Psychic Vampires

Psychic vampires take the vital essence and force of will from their victims, taking it for their own benefit. Most psychic vampires are born with their gifts. Some develop the ability through ancient rituals,
curses, strange relics, or other oddness. Some others become vampires by infection; some psychic vampires can pass their condition when they feed from another’s life force.

Unlike some of the other groups in this chapter, psychic vampirism is not a group: It’s a phenomenon. Some psychic vampires band together into small groups; at least two international networks exist amongst these psychics. While small, these networks do well to educate members. The networks mostly struggle with recruitment; new psychic vampires have no reliable way to discover the networks, so only those vampires caused by Psychic Infection (see below) are likely to connect with these groups thanks to contact with their progenitors. But most avoid their own kind, finding themselves in groups with mundane humans, other non-vampiric psychics, or around other supernatural creatures. Typically, they must keep their hunger a secret.

A psychic vampire learns of her condition usually when it’s still quite benign; she causes fatigue and minor illness in her victims. But as she increases in power, as time goes on, she becomes more and more dangerous. The temptation to take becomes too great, as she learns more and more uses for the psychic energy she steals. Then eventually, psychic vampires learn to use their condition for protection, as a weapon.

Ephemera

Psychic Vampirism abilities steal and utilize “Ephemera,” a sort of psychic fuel. Her dots in Psychic Vampirism determine how efficiently she can take and use this Ephemera. She cannot store more Ephemera than her Resolve dots; additional Ephemera must be used the turn it’s acquired, for one of the things she is able to power. The Ephemeral Battery Merit can increase this amount.

Unaging

All psychic vampires can spend a number of Ephemera equal to their current age to not age for one year. For example, a 33-year-old psychic vampire can spend 33 Ephemera to not show the signs of age for a year. This counts her full age, not her apparent age. If she does not continue the unaging effect, she continues aging as normal once the year is up. Theoretically, this could result in eternal youth. These points do not have to be spent all at once; they can be spent at any time during that year.

Ephemera Bleed

Psychic vampire characters lose one Ephemera per day. If your character has no Ephemera, she loses Willpower instead, and cannot regain Willpower until she has at least one Ephemera. If she loses all Willpower this way, she begins taking lethal damage instead, and cannot heal until she recovers at least a point of Ephemera.

If your character has no Ephemera, she becomes extremely irritable and volatile. She suffers a cumulative –1 per day to all Resolve + Composure actions. This continues to get worse until she replenishes at least a point of Ephemera, or the penalty is equal to her Psychic Vampirism dots.

Merits

Psychic vampires receive their signature Merit, Psychic Vampirism, with a single dot for free. If her vampirism is tied to a relic or something that can be taken away from her, gain an additional dot in any of the below Merits for free.

Psychic Vampirism (Style)

Cost: • to •••••
Prerequisites: --

To use Psychic Vampirism, your character must touch a victim, skin-to-skin. The Breath Stealer Merit alters this. Any use of Psychic Vampirism is an instant action, so it cannot be combined with other instant actions, such as physical attacks. However, she can use it as a grappling maneuver (use the grappling maneuver dice pools instead of the normal Psychic Vampirism dice pool in that case).

Use of Psychic Vampirism abilities requires a roll of Intelligence + Occult + Psychic Vampirism – the victim’s Resolve dots. Successes determine the level of effect. She can combine effects and divide her successes between points of damage and Willpower.

Each level of Psychic Vampirism has two effects: One enhances your character’s ability to feed from Ephemera, the other allows your character to use Ephemera. The Ephemera expenditure ability may be used reflexively once per turn; only one such ability can be used per turn.

Amateur With this basic level, your character can cause bashing damage. She causes one bashing damage per success on her roll. Every two points of bashing damage gives her one Ephemera (this can be accumulated over multiple turns). She can use one Ephemera to heal a point of bashing damage, or two Ephemera to heal one lethal damage.
•• Dilettante With this level, she can choose to steal psychic energy from her victim instead of causing damage. For every two successes, she steals one Willpower from her victim and converts it into one Ephemera. For two Ephemera, she can regain one spent Willpower point.
••• Practiced Now, her ability to harm is intensified. Every success causes two bashing damage or one lethal damage, and gives her one Ephemera. She can heal two bashing or one lethal with a point of Ephemera.
•••• Accomplished Her psychic draining improves. Now, every success drains a point of Willpower from her victims and gives her one Ephemera. A point of Ephemera regains a point of Willpower.
••••• Virtuoso With this pinnacle of psychic vampirism, the character’s ability to steal life becomes utterly fearsome. Every success causes both one lethal damage and one Willpower loss if she wishes, and gives her two Ephemera. A single Ephemera point recovers a point of Willpower, and one lethal or two bashing damage.

1 Dot

Burst Of Speed

Prerequisites: Psychic Vampirism

Your character may use Ephemera to push her body to briefly inhuman speeds. Spend a point of Ephemera to add +5 to Initiative and Speed for a turn, and +1 to Defense. Only one point may be spent in this way per turn.


Psychic Infection

Prerequisites: Psychic Vampirism

Your character spreads her vampirism to others. After any scene where a human character without the Psychic Vampirism Merit marks his last Health box because of your character’s psychic vampirism, suffers a wound penalty from it, or loses his last Willpower from it, roll your character’s dots in Psychic Vampirism. Success means that character gains the first dot of Psychic Vampirism and a single point of Ephemera. If he loses that Ephemera and all his Willpower from Ephemera Bleed before he feeds on Ephemera, the Psychic Vampirism Merit fades. But if he chooses to feed from Ephemera, the Merit becomes permanent.


Psychic Seduction

Prerequisites: Psychic Vampirism

Your character’s psychic connection subtly but intimately changes his victims. When successfully stealing Ephemera from a victim, you may choose to change her Vice (or equivalent trait). Unlike a normal Vice, this can be highly specific (for example, “submit to me” would be a valid choice).

To shed this Vice, the victim must spend Willpower points equal to the combined lethal damage and Willpower lost to your character’s vampirism. These Willpower must be spent for this purpose alone.

The victim may choose to adopt the new Vice permanently and take a Beat. The Vice cannot be changed by any means for at least one chapter.


2 Dot

Nocturnal Supremacy

Prerequisites: Psychic Vampirism

Your character has an affinity for the darkness, like the vampires with which she shares a name. When the sun is down and she has at least a point of Ephemera, she gains one of the following advantages, chosen when you take this Merit:

  • Her body becomes more robust, more perfect. She gains a dot of Strength and a dot of Stamina.
  • She becomes charismatic and sly. She gains a dot of Presence and a dot of Manipulation.
  • Her flesh becomes tight as marble, as strong as leather. She gains 1/1 armor, which stacks with any worn armor.
  • Her senses sharpen and perfect themselves for the dark. Take +3 to all Perception-based rolls, and take no penalties from darkness. Double the range of all your character’s senses. Additionally, your character benefits from the Danger Sense Merit.

During the day, your character suffers a –2 to all actions. If she does not sleep at least eight hours of the day, she suffers the Lethargic Condition (see p. 150).

Dots gained by this Merit affect all derived traits, and can increase Attributes beyond their normal maximums. You may purchase this Merit multiple times, however, each additional expenditure costs an additional dot. So the first purchase costs two dots, the second costs three, the third costs four. However, you may only take a single advantage one time; additional purchases must be allocated to other advantages. As well, the penalties for daylight activity do not stack; your character only suffers –2 and a single instance of Lethargic.


Psychic Transference

Prerequisites: Psychic Vampirism

Your psychic vampire may not only heal herself with her abilities, but may transfer life energy from one person to another. Any use of Psychic Transference costs one Ephemera and one Willpower in addition to any other costs; her soul acts as a conduit for vital essence. She must be touching both the victim, and the person she wishes to gift. When activating Psychic Vampirism with Psychic Transference, she may offer Willpower and healing (through spent Ephemera) to the subject, instead of taking them for herself. She spends Ephemera, and the subject heals instead
of being drained.


Soul Eater

Prerequisites: Psychic Vampirism

Your psychic vampire’s abilities extend beyond the physical, and the living. If she touches a ghost or spirit, she can use her Psychic Vampirism abilities on the creature. This requires the creature be Manifest, or the vampire to have another awareness with which to find and touch the victim.


Variable

Breath Stealer

Cost: • to •••
Prerequisites: Psychic Vampirism

Your psychic vampire may steal breath instead of touching a victim. Each level in this Merit modifies the distance from which she can activate Psychic Vampirism abilities.

Kiss Your character must be very close to steal breath. Her mouth must be close to her victim’s; she must be able to feel her victim’s breath.
•• Touch The range extends. If she could touch her victim with an outstretched arm, she can steal breath.
••• Reach At the pinnacle of ability, she can steal breath from a number of meters (or yards) equal to her Willpower dots. But to do so, she must spend a point of Willpower in addition to any other costs for Psychic Vampirism abilities. This Willpower enables this ability for the scene.

Note: This may limit usage in certain situations. For example, if trying to leech Ephemera from a monster which doesn’t breathe, Breath Stealer is useless.


Ephemeral Battery

Cost: • to •••••
Prerequisites: Psychic Vampirism

Your psychic vampire may store more Ephemera than most. For every dot in this Merit, she may store an additional point of Ephemera above her Resolve.


Euphoric Touch

Cost: • to •••
Prerequisites: Psychic Vampirism

Your psychic vampire’s touch numbs or creates euphoria when she uses her gifts. Any time she touches a victim and activates Psychic Vampirism, you may choose to activate Euphoric Touch. Her dots in Euphoric Touch determine her choices; she may administer any or all of her Euphoric Touch abilities at once.

Numbing Touch At this level, your character’s touch numbs. Victims of her Psychic Vampirism suffer no wound penalties for the scene. Additionally, any rolls to detect by touch — including detecting your character’s vampirism — suffer a –5 penalty.
•• Sensual Touch At this level, your character’s touch becomes euphoric. Victims of her psychic vampirism gain the Swooned Condition toward her.
••• Addicting Touch With this level, her touch is addicting. Victims gain the Addicted Condition in regards to her touch.

Psychic Vampirism

Cost: • to •••••
Prerequisites: --

To use Psychic Vampirism, your character must touch a victim, skin-to-skin. The Breath Stealer Merit alters this. Any use of Psychic Vampirism is an instant action, so it cannot be combined with other instant actions, such as physical attacks. However, she can use it as a grappling maneuver (use the grappling maneuver dice pools instead of the normal Psychic Vampirism dice pool in that case).

Use of Psychic Vampirism abilities requires a roll of Intelligence + Occult + Psychic Vampirism – the victim’s Resolve dots. Successes determine the level of effect. She can combine effects and divide her successes between points of damage and Willpower.

Each level of Psychic Vampirism has two effects: One enhances your character’s ability to feed from Ephemera, the other allows your character to use Ephemera. The Ephemera expenditure ability may be used reflexively once per turn; only one such ability can be used per turn.

Amateur With this basic level, your character can cause bashing damage. She causes one bashing damage per success on her roll. Every two points of bashing damage gives her one Ephemera (this can be accumulated over multiple turns). She can use one Ephemera to heal a point of bashing damage, or two Ephemera to heal one lethal damage.
•• Dilettante With this level, she can choose to steal psychic energy from her victim instead of causing damage. For every two successes, she steals one Willpower from her victim and converts it into one Ephemera. For two Ephemera, she can regain one spent Willpower point.
••• Practiced Now, her ability to harm is intensified. Every success causes two bashing damage or one lethal damage, and gives her one Ephemera. She can heal two bashing or one lethal with a point of Ephemera.
•••• Accomplished Her psychic draining improves. Now, every success drains a point of Willpower from her victims and gives her one Ephemera. A point of Ephemera regains a point of Willpower.
••••• Virtuoso With this pinnacle of psychic vampirism, the character’s ability to steal life becomes utterly fearsome. Every success causes both one lethal damage and one Willpower loss if she wishes, and gives her two Ephemera. A single Ephemera point recovers a point of Willpower, and one lethal or two bashing damage.

Shapechanging

Cost: •• or •••
Prerequisites: Psychic Vampirism

psychic vampire can spend Ephemera to change into animal forms. Each purchase of Shapechanging allows for a different animal form. Typically, these animals are regionally or culturally appropriate to your character or your character’s home: A teenager in Minnesota isn’t likely to turn into a howler monkey. Also, while not exclusive, this Merit favors predatory and nocturnal animals. Predatory or nocturnal animal forms are •• Merits; other animals are ••• Merits.

Your character takes the shape of the animal, and all its Physical Attributes. Other Attributes and Skills remain the character’s own, while some may be effectively useless (a bat can’t likely use Firearms, for example). As a general guideline, animal attacks cause 0L damage, or 1L damage for large natural weapons (like bear bites). Some especially massive natural weapons, like alligator bites, can cause 2L. Work with your Storyteller to determine other basic traits and advantages animal forms might have.


Unearthly Beauty

Cost: • or ••
Prerequisites: Psychic Vampirism

Your psychic vampire can use her Ephemera to assume an inhumanly beautiful appearance. By spending one Ephemera, she may emulate the Striking Looks Merit at two dots (see the Chronicles of Darkness Rulebook, p. 54). If she already has Striking Looks at one dot, she gains a second dot, and applies the 9-again quality to all rolls on which Striking Looks applies. If she has Striking Looks at two dots, apply 8-again instead.

With the two-dot version of this Merit, the effect lasts for the full lunar month with each activation, if your character spends one additional Ephemera.


Vampiric Potency

Cost: • to •••••
Prerequisites: Psychic Vampirism

Your psychic vampire can channel her Ephemera into inborn ability. When taking this Merit, choose a single Attribute. At any time, she can spend an Ephemera to increase that Attribute by one dot for the scene, including all derived traits. She can do this to a limit of her Vampiric Potency Merit dots. This can take her above her normal dot limit (usually 5) for Attributes.

Notes: You may take this Merit multiple times, each representing a different Attribute. Using this Merit for Resolve allows for a greater temporary amount of stored Ephemera.


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