this powerful force within themselves.
Vampires may enter a deathlike sleep called torpor. Torpor may be caused by near-fatal injuries or may be entered voluntarily. In-game, the level of the vampire's humanity determines how long they sleep for. Fire, sunlight, decapitation, supernatural powers, or succumbing to a clan weakness can cause the vampire to reach what is referred to as Final Death - to truly die. Vampires in this state, if not well hidden, may have difficulty defending themselves and are vulnerable to destruction by vampire hunters or Diablerie by other vampires.
Characters in this world refer to the supernatural blood in their bodies that sustains them as vitae. Vampires gain vitae by drinking blood. In-game, this accumulation of vitae is called a blood pool. Characters can replace lost Vitae by drinking more blood.
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A vampire's vitae can inspire false feelings of love and foster dependency if drunk by others. This addiction to vampiric blood is called the Blood Bond. The vampire performing the bond is called a Regnant and the one being bound is called a Thrall. In most cases, a victim must drink three times from the same vampire on three separate nights to become bonded. Once bonded, the victim feels something akin to a very twisted sort of love for the vampire and they become the most important person in their life.
They also become more susceptible to mind control by that vampire and are willing to do anything, even risk their own life, to aid their regnant.
Mortals, animals, and even other vampires and other supernatural creatures may be bound. The Sabbat practice a different form of group blood bonding by incorporating ancient Tzimisce Blood Magic called the Vaulderie that inspires loyalty and sodality among the sect. It will also instantly break conventional blood bonds if performed correctly by a trained vampire, typically a Pack Priest.
They can also be negated by extended amounts of time depending on how far the Bond has gone steps one, two or three , willpower and the extended absence of the regnant in order to do so. Vampires may create more of themselves by draining a human to the point of death and then feeding the victim some of their blood.
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The creator vampire is known as a sire , the newly created vampire a childe and the creation process is referred to as the embrace. Very little vitae is required to trigger the metamorphosis but the victim must be freshly dead. It does not work on corpses that are more than a few minutes old. A vampire's relative power is limited by something called their Generation, which is set at the time of their embrace. Generation is the vampire's distance from the race's mythical founder, Cain, who is alleged to be the first vampire.
For example, a ninth generation is nine generations from Cain. Should this ninth generation vampire embrace someone their progeny would be a tenth generation regardless of how many times they do this. Attitudes towards diablerie range from criminalization to an act of liberation. Regardless, diablerie is a serious act not to be taken lightly.
Motivations and more surrounding the embrace differ from clan and sect.
In some sects, such as the Camarilla, the creation of new vampires is tightly controlled. Some only embrace a certain ethnic group, such as the Romani with the Ravnos  : 64 or within certain mortal families as with the Giovanni. Some create other vampires for power, others for companionship and some are created as fodder for the endless, ancient conflicts, known as the Jyhad, that are central to gameplay. Vampires in the World of Darkness believe that their race originates from the Biblical figure of Cain. Cain was said to have been cursed by God with a vampiric state for murdering his brother.
The vampires of this canon believe themselves to be descended from this Biblical progenitor.
It is said that Cain was able to pass on his cursed state to others, thereby, making them like himself only somewhat weaker. These first childer, known as the second generation, were said to have been made to keep him company, and they in turn made the third generation. The third were supposedly numbered thirteen and are the semi-legendary founders of the thirteen original clans. According to in-game legend, all of these vampires lived in peace under Cain's rule in the legendary city known as Enoch , or the First City. When God caused the Great Flood , however, the city was destroyed and Cain disappeared, leaving his Childer to fend for themselves.
The third generation eventually rose up and slew their sires. Cain, upon discovering this, cursed them. Cain's curse is supposedly the reason each clan now has its own weakness.
Those who study the mythical vampire origins are called Noddists. According to Noddist mythology there are claims that Cain will return at the end of time to judge his descendants: the Antediluvians and all vampires descended from them. This event is known as Gehenna, the end of all vampiric races. Others claim that Gehenna is simply the wakening of the Antediluvians who have returned to feed on the blood of their descendants. Differing interpretations of the myths divide vampire society. The Sabbat, for example, take the myths quite literally and believe that it is their purpose to defend vampires from the depredations of the ancients.
The Camarilla is more dismissive, either claiming that Cain is nothing more than a myth or metaphor or outright suppressing the myths and their study. Contentions between the different societies surrounding the origins of vampires and Gehenna are important in-game motivations for the Jyhad that color the character's understanding of their world.
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Regardless as to whether or not the myths are true in the context of the game the myth of Cain represents important themes presented in the metaplot such as sins of the father coming back upon his children, the threat of apocalypse, questions of faith, conspiracies, and war of ages. Golconda is a fabled state of enlightenment that offers vampires a release from their struggle with the Beast.
Different editions have gone into different level of detail as to what Golconda is but all agree that it is an elusive and mysterious state and there is very little information in-game or out as to how to achieve it. In Vampire: The Masquerade , the Masquerade refers to an organized conspiracy primarily orchestrated by the Camarilla to convince the general public that vampires do not exist. The Camarilla believes the Masquerade is the cornerstone survival strategy for Kindred and fear that without it the kine would rise up and exterminate all the undead.
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Prohibitions against exposing the existence of Kindred existed prior to the 15th century in a set of ancient laws known as the Traditions. The First Tradition reads:. Doing such shall renounce thy claims of Blood. This stricture was not consistently nor as strictly enforced until the Inquisition of the 15th century required it.
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During this period vampires were destroyed in large numbers by vampire hunters which largely prompted the formation of a sect known as the Camarilla whose primary purpose was to promote and enforce the Masquerade as a means of survival. The Masquerade is largely enforced through self-policing, but it is primarily the job of the Prince in Camarilla controlled cities to enforce it. Princes may use any means at their disposal to ensure vampire society stays hidden and that those who break the Masquerade are duly punished.
Punishments for breaches have a range but are usually draconian in nature due to the seriousness of the Masquerade. Final Death, often by means of a ritualized "Blood Hunt" by other vampires, is not uncommon. When breaches do occur, the Camarilla takes great pains to repair them.
This could include anything from erasing a mortal's memories using supernatural powers to manipulating mortal pawns in order to keep events out of the media. The Masquerade is one of the main in-game points of contention between the two major factions of vampires in the World of Darkness. While many vampires see the pragmatism in the Masquerade some do not agree with it.
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