Valeren is a warrior’s Discipline, a holdover from the nights when warrior Salubri acted as noble fighters and Kindred knights. The Discipline is still applicable to the modern nights, but the Salubri antitribu put it to decidedly more vicious ends.
Like Obeah , Valeren imparts its practitioners with the fabled third eye of Saulot. The third eye appears at the time the vampire masters the second level of Valeren. The precise nature and purpose of the eye are all but unknown to vampires outside the Salubri antitribu. Some suspect the eye grants them sight beyond sight, while others venture that the eye allows them to see the infernal taint in the non-Sabbat Salubri themselves.
The Salubri’s proprietary Discipline is divided into three aptly-named Paths: Healer (Obeah), Warrior, and Watcher. Salubri use the healing powers and martial prowess of Valeren as bargaining chips, intimidating less moral Cainites into walking the Roads with greater conviction. The respective Salubri castes favor their proprietary Path as an in-clan Discipline. They may raise other Paths as clan Disciplines, but the opposing Path has an experience cost of (current rating x6).
Learning Valeren causes a physical change in Cainites: a bump or nodule developing in the center of the forehead, eventually cracking open into a fully-developed third eye when the character learns the third dot of Valeren. Cainites with high Road ratings rating manifest a human-looking or angelic-seeming eye; those walking a low or inhuman Road develop freakish or demonic third eyes. The eye is sensitive; attempting to cover it results in a penalty of one die to all rolls, though obscuring it under a hood is fine. In all cases, the eye may be retracted into the skull and perfectly hidden for the scene with a Stamina + Stealth roll (difficulty 5), but using any level of Valeren brings it forth once more.
Warrior Caste Valeren
• Sense Vitality
A healer learns a subject’s illnesses to cure them. The Salubri antitribu, however, learn how close to death a target is so that they may hasten the process.
System: The Salubri must touch the target to see how close to death she is. He must then make a Perception + Empathy roll (difficulty 7). One success on this roll identifies a subject as a mortal, vampire, ghoul, or other creature. Two successes reveal how many health levels of damage the subject has suffered. Three successes tell how full the subject’s blood pool is (if a vampire) or how many blood points she has left in her system (if a mortal or other blood-bearing form of life). Four successes reveal any diseases in the subject’s bloodstream. A player may opt to learn the information yielded by a lesser degree of success — for example, a player who accumulates three successes may learn whether or not a subject is a vampire as well as the contents of his blood pool.
Alternately, each success on this roll allows the player to ask the Storyteller one question about the subject’s health or health levels. “Was he drugged?” or “Are his wounds aggravated?” are valid questions, but “Did the Sabbat do this?” or “What did the Lupine who attacked him look like?” are not. The Salubri may use this power on herself if she has injuries but has somehow lost the memory of how the wounds were received.
Additionally, at the cost of one blood point, the Salubri may use Empathy for a roll instead of Medicine.
•• Anesthetic Touch
The Salubri antitribu can ameliorate a subject’s pain, allowing him to bolster a ghoul’s effectiveness in combat. This power can also put a mortal to sleep, which has obvious applications for escaping human scrutiny (though the Fury is probably just as likely to kill the mortal in question).
System: If the subject is willing to undergo this process, the player spends a blood point and makes a Willpower roll (difficulty 6) to block the subject’s pain. This allows the subject to ignore all wound penalties for one turn per success. A second application of this power may be made once the first one has expired, at the cost of another blood point and another Willpower roll. If the subject is unwilling for some reason, the player must make a contested Willpower roll against the subject (difficulty 8).
To put a mortal to sleep, the same system applies. The mortal sleeps for five to 10 hours — whatever his normal sleep cycle is — and regains one temporary Willpower point upon awakening. He sleeps peacefully and does not suffer nightmares or the effects of any derangements while asleep. He may be awakened normally (or violently).
Kindred, including the Salubri herself, are unaffected by this power — their corpselike bodies are too tied to death.
•• Auguring the Sickness
This power allows the Salubri to go beyond Obeah or Valeren’s ability to determine wounds and reveal the fine damage caused by illness and disease. While best used by a medically-trained Salubri, even novices find the power useful.
System: The Salubri holds his hands above the patient, and the third eye gently teases out a vision of the afflicted tissues made of pure light (neonate Salubri delightfully describe them as holograms). The player rolls Perception + Medicine (difficulty 7). Each success reveals one fact about the illness, including likely developments and symptoms and potential avenues of treatment. Additionally, once augured, the vampire may use Corpore Sano to cure the disease outright, at a difficulty determined by the commonality and virulence of the disease (difficulty 5 for the common cold, difficulty 7 for most forms of herpes or chicken pox, or difficulty 9 for Ebola or HIV).
••• Burning Touch
The character’s hands bring searing pain, as though the target is being burnt with red-hot metal. Although the power does not inflict actual damage, prolonged or repeated exposure can be enough to traumatize a victim. This power works extremely well as a torture method.
System: The vampire must touch his subject for this power to take effect, and the effects diminish rapidly after he removes his hand. The player spends at least one blood point to activate this power, and each blood point spent reduces the victim’s dice pools by two while the Fury is in contact with the victim. This power is often used for interrogation or torture, wearing down the subject’s resistance and rendering him much more tractable.
•••• Armor of Caine’s Fury
The Salubri antitribu is surrounded by a shining, crimson halo. This phantom armor protects the vampire against most physical injury, as well as against Rötschreck.
System: The player spends one blood point and rolls Stamina + Melee (difficulty 7). For each success, the character gains one point of armor protection against bashing and lethal damage, to a maximum of five points of protection. Additionally, for every two successes rolled, she gains an additional die to resist Rötschreck from the effects of battle (but not fire or sunlight). This power works for one scene.
••••• Vengeance of Samiel
The Salubri antitribu strikes his foe with superhuman accuracy and strength, as his third eye opens and changes to a furious, icy blue. Some Furies invoke the names of ancient Salubri warriors, while others simply close their normal eyes and let Samiel guide their hands.
System: This power costs three blood points. Any single attack made by the vampire automatically hits the target as mystic forces guide the blow. Attacks made in this manner may not be dodged, though they may be blocked, parried, and soaked as normal. The blow strikes as if the Salubri antitribu had succeeded with all of his Dexterity + Melee or Brawling dice pool (which makes for significant damage). This power may be used only once per turn, and only then the Salubri antitribu’s sole action is the attack. Additionally, this power does not work for ranged weapons; only bare hands or melee weapons.
••••• • Blissful Agony
The vampire may cause pain with a mere touch, as per Burning Touch, but this pain lingers and swells even after the Fury has removed her hand. It is believed that this power was originally used to acclimate warrior Salubri to the pain they would experience in battle, but among the Sabbat Salubri, Blissful Agony has been turned to more brutal uses. If applied with enough intensity, Blissful Agony can drive vampires to the point of frenzy, incapacitate Lupines, and even kill mortals outright.
System: The player makes a Willpower roll (difficulty 8) and spends a blood point. The power lasts for one scene, though this duration may be prolonged if the Salubri antitribu wishes by making a subsequent Willpower roll (though no additional blood points need be spent). The character must touch her subject for the power to take effect initially.
At the vampire’s option, she may cause actual physical damage to the victim at the rate of one health level per blood point spent, though touch must be maintained for this to happen. Damage to vampires and other supernatural creatures in this fashion vanishes at the next sunset, but mortals must heal the damage normally.
This damage is considered lethal damage, and mortals may not soak it (though vampires and other supernatural entities may).
To induce frenzy in a victim, the Fury must cause damage in excess of the subject’s Willpower. At that point, the subject must make a Willpower roll (difficulty 6) or succumb to frenzy.
••••• • Dream Combat
Warrior Salubri use Dream Combat to confront ghosts or demons that they cannot affect physically. Increasingly, they find that it allows them to confront elders and powerful entities on a more level playing field. The few Healers and Watchers who’ve learned Warrior Valeren also find the power extremely useful, as their less martial nature matters little in the dreamscape.
By locking the target’s gaze with her third eye, the Salubri draws the target’s mind into a shared dream. In the dreamscape, both the Salubri and her target can imagine any arena they wish for battle (or even peaceful pursuits). The target cannot suffer any direct, physical harm from Dream Combat, but the psychic damage can be devastating. Spirits can be outright destroyed by this power.
System: To initiate Dream Combat, the Warrior must look her target in the eye and make a contested Willpower roll (difficulty 7). If the Salubri wins, she pulls her target into a dreamscape. Neither leaves until the Salubri is defeated or ends the power of her own will. Time is accelerated within the dreamscape, and the entire battle lasts a turn outside.
In the dreamscape, both participants can do anything they imagine. They can fly, change their shape, and create any environment they want. Affecting each other is more difficult. Combatants can battle in any manner, but it’s the will doing battle, not the body.
|Physical Traits and Disciplines, save certain applications of Auspex and Dominate (Storyteller’s discretion) don’t exist in Dream Combat; it’s a battle of the mind. Manipulation replaces Strength, Charisma replaces Dexterity, and the character’s highest rated Virtue replaces Stamina and soak. Willpower replaces health levels.
If the character cannot relate the attack somehow to Athletics, Archery, Brawling, or Melee, use unmodified Charisma for the attack pool, with the environment itself battering the combatants. There is no analog to bashing, lethal or aggravated damage, nor does Fortitude play any role in soaking damage.
Damage applies to the target’s effective maximum Willpower. The target suffers penalties to all dice pools as his Willpower drops. Until the target loses half his Willpower (round fractions upward), he stays at OK. Each subsequent point of Willpower lost imposes a -1 wound penalty to all actions.
A dream-warrior can spend Willpower points without incurring any penalty. As the character’s Willpower rating drops, he has fewer points to expend.
A character reduced to Willpower 0 is incapacitated; mortals become comatose, while vampires drop into torpor for a night and develop a spiritual Derangement. Spirits or demons reduced to Willpower 0 may be diablerized within the dreamscape; this destroys them, and while such an act doesn’t affect the Salubri’s Generation, it may allow the vampire to purchase Supernatural Merits at the Storyteller’s discretion.
••••• •• Fiery Agony
A Warrior’s touch brings pain and the promise of cleansing fire. At this level of mastery, even their gaze inflames the agony, rendering victims debilitated and mewling in fear.
System: This power enhances Burning Touch. The Touch no longer fades after a turn, but continues under the harsh red light of the third eye. The Warrior must still touch his target first to invoke the power, but may continue activating the power at range as if still grasping their victim. Additionally, each blood point spent now also reduces the vampire’s pool to resist Rötschreck by one.
••••• ••• Song of the Blooded
Samiel’s words were heard only by his childer. Only they know the secret doubts he spoke aloud, purging them from his heart so he could face his enemies with his potential unchecked. The clear heart of a Salubri Warrior is a furious one, the purity of their rage visibly shining forth.
The doubts are spoken as a prayer, acquiring cadence and rhythm and defining the speaker as an avenging angel of an angry God (“Lend me your rage, o Lord, for I am Michael, General of the Host”). For this reason that the Warrior Caste often takes the names of Judeo-Christian angels; even if they cannot use this power, symbolism lends a great deal of weight.
System: Once per chapter, the Warrior may activate this Discipline at no cost or roll. Any subsequent activation requires the expenditure of three Willpower and five blood points, and a Charisma + Performance prayer (difficulty 7) to openly voice the doubts and fears of the Warrior, giving them life so that she may kill them. Success means the Salubri enters into a trance state for the rest of the scene, singing loudly of victory over her foes and fears and her eyes glowing brighter than the sun. Her Physical Attributes immediately increase to Generational maximums. A halo burns around her, incapable of being smothered by lesser Disciplines, rendering Stealth impossible.
The glare increases the difficulty of any attacks against the Salubri by two. While in the battle-trance, she gains immunity to Dominate, Presence and other mental Disciplines (save the effect of Rayzeel’s Song). The trance ends when every foe is dead as her fears or she meets Final Death on the field.
Watcher Caste Valeren
• Sense Cycle
Rather than diagnosing the sick and dying, the nascent third eye of the Watchers sees the cycle of life entire. They see the ebb and flow of lives in the streets, not the vitality locked within veins and organs. The Watcher experiences waking visions that alter her perception of the world around her, leaving her prone to seeing dire omens and auspicious portents in the smallest event. When she focuses, these visions resolve into incredible personal insight.
System: The Salubri instinctually realizes when she’s in the presence of a character or event that is significant to her future (and the narrative, as determined by the Storyteller). Sense Cycle automatically informs the Salubri of potentially hostile encounters in the immediate future, ensuring she’ll only be encountered unawares in locales unfamiliar to her. If she spends one Willpower point and rolls Perception + Enigmas or Empathy (difficulty 7), she may glean omens and visions the person in question. Each success allows the player to ask the Storyteller a question regarding the target, such as his public identity and role in society, if he is hostile or could become so (and for another success, under what circumstances), or one psychological weakness he possesses.
•• Peaceful Touch
Watchers deal in knowledge, but knowledge threatens the most powerful of men — the brutal nights during the Wolf of Qin’s purges are still fresh in the minds of their elders. Healing wounds after they occur is miraculous, but greater miracles lie in calming the bloodlust that comes with violence.
System: The Watcher spends a blood point and a Willpower point, and touches a foe hostile to him. For three turns, the target’s difficulty to strike the Salubri increases by two (maximum 9). If the target is a vampire, she sees the difficulty of Rötschreck or frenzy rolls decrease by 2, making it easy for her to retain herself.
The Salubri may not use this power on himself. Knowing Gift of Sleep or Morphean Blow increases the duration for two turns (to a maximum of 7).
••• Pariah’s Caress
Watchers must contend with the Wan Kuei, other vampires who do not subscribe to the idea of the lineage of Caine, and stranger beings such as mages. They learned long ago that the best defense lies in misdirection — if enemies are looking at someone else, they aren’t looking at the Salubri. With this power, a Watcher may charge her blood with the combined hatred and attention of all her foes, and then transfer that animosity to another with a bloody touch.
System: The character spends a blood point (which wells up under her fingertips), touches her victim (smearing the blood on them, possibly requiring a Stealth roll), then the player must roll Manipulation + Empathy (difficulty 7). Each success extends the power’s duration for one evening. The difficulty of the target’s Social rolls increases by one as he finds himself within a miasma of annoyance and suspicion. Even mundane or positive acts draw significant negative attention, inspiring jealousy and causing every flaw to be scrutinized.
Watchers are arbiters and negotiators, dealing with hostile supernatural beings on behalf of all Cainites. Keeping the peace is paramount. With this power, out-of-control tempers find restraint and bitter arguments are reduced to differences of opinion. No few Healers have strived to learn this power; many simply believe it to be a more advanced Valeren effect rather than a tool of the mysterious Watchers.
System: The player spends two Willpower points to erect the Peacemaker aura, which must be inside a chamber no larger than a ballroom. The Salubri’s third eye opens, but sheds no light. The aura lasts for as many turns as he has dots in his Road rating or until he leaves the area, though once used, tempers rarely surge again. The Peacemaker Aura is not a numbing or hypnotic effect, but more clearing one’s head from the distractions of anger.
Those under the power’s effect are more inclined to talk out a dispute than reach for the sword. Even Brujah or similarly rage-prone characters find it harder to lose their tempers — the aura mitigates such weaknesses, and they roll against frenzy as normal.
Anyone wishing to insult someone or attack under Peacemaker must roll Willpower (difficulty of the Salubri’s Road) or hesitate. This occurs even in the midst of an active battle, wherein all participants must roll each turn to continue hostilities until the duration expires. This applies to the Salubri as well — the aura must be raised in good faith and cannot be used to create an ambush (though nothing stops the Salubri from healing allies in case things go south).
••••• Soul’s Breath
This is a secret of the Watchers: the Curse of Caine to subsist on blood and bitter ashes is a lie. Progression of the soul allows one to draw out the sanguine humor that floats within the lungs and the vitality of will in the breath. It’s a meager draught, but one can sup one’s fill from a crowd with none the wiser. With the breath comes power, all flowing to the Watcher.
System: The Salubri must be facing a victim within speaking distance. He rolls Intelligence + Occult (difficulty 6, though this may increase or decrease; difficulty 4 with a kiss, difficulty 9 for shouting across a ballroom). Success on the roll allows the Salubri to sup one “blood” point per turn (maximum duration of his successes) from his victim’s breath. The victim rarely knows what’s happening to them, experiencing the loss as a moment of discomfiting weakness. She loses one health level per point of “blood”, as if he’d fed from her. The Salubri may divide his successes amongst multiple targets in range to draw in more breath per turn, rapidly draining a crowd of breath and continuing on. Breath does not sate like blood; he may only use this power for a number of nights equal to his Road rating before needing to physically drink blood.
Supernatural creatures targeted by this Discipline lose both “blood” and part of their power. Each success on the roll to activate Soul’s Breath carries both a “blood” point (and concurrent level of damage) and robs the supernatural being of one point of her power pool (Cainites have their vitae rendered inert, Lupines lose Gnosis, etc.), translated to the Salubri as a point of Willpower. At Storyteller’s discretion, this theft provides an excellent justification for the purchase of out-of-clan Disciplines or Supernatural Merits.
••••• • Safe Passage
Watchers walk the Silk Road. So safe is this journey that it’s said a man may walk a thousand miles with a nugget of gold atop his head before encountering ill intent. A Watcher encounters ill intent far more often in her domains, but she too remains unharmed through use of this power. Crowds shift to allow her, people treat her with politeness, and she’s even offered shelter and hospitality without recompense.
System: Safe Passage is always “on,” though the Watcher may release the effect if she wishes. Besides receiving hospitality regardless of culture or local beliefs, the power also passively inhibits anyone hunting the Salubri. All attempts to hunt or track the Salubri with hostile intent suffer a -2 penalty to relevant dice pools; if a potential hunter sights her by coincidence, he must engage in a contested Willpower roll (difficulty 6). If the Salubri wins, the hunters temporarily lose interest in her for the scene, allowing her to flee.
••••• •• Aversion
Watchers can feel the hatred of their enemies, but without a common foe, society falls into disunity. The trick lies in not being the target of that hatred. By further study, a Watcher may focus this ill will on a target of his choice, ostracizing them utterly.
System: This power enhances Pariah’s Caress; it now only requires a line of sight to the pariah-to-be. The target’s Social difficulties increase by two (to a maximum of 9). Any Social botches on the part of the target are immediately attributed to an insulting and threatening mien, provoking all who listen. This may well incite an attack, or just a disgusted order to vacate the offended character’s presence.
••••• ••• Purification
Mages, Wan Kuei, and shapeshifters all command spirits and demons. These creatures exist in their own worlds, but infest our own. The Watchers see them, however, and seek not only to heal the infestation (as a good Salubri ought) but to rid their rivals of potential servants.
System: The Salubri spends a Willpower point, focusing on the spirit or demon. She and the spirit engage in a battle of wills, represented by a contested Willpower roll (difficulty 8). The contest ends when one combatant has accumulated three successes more than another. If the Salubri wins, she may expel the spirit and pacify it. By spending another Willpower point, she may thrust the spirit into a person, animal or location, including taking the spirit into herself. In all cases, she now commands the spirit, who behaves as if fully blood-bonded to the Salubri.
••••• •••• Soul Exchange
Scholar and thief, the twin childer of Zao-lat are seldom seen these nights. Mastery of the greatest Watcher power requires a melding of their two purviews: scholarly arcane research of the soul and the acquisition of the most valuable things. Combined, the Watcher Methuselahs can achieve the greatest redistribution of all: a soul.
System: The Watcher keeps two individuals within his line of sight, then spends a point of Willpower and makes a Manipulation + Occult roll (difficulty 8). Success allows him to switch the souls of the two targets. The victims immediately exchange Roads (and ratings), Virtues, and Natures, an experience that’s horrifically disorienting to say the least. Though Demeanor remains the same, the essential nature of the characters will shift rapidly. This power can be undone by two Healers applying Unburden the Bestial Soul, but doing so and avoiding the Watcher Methuselah’s ire is a feat in and of itself.