The Chronicle of Ashes
Tremere Gargoyles outwardly resemble the Gargoyle “Children of the Stones” as created by any vampire Knowledgeable in the Birthing Ritual, but are fundamentally different in that they more closely resemble Larvae in their half-vampire like state.
Temere Gargoyles are mechanically similar to other vampires in some respects. They feed upon blood, they can use Vitae to power some Disciplines, and so on.
Tremere Gargoyles have Blood Potency 0. Note that this isn’t the same as not having the Blood Potency trait at all. A Tremere Gargoyle’s blood is weaker and thinner than any neonate’s, but Tremere Gargoyles are still vampires. The ramifications of having Blood Potency 0 are:
- Tremere Gargoyles always react with fear to “true” vampires when the Preadator’s Taint activates.
- Tremere Gargoyles can spend 1 Vitae per turn, and can augment Physical Attributes and heal Bashing and Lethal damage, and power Disciplines just as true Kindred can. They may not use Vitae to counterfeit a Blush of Health, hold down food or drink, or engage in sexual congress.
- Tremere Gargoyles can hold Vitae equal to its Health rating, or 10, whichever is lower.
- Tremere Gargoyles cannot form Vinculi or create Ghouls.
- Tremere Gargoyles expend 1 Vitae to wake in the evening.
- Tremere Gargoyles cannot Embrace, nor is it believed can they create Larvae.
As mentioned above, Tremere Gargoyles cannot create Vinculi in mortals or Kindred. They can be subjected to Vinculi, though it doesn’t take hold as easily as it does in other Kindred. This might seem strange, given the weakness of Gargoyle blood, but it stems from the lack of intelligence and self-awareness from which Gargoyles suffer. They aren’t capable of feeling true loyalty or admiration, and so the Vinculum is expressed as everything else is for the minions: through the lens of predation.
Tremere Gargoyles are interested, first and foremost, in feeding. When they taste the blood of a true vampire, they experience a rush of pleasure and excitement, but expressed as a desire to keep feeding. A vampire that tries to bind a Gargoyle with the Vinculum had best be able to hold it down. Because if he can’t, he’s liable to end up drained dry and put into torpor.
All of that said, Tremere Gargoyles are susceptible to the Vinculum. When a Gargoyle tastes another vampire’s blood, the Storyteller rolls that Gargoyle’s Resolve + Composure – the vampire’s Blood Potency. If this roll fails, the Gargoyle reacts to the power of the Blood, but the specific reaction depends upon the circumstances. If the Gargoyle is attacking the vampire, the “Vinculum” is expressed as a desire to consume the rest of the potent blood. If, however, the vampire has physically bested the Gargoyle (see Control, below), the Gargoyle regards the vampire as its master.
Tremere Gargoyles can commit diablerie, though it rarely occurs to them to do so. They do not naturally feel the urge to keep drinking once they have consumed all the blood in a vampire’s body. That said, if commanded to by a controlling vampire, a Gargoyle might be able to consume another Kindred’s soul. This has the effect of elevating the Gargoyle to Blood Potency 1, transforming it into a true vampire (see Elevation, below). The system for diablerie is the same as presented on p. 159 of Vampire: The Requiem.
It is possible to diablerize a Tremere Gargoyle, but as Gargoyles have Blood Potency 0, the only possible benefit would be to acquire a dot of Vigor, Celerity or Resilience, or a dot in one of the few Skills of which Gargoyles are capable. Of course, blood-addicted Kindred might not be able to stop themselves. A vampire that diablerizes a Gargoyle still suffers the usual drawbacks: loss of Humanity, possible Derangement, and the stain on her aura.
Tremere Gargoyles lose most of the Skills they possessed in life. The only Skills Gargoyles are capable of using are: Athletics, Brawl, Stealth, Weaponry and Intimidation. Gargoyles are still capable of using Specialties in these Skills, but the Specialties need to be simple enough to make sense with the Gargoyle’s animalistic mindset.
Tremere Gargoyles have access to the following Merits from The World of Darkness Rulebook: Danger Sense (very common), Eidetic Memory (rare, but possible), Ambidextrous, Direction Sense, Fast Reflexes, Fleet of Foot, Giant, Iron Stamina, Strong Back.
Note, though, that a Tremere Gargoyle might technically have a Merit it can’t make use of. For instance, a very attractive man or woman might become a Gargoyle, but there’s no point representing that attractiveness with the Striking Looks Merit, as the Gargoyle isn’t going to be engaged in the sort of actions that would benefit from the Merit. This sort of trait might become relevant if the Gargoyle is elevated, however, so it’s not a bad idea to note.
Tremere Gargyles may also gain Vitae by consuming raw flesh (and gain 1 Vitae per pound consumed).
Tremere Gargoyles use the higher of their Dexterity or Wits to determine Defense, just as animals do.
Also, like animals, Tremere Gargoyles do not have Virtues or Vices. They regain Willpower through rest only.
Each Tremere Gargoyle gains 1 dot in either Celerity, Resilience, Vigor, or Visceratika at creation. These are the only Disciplines Tremere Gargoyles are capable of using. These Disciplines are all considered “out-of-clan,” not that experience point totals typically matter for Gargoyles.
A Tremere Gargoyle’s Beast is always close to the surface, and it doesn’t take much stimulation for a Gargoyle to Frenzy. Being attacked, frightened or tempted with blood require an immediate check to avoid the appropriate kind of Frenzy. All Frenzies require one more success than they normally would to resist, based upon the totals listed on p. 179 of Vampire: The Requiem, and an uncontrolled Gargoyle suffers a –2 to the roll to avoid Frenzy. Gargoyles that run in packs, however, have a slightly easier time of it. Packs of Gargoyles avoid Frenzy as a teamwork action, with the leader of the pack as the primary actor (again, p. 134 of The World of Darkness Rulebook). The –2 modifier still applies, however. If the primary actor succeeds, none of the Gargoyles enter Frenzy… but if he doesn’t, they all lose control.
Tremere Gargoyles with a Kindred master do not suffer the –2 modifier on Frenzy checks.
A Tremere Gargoyle enters torpor only though starvation. He does so on any night in which he does not have 1 Vitae to spend to wake up, but awakens again as soon as a potential victim approaches within 30 yards of him. Gargoyles do not enter torpor due to damage or staking. A wooden stake in the heart simply destroys them. Likewise, if a Gargoyle’s rightmost Health box is marked with Lethal damage, it remains active (and immediately enters Frenzy). Any further damage is considered Aggravated, and when the creature’s last Health box is filled with Aggravated damage, of course it is destroyed.
Tremere Gargoyles possess vicious teeth and claws that inflict +1 Lethal damage, but can never be retracted or dismissed. (They are permanent features.) A Gargoyle becomes inert during the day, exposure to sunlight, however, does not harm him. During the day he exists in a maddening wakefulness (completely aware of what goes on about him) but is entirely paralyzed until the sun sinks below the horizon.
Tremere Gargoyles can sense each other within a 50-yard radius, and can always find one another inside that range. Outside the range, they have a vague feeling of other vampires, but cannot differentiate between Gargoyles, Larvae and true Kindred. Tremere Vampires sometimes use Gargoyles as bloodhounds, tracking down fugitives, or truffle-hunting pigs, hunting down torpid elders, because of this ability. Using a Gargoyle to hunt another vampire is an extended action, and involves keeping the Gargoyle on task. The dice pool is Presence + Animal Ken, with each roll representing 30 minutes of tracking. As long as the player continues to gain successes, the tracking continues. (How many successes in total are required to find the quarry is up to the Storyteller.) If at any point the handler’s player fails a roll, the Gargoyle loses the “scent” or loses interest, and the handler’s player must immediately attempt to coerce (Presence + Intimidation) or persuade (Manipulation + Animal Ken) the Gargoyle to pick up the trail.
It is possible for a Tremere Gargoyle to become a true vampire. The Man isn’t destroyed when a person becomes a Gargoyle, but is simply buried deep within the bloodied, animalistic mind of the minion. Under certain circumstances, the Man can be revived.
Changing a Tremere Gargoyle into a full Kindred is difficult, and the difficulty increases the longer the Gargoyle exists. Doing so involves strengthening the creature’s Blood Potency, and there are only a few known ways of doing this.
- Time: Blood Potency naturally increases over time. Normally, 50 years of unlife is enough to increase the trait by 1 dot. But a Tremere Gargoyle’s blood does not thicken the way a true vampire’s does. If a Gargoyle can remain extant for 100 years without meeting Final Death, it might have a chance to elevate itself. This decision might best be left to the Storyteller (it’s not going to happen often, so if it does happen it’s probably a plot point), but if a game mechanic is required, the Storyteller can roll the Gargoyle’s Intelligence + Resolve. If this roll succeeds, the Gargoyle becomes a true vampire. If it fails, the creature remains a Gargoyle (but could try again in another 100 years).
- Diablerie: By far a more reliable method of elevating a Tremere Gargoyle is to allow it to diablerize another vampire. As mentioned, Gargoyles do not feel the urge to diablerize Kindred. Once the vampire is drained of blood, the Gargoyle usually leaves him alone (in torpor, which can easily be fatal, depending upon the vampire’s location). A vampire that has taken control of a Gargoyle, however, can command the minion to keep drinking. If the Gargoyle successfully diablerizes the vampire, its Blood Potency increases to 1 and it becomes a true Kindred.
- Magic: Once again, the myriad magical rituals and practices of the various Kindred societies might come up with methods of elevating Tremere Gargoyles. Naturally, a Theban Sorcery rite would function very differently than an alchemical working designed by the Ordo Dracul, but the effect would be much the same—elevation. Whether or not a given faction of Kindred has access to (or could discover) such a working is up to the Storyteller. As with adoption, any relevant rolls suffer a –1 for every year the character has been a Gargoyle.
By whatever method he manages it, an elevated Gargoyle is mechanically identical to any other vampire. Losing almost all characteristics, advantages, and weaknesses that it had as a Tremere Gargoyle. A few considerations, however, are necessary:
Parent Requiem Clan: None
Disciplines: Celerity, Resilience, Vigor, Visceratika
(The Elevated Gargoyle may continue to improve the four Disciplines available to it, as well as the common Disciplines of Animalism and Obfuscate, but may not learn or Improve any other Kindred Disciplines until it’s Blood Potency reaches 2.)
Favored Attributes: Strength or Stamina
Weakness: All Elevated Gargoyles are subject to the residual conditioning of their Tremere masters. With regard to dice pools based on Composure or Resolve Attributes in social or Mental situations, the 10-again rule does not apply. Additionally, any 1’s that come up on a roll are subtracted from successes.
Elevated Gargoyles are truly monstrous to behold, the character incurs a –5 penalty to any Social roll in which physical appearance is relevant (except for attempts to Intimidate). This penalty does not apply to rolls made against other vampires, or to Discipline rolls. In addition, the character is memorable and a walking violation of the Masquerade.
- Memory: All Elevated Gargoyles were once human. When one becomes elevated, fragments of that human mind come back. Elevated Gargoyles are always partially amnesiac, they often remember Skills, but not training. After going on pure instinct for so long, elevated Gargoyles suffer a kind of mental atrophy, and the past is usually the first casualty. Worse, Gargoyles elevated via diablerie sometimes absorb memories from their victims, and therefore cannot separate their lives from the Requiem they stole.
The Gargoyle seldom remembers her activities before elevation. The last thing she remembers, usually, is the Ritual that transformed them into a Tremere Gargoyle. Fragments of her activities as an animalistic Gargoyle probably haunt her daytime dreams for years to come, however.
- Skills & Merits: Gargoyles don’t necessarily keep their full Skill ratings, since much of a Gargoyle’s ability comes from animal instinct. It’s not unreasonable to assume a dot or two of the Larva’s Skills remain, but the player or Storyteller has carte blanche to rearrange them as seems appropriate. Skills from the character’s life can also return, and new ones might emerge as the character finds his feet.
Most Merits probably remain, but it’s not impossible that Merits like Fast Reflexes fade (since they, too, might be based upon instinct now unavailable).
In the unlikely event that the original mortal that was transformed into a Tremere Gargoyle was a Ghoul with a Discipline other than the 4 available to Gargoyles, it is possible that the forgotten Discipline may return at this time.
- Humanity: An elevated Gargoyle starts off at Humanity 6, or Humanity 5 if she committed diablerie to become elevated.
Actions taken during the character’s time as a Larva do not cause degeneration after the fact, because the character has no memory of taking them and so cannot take any true responsibility for them. Extreme circumstances (such as an Auspex vision of the character slaughtering
innocent people as a Tremere Gargoyle) might force a degeneration roll, or at least a roll to avoid a Derangement.
- Other Considerations: The elevated Gargoyle retains the vicious teeth and claws that inflict +1 Lethal damage, that can never be retracted or dismissed. The character starts with a stage-1 Vinculum toward any Kindred that was it’s master before he became elevated. The character’s Defense changes to the lower of her Dexterity or Wits upon elevation. She also gains a Virtue and Vice. These might be the same she had while alive, or the experience of becoming a vampire might change them.