Vampire: the Requiem – Alternate Clan Weaknesses

Originally Published at Rob.BearSwarm.com on 2010-12-27 and 2010-03-11.

Awhile ago I sat down and started working on a Vampire: The Requiem campaign. As part of the game I set out to alter a few mechanical aspects of the World of Darkness that have always bothered me. My standard house rules were in effect but there was one specific thing that has ALWAYS bothered me about Vampire: The Requiem that I’ve never addressed. In my opinion, the Clan Weaknesses are not comparable at all. Check the full article to see further explanation as well as to see the changes I’ve made to Clan Weaknesses. I’ll spare those uninterested from seeing it on the main page.

Here’s my basic thought: Being a Nosferatu is down right painful compared to being a Mekhet. As a Nosferatu you face serious hindrances while as a Mekhet you just want to avoid something that you already want to avoid. One might argue that Mekhet characters can be killed far easier than any other clan because of their weakness In the heated social and political climate presented in Vampire I would argue that the Nosferatu weakness can contribute to your demise far more often than the Mekhet. Regardless of my rational the basic idea is that I’ve never liked the Clan Weaknesses.

I was thinking about all of this when I was drafting up my campaign and decided I would address this dislike. I was also thinking about something I loved from another game. In Houses of the Blooded none of your weaknesses ever make you less effective, they give the advantage to your opponent. That is a concept I adore and want to replicate in more of my games. Instead of taking away three of my dice why not give my opposition three bonus dice? It might not be 100% the same thing, and it radically changes how the Clan Weakness effects you, but I think as long as ALL the Clan’s Weaknesses change that its “balanced”.

I say balance in quotes, and have avoided using it up to this point, because of a personal belief that game balance is a social concept and not a mechanical one. This isn’t the article to explain my thoughts on that but I figured it was worth mentioning. Still, as a general metric I used Risking Willpower from Hunter: The Vigil. With Risking Willpower gaining Three Bonus Dice is roughly equivilant to gaining 9-Again on a roll, and since I agree with that, I’ve used those two as the mechanical basis for the new weaknesses. I have also tried to get the Weakness to compare more with the flavor text and not the old mechanics but that isn’t to say I didn’t consider the old mechanics.

I hope that even if you read over what I’ve done here and dislike it this will encourage you to start thinking more critically about the games you play. Simple mechanical changes can greatly effect the experience your group has at the table and its my opinion that you should make the changes you need to get the experience everyone would enjoy.

Daeva Weakness

Perhaps out of some deep longing for the true passions they lost after the Embrace, the Daeva have difficulty steeling themselves against the hedonism they allow themselves as members of the Damned. As such, other find it easy to tempt a Daeva into courses of actions in alignment with their personal Vice. Any character attempting to do so receives three bonus dice to the action.

Gangrel Weakness

As befits their sobriquet, the Gangrel are more closely tied to their Beasts than are other Kindred. The more they feel the call of the Beast, the more bestial they become, and the more their minds become those of less principled animals. Whenever dealing with Gangrel in an Intelligence or Wits based situation opposing characters gain the 9-again trait for any action taken in opposition to the Gangrel. This weakness does not apply to dice pools involving perception or reaction to surprise, or to the Resolve Attribute.

Mekhet Weakness

As creatures of darkness even more sensitive to light than most of the Damned, the Mekhet suffer certain banes of vampiric existence more acutely than do their fellow Kindred. Anyone who attacks a Mekhet with fire they gain an additional three bonus dice to the roll. Just as shadow cannot exist without light, so too does light banish shadow.

Nosferatu Weakness

All Nosferatu are repulsive or at the very least uncomfortable to be around. The cause need not be a physical deformity. A palpable aura of menace, a charnel odor or the undeniable manner of a predator is just as compelling as a twisted body. Whenever dealing with a Nosferatu in a Presence of Manipulation based situation opposing characters gain the 9-again trait for any action taken in opposition to the Nosferatu. This weakness does not apply to dice pools that involve the Intimidation Skill, or to the Composure Attribute.

Ventrue Weakness

Power corrupts, and among the Ventrue, even the thirst for power can corrode an ambitious Kindred’s moral bearings. Over time, some Ventrue grow paranoid, ever more wary of rivals’ desires (real or imagined) for their own holdings. Others become willing to do whatever it takes to acquire the smallest iota of additional power. Still others turn inward, delude themselves as to their ability and importance, or trouble their minds with other maladies. As such, others find it easier to persuade a Venture into immoral actions. Any character attempting to do so receives three bonus dice to the action.


Back in March I wrote a small article on Vampire: The Requiem Clan Weaknesses. The campaign I was working on at the time was stillbirth and I never playtested those changes. Cut to now, I’m prepping for a new campaign and I was trying to dig up my old World of Darkness house rules. While it seems I’m going to have to re-write the majority of my house rules (expect to see them posted here) I did find the aforementioned article.

It’s been over six months and I looked at those adjustments with fresh eyes. I saw problems. While I still felt good about the Gangrel, Mekhet, and Nosferatu weaknesses, I have issues with Daeva and Ventrue. Daeva seems a bit too narrowly defined and Ventrue is even more so. After considering those two I grew more unhappy with what I wrote for the other clans. So, in an attempt to come up with better universal weaknesses I present to you; Alternate Clan Weaknesses: Take Two.

My old general thought is still the same. Weaknesses have too great of a difference gap. The difference between an extra point of damage from fire and 1 canceling while 10’s don’t explode… that’s a huge gap.

I also still like the concept from Houses of the Blooded where no character is ever levied a penalty. That things simply give their opponents an advantage. It seems as fitting for Kindred as it does for Ven.

The one thing I’ve changed my mind on is the balance of differences that I based on Hunter: The Vigil. Instead, I want to make all the weaknesses operate the same mechanically. My first thought was to do three bonus dice, as if the opponent spent willpower. Then I thought, “What if you just get the willpower point?”. Thematically it means that you bolster your opponents resolve in situations where you’re uncomfortable, but it does more than that. This would actually encourage opponents to pick fights with you. This means that the Venture who plowed through a stack of Willpower can look at the Nosferatu and think, “If I just go bully him socially I know I can get some of my confidence back…” I like that. I like it a lot.

Here is my basic rule: Read the flavor text and in a situation that is appropriate, opponents gain a willpower point for winning a contested action against you. This rule is very arbitrary, I am aware, but that’s intentional. I want to leave the door open for players to come up with creative situations to gain the bonus.

Daeva Weakness

Perhaps out of some deep longing for the true passions they lost after the Embrace, the Daeva have difficulty steeling themselves against the hedonism they allow themselves as members of the Damned.

Gangrel Weakness

As befits their sobriquet, the Gangrel are more closely tied to their Beasts than are other Kindred. The more they feel the call of the Beast, the more bestial they become, and the more their minds become those of less principled animals.

Mekhet Weakness

As creatures of darkness even more sensitive to light than most of the Damned, the Mekhet suffer certain banes of vampiric existence more acutely than do their fellow Kindred. Just as shadow cannot exist without light, so too does light banish shadow.

Nosferatu Weakness

All Nosferatu are repulsive or at the very least uncomfortable to be around. The cause need not be a physical deformity. A palpable aura of menace, a charnel odor or the undeniable manner of a predator is just as compelling as a twisted body.

Ventrue Weakness

Power corrupts, and among the Ventrue, even the thirst for power can corrode an ambitious Kindred’s moral bearings. Over time, some Ventrue grow paranoid, ever more wary of rivals’ desires (real or imagined) for their own holdings. Others become willing to do whatever it takes to acquire the smallest iota of additional power. Still others turn inward, delude themselves as to their ability and importance, or trouble their minds with other maladies.

Power corrupts, and among the Ventrue, even the thirst for power can
corrode an ambitious Kindred’s moral bearings. Over time, some Ventrue grow paranoid,
ever more wary of rivals’ desires (real or imagined) for their own holdings.
Others become willing to do whatever it takes to acquire the smallest iota of additional
power. Still others turn inward, delude themselves as to their ability and
importance, or trouble their minds with other maladies. Ventrue Kindred suffer a
-2 penalty to Humanity rolls to avoid acquiring derangements after a failed degeneration
roll.
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