Clan Nosferatu

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Clan Nosferatu Empty Clan Nosferatu

Post by Hero on Fri 31 Aug 2012, 2:27 pm

Name: Nosferatu
Plural: Nosferatu
Pronounciation: nos'-fur-ah'-too
Nicknames: Sewer Rats, Creeps (Sabbat), Lepers (archaic), Nossies
Antediluvian: Absimiliard
Allegiance: Camarilla
Disciplines: Animalism, Obfuscate, Potence

Theme Song: ["I'll Be Watching You"] - The Police

The most visibly cursed of all Kindred, the Embrace warps each Nosferatu into a hideously deformed creature; the archetypal Nosferatu resembles Max Shreck's Count Orlok, though the curse has any number of variations. The Nosferatu are the spymasters of the dead, collecting information and selling it for a dear price. They are also the masters of the underground, living in the sewers for protection.

The Nosferatu take on the Discipline of Potence is one of the more humane applications of the power. As opposed to other Kindred bloodlines, who use Potence to destroy, kill, and coerce humanity, the Nosferatu believe they were granted superhuman strength to help build. Literally. Lifting blocks, carving stone, sculpture, and other manual tasks are seen as just as valid an application of strength as is beating in the skull of an over-curious human. Of course, when it comes down to it, being able to pound your enemy into the ground isn't a bad application, either.

Mirror, Mirror... - the Early History

As with all the Antediluvians, the Nosferatu Antediluvian (referred to as Absimiliard from now on) was embraced in the shadow of Enoch. Powerful and vain, Absimiliard was a hunter of great skill and beauty who attracted the attention of one of the second generation, who stalked him down as prey. The Embrace was quick, but left him with a tiny facial scar that inflamed his vanity. His wounded pride, coupled with his ego, led him to resent, then hate, then kill his sire, precipitating the revolt by the Antediluvians.

As with his brethren, Absimiliard had sired a small clique of childer by the time of the Second City. His childer, hunters all, remained loyal to him except for one woman who fled further than he could chase. When Caine returned in judgment, he cursed Nosferatu with hideousness, a curse passed to all his descendants, including the hidden maid. Since that time, Absimiliard's eldest descendants, the Nictuku, have chased her. Absimiliard hopes to exterminate all of her childer, the clan Nosferatu, in atonement for his crimes before Caine or in bitter vengeance. The result is the same either way.
The Meek Shall Inherit the Sewers - Dark Ages

In the middle age, Nosferatu were one of the Low Clans, and notable in particular for their embrace of Christianity and redemption.

The Nosferatu did effectively split during the formation of the Sabbat, however Nosferatu antitribu are largely identical to their Camarilla kin. Nosferatu tend to place a higher emphasis on clan unity and mutual survival, and are consequently fairly cordial with each other even though technically enemies.
Goblin Men - the Victorian Age

The Nosferatu were very (some would say suspiciously so) quiet during the Victorian Era. In a time when physical beauty was supposed to reflect spiritual beauty, the Nosferatu experienced one of the greatest periods of exile in their long and lonely history. Where the Toreador were ascendant, the Nosferatu were relegated to the slums and ghettos of Europe. More than one Prince of London banned them from entering Elysium.

So, instead of parading around the brightly-lit mansions of the wealthy and noble, the Nosferatu scuttled around the back alleys of London, taking over derelict buildings and, yes, the sewers. The banks of the Thames were downright infested with Nosferatu, for the river was a convenient way to cross the city without being seen. The Nosferatu also lived in what was termed "the Thieves' Citadel", which was the name given to high-crime areas of London. These zones tended to be self-contained both culturally and architecturally - the Nosferatu ensured that they controlled how and when new construction went on in these zones for their own protection and that of their herd.
Sewer Rats - the Final Nights

Fortunately, the Nosferatu have done very well for themselves within the past century or so. The First World War solidified the Nosferatu role as information gatherers and traders of secrets. The Second World War saw the Clan fleeing Europe en masse, as many of their herds and warrens were captured or destroyed by the Nazi regime. Many didn't make it out. More didn't have anywhere to go, as the European princes cited "overpopulation" and "breaches of the Masquerade" as excuses to keep them out of their cities. Higher-generation Nosferatu eventually reached the United States and made themselves indispensable to the war effort. Older ones called in favors and debts, taking what they were owed in the form of cash, bolt holes, and transportation away from the front lines.

In the Final Nights, the Nosferatu feel their Antediluvian metaphorically breathing down the back of their necks. Technologically savvy, the Sewer Rats adopt every technique they can to protect themselves. Most notably, the Nosferatu develop an information sharing network - ShreckNET, a parallel internet that the Nosferatu use to enhance their traditional information gathering and reporting skills.

The most terrifying and unique event in the early 1990s was the rise of the Shadow Curtain in Russia, a mystical barrier that separated the vampires of the former Soviet Union from the rest of the world. The Shadow Curtain eventually was revealed as the product of Baba Yaga, a fourth generation Nosferatu of almost incalculable power. Most frightening of all was not the witch, however, but her demise. In the late 1990's, Baba Yaga was destroyed, most likely by a Nictuku, but other sources claim it was Lupines. Either way, there's something out there powerful enough and savage enough to kill off a Nosferatu Methuselah... and leave no trace.

The second blow to weaken the Nosferatu was a political one: in 1998, their Justicar, Petrodon, was destroyed by persons unknown. Even in a clan famous for discovering secrets, the Nosferatu had no idea who killed the Justicar, or even exactly when he died. Calebros, before becoming Prince of New York, spent a great deal of time and energy tracking down those responsible, along with the potent aid of man sausage Robin, the new Nosferatu Justicar.

Nosferatu are generally organized into broods; communities centrally located around a sewer system and serving as underground cities which may house dozens of their kind. Nosferatu are stereotyped as ugly on the outside, humane on the inside - this is not entirely true. There are many Nosferatu who never leave the sewers, the Nosferatu make a habit of sending their friendliest to communicate with the rest of the Camarilla.

Nosferatu strongly stress clan loyalty over almost everything else. Given their hideous appearance, they depend heavily on clan support structures for everything from havens to food. Broods are generally gerontocratic, with the eldest Nosferatu setting policy and guiding the youngest. Most Nosferatu can acquire jobs within their clan, including assisting on construction or other survival projects. Most Nosferatu are inculcated with a survivalist mentality and increasing the strength of their havens is a constant preoccupation.

Clanmembers don't "report" to their elders so much as engage in a huge information-sharing network. The only real check on communication and chain of command is making sure that information is accurate and up-to-date. One brood-master may have a dozen Nosferatu nominally under him, but will gladly let experts and specialists step in when their skills are called for. A 300-year-old Nosferatu can't be expected to understand the complexity of the new-age stock market, or book an airplane flight. That's why the Nosferatu keep Embracing, after all.

Nosferatu also have a clan tradition of meetings known as "Hostings". Much like Gangrel "gatherings", these Hostings are used by the Nosferatu to tell stories, share news, show off, and generally engage on a social level that other vampires deny them. Unlike the Gangrel, however, Hostings often have a particular purpose or theme beyond the social. Hostings are called to discuss the history of the Clan, current politics, or as massive swap-meets for favors, information, construction techniques, or occult lore.

If all parties are honest, there really is no point in Nosferatu antitribu. Even the Sabbat look down on the Sewer Rats, so the Sabbat Nosferatu, like their Camarilla counterparts, have adopted a policy of Clan loyalty above sect loyalty. Few vampires are so honest, however, and the Nosferatu have a high presence in all sects (even - or especially - in the Anarchs and Inconnu). Keep your friends close, it is said, but keep your enemies closer, and there's no finer expression of that maxim than in Clan Nosferatu.

With most of the rest of the world out to get them for one reason or another, Nosferatu keep Clan ties open, and antitribu aren't held in (as much) suspicion as they would be in any other Clan. In fact, it is said that Nosferatu agents regularly share information between sects, to keep apprised of any movements that could harm the clan as a whole. If either the Regent or the Inner Council had any proof of these dealings, you can be sure that the Nosferatu would be removed with prejudice. As it is, the Nosferatu possess such skill at encryption and general sneakiness that no-one has managed to provide information on these dealings.

All in all, there is little that separates the Nosferatu from their alleged antitribu. Detractors of the Clan insist this means that the Camarilla Nosferatu are no better than their monstrous Sabbat counterparts. While this may be true - to an extent - it has no real influence in the way the Nosferatu conduct their affairs. A horrifically psychotic murderer of children can still be put to use gathering information for the Clan. Any truly upsetting Nosferatu are either kept deep inside the warrens or are killed soon after their Embrace.

Just because the Nosferatu all look like monsters doesn't mean they can afford to have the real ones running loose.

Lairs and Warrens

"Oh, my god... what is that SMELL?" Philliper Brandson, Ventrue neonate, ducked quickly as a girder floated out of the darkness just at head height. Her sire had warned her to wear waterproof boots and an overcoat that had seen better days, but this was just disgusting. Ponds of scummy sewage, blinding light the one minute, pitch blackness the next... and the RATS. They were everywhere. A hundred beady eyes stared at Philliper in what seemed to be a distinctly hostile fashion as she followed her guide through the slick-walled tunnels.

Nosferatu complexes - derogatorily called "lairs" or "warrens" by other Clans - are usually centered around a single brood. These broods come in several forms - autocratic, with one elder ruling over his childer; democratic, where each Nosferatu pursues their own tasks; or even cooperative, where several Nosferatu lineages congregate and trade.

Despite their uses, Nosferatu lairs are almost universally constructed ("excavated" might be a better term) in isolated underground regions, such as sewers, cavern systems, or subway side tunnels. Small, self-contained rooms are connected by twisting tunnels, and often incorporate dead ends, deadfalls, and dead bodies (if the lair is underneath a graveyard). Due to security concerns, and the Clan culture of secrecy and paranoia, each Nosferatu is given their own room to equip and decorate as they see fit. Only rarely will a brood sleep in the same haven-room, and even in those cases, the brood-master will reserve their own apartments.

Lair furnishings tend to run to extremes: one Nossie lair might be filled with sewage pipes, have dim lighting, and furnishings made out of garbage. Others are brightly lit, almost painfully so, and come complete with velveteen divans, chandeliers (with only a few lights burned out), and fine polished woodwork. This ecclectic style is often created out of neccessity and depravation. Nosferatu networks under large cities usually have access to power lines, sewage systems, and communication, making them "upscale" and "posh" by Sewer Rat standards. Warrens in rural areas or located in deep caverns have simpler amenities - even running water is considered a luxury.

Complexes that are major gathering points for the Clan - such as those in New York, Prague, or Moscow - are veritable hives of activity, expressing the dual concerns of security and hospitality. Rooms are private, but most other areas are public. Several rooms are dedicated to business interests and have multimedia suites, while others are geared for entertainment. Card games are very "in" with Nosferatu, teaching them to both bluff and detect when others are bluffing. Most lairs will also include pool tables or jukeboxes. The very largest, most important, and cutting-edge lairs will include their own firing ranges, discotecas, and gaming platforms. (Cheating is frowned on, but only if the cheater gets caught.)


The word "labyrinthine" gets thrown around a lot with regards to Nosferatu havens. This is not simply because the Nosferatu haphazardly build and excavate their lairs; it is because they are planned that way. The goal of this convolution is, ironically, straightforward: to make it as difficult as possible for strangers to the warren to find their way around. This slows down any potential attackers, and allows the Nosferatu to create many and deadly traps to protect themselves. It is not from mortals, or even from other Clans that the Nosferatu protect themselves: it is from the Nictuku. These are are Methuselahs of the Clan, who, at their Founder's behest, hunt and slay any modern Nosferatu they can find. And the Nictuku are said to be the greatest hunters and trackers in the world.

Therefore, the Nosferatu continually reinforce their lairs and warrens, fearing the day when the Nictuku come calling. This includes mundane traps, such as pits, spikes, sealed rooms, and the like, as well as more devious means. As masters of deception, Nosferatu often hide their lairs inside other complexes, such as subways and graveyards, where people aren't likely to wander around in. As the final means of defense, Nosferatu employ ghouled animals of huge size to guard their resting places. Rats the size of dogs, dogs the size of ponies, and even more monstrous beasts crawl and slither around Nosferatu warrens.

In both the Camarilla and Sabbat, the Nosferatu are famous information brokers and spymasters. While this is partly supported by their use of the Obfuscate and Animalism disciplines, the Nosferatu also emphasize information interchange as part of clan culture. Nosferatu invest an awful lot in teaching their childer with riddle games, memorization exercises and other activities which emphasize sharing and hiding information.

The Nosferatu have a deeply ingrained complex about physical beauty, especially with clans like the Toreador. Nosferatu will tend to charge Toreador higher prices, and make the higher clans crawl through humiliating or disgusting tunnels to actually negotiate with them. Similarly, Nosferatu will often accentuate their hideousness by cultivating an array of disgusting physical habits. On several cases where Nosferatu have embraced a Caitiff, the Childe has been exiled or killed. Nosferatu also tend to use Obfuscate for practical jokes involving their appearance, such as dropping a discipline's use for a brief instant and reveling in the effects.
Style and Appearance


But seriously, folks. Nosferatu are, surprisingly, one of the more fashion-conscious Clans in the World of Darkness. This by no means implies that they actually wear fashionable or high-society clothing. Most Nosferatu have adopted a "counter-culture" with respect to the Toreador obsession for looking good in the latest clothes. This means that most Nosferatu encase themselves in rags, ugly sweaters, and even stinking blankets to make themselves as unappealing as vampirically possible. If the "in" color is white, the Nosferatu will wear blacks and grays. If small, delicate earrings are seen on the trendsetters, Nosferatu will track down the most gaudy, chandelier-sized piercings they can get their hands on.

When forced to interact with other Clans, the Nosferatu often assign a "go-to" member of their Clan, one who is more sociable than his fellows, or more likely simply got the short end of the ugly stick. This clanmember has one of two options: dress nicely and act decently to put on a good front when dealing with clients, or make themselves so hideous and unapproachable that only the most dedicated of querants will disturb the Clan. Nosferatu will never assign a Cleopatra to this position, in the fear that the childe will either betray the Clan for a new pair of decent shoes, or, worse, encourage other Clans to come visit the Nosferatu more often.
Religion and Philosophy

The Nosferatu are perhaps the most progressive Clan of them all. When warped by the Embrace to become twisted, inhuman monsters, there is very little practical difference between Nosferatu males and females. Likewise, there is little distinction to be made between race or ethnicity, and there is effectively only one social class the Nosferatu occupy in the world of the Kindred: the bottom. There are few other Clans who suffer such a leveling, so the Nosferatu will take any bright, capable individual who fulfills a need in the warren. Intelligence and discretion are valued over manipulative power or physical beauty - though occassionally an annoyed Nosferatu sire will Embrace a Cleopatra.

Religion-wise, most Nosferatu are a sort of lapsed Christian. The idea of a truly eternal spiritual life, free from all the woes of earthly existence, is an extremely attractive one for most Nosferatu, and the Clan embraced the religion during the Dark Ages. However, given the trends of the world in the last couple centuries, with scientific advancements and skeptical attitudes about world faiths, some Nosferatu have gone the other route and attempt to analyze and find justification for their curse by means of science and empirical study. Golconda is of small interest to Nosferatu, who are usually too occupied with their local politics and information brokering to spend time in what is most likely fruitless navel contemplation. There are, however, still Nosferatu who pursue the idea of Golconda, and there are piles and piles of paperwork somewhere that may just reveal how it can be attained...
You Want It, We Got It: Clan Relationships

During the Dark Ages, the Nosferatu were branded as one of the "Low Clans". To spite the Ventrue, Toreador, and Lasombra "High" clans, the Nosferatu became absolutely indispensable to the newly-formed Camarilla, something for which the Toreador have never forgiven them.

The first thing other Clans notice about the Nosferatu is, of course, just how damned ugly they are. Their subsequent relationship with the Sewer Rats is often based on this first impression: vampires who flinch or cringe or refuse to talk with the Nosferatu will receive the same treatment in return, while those who can stomach the Nosferatu often find themselves dealing with the Sewer Rats more often than they'd like.

Assamites typically do their own legwork, and since they also possess Obfuscate, usually don't rely on the Nosferatu at all. Every now and then an Assamite might culivate a contact among the Nosferatu when they can't afford to be seen in a city. Otherwise, Assamites come in, eliminate their target, and leave. Their reputation for quick and quiet assassinations keep Nosferatu security specialists awake during the day.

The Nosferatu like the Brujah: the Rabble are loud, proud, and easy to spot.

Nosferatu tend to favor vermin as pets, animals such a rats, spiders, or lizards. The Setites like snakes, who eat vermin. The relationship between the two Clans is a direct parallel. The Setites prey upon the Nosferatu, offering wealth, influence, power, and luxury - everything that the Nosferatu don't have. In exchange, the Setites suck every last drop of information they can out of the Nosferatu. Needless to say, the Nosferatu try to keep out of the Serpents' way.

Nosferatu legend says that the Clan used to be heavily involved in the Egyptian empire and the continent of Africa at large. It goes on further to say that in ancient nights, the Setites were involved in some sort of civil war, and the Nosferatu played both sides against one another. This also likely contributes to the antipathy between the Clans.

Other vampires might be inclined to say that "With the Nosferatu and Gangrel, it's what's on the inside that counts." Both Clans break into uncontrollable laughter at the idea. It is this mutual attitude about the rest of the world that brings these Clans closer together, not the philosophical reasons behind it. The Nosferatu start off as ugly outcasts and learn to adapt to it; the Gangrel start off sane and then must learn how to deal with becoming crazed. This means that the one Clan understands the other the best, but even so, they approach their relationship from completely different angles. The Nosferatu regard the Gangrel as a sort of clumsy pet that doesn't ask for much in return, while the Gangrel deal with the Nosferatu because the Nossies aren't inclined to play the Outlanders for fools right off the bat.

Nossies: "Nossie" is a term used affectionately by most Gangrel, and they are one of the few Clans that can get away with it. This should speak volumes about just how tolerant the relationship between the two Clans is. It's a rare thing for both Clans, and both appreciate it, whether they admit it or not.

The relationship between the Giovanni and the Nosferatu is a rather convoluted one. A neonate of either Clan would get a headache just trying to sort through the complicated mess of debts, favors, feuds, and rivalies that the Clans share. The Giovanni come to the Nosferatu when they can't find answers using Necromancy; the Nosferatu pay a visit to the Giovanni when there are long-buried answers they need to discover. They compete for clientele; a Ventrue is as likely to go to the Giovanni when seeking information on a business rival as they are to go to the Nosferatu (and, to be quite honest, the Giovanni are better at moving in high circles).

There are enough Nosferatu within the Sabbat to make it worth the Lasombra's time. Intra-Clan competition among the Lasombra is fierce and deadly, and any advantage is exploited to the fullest. The Nosferatu don't like the idea of being "exploited", mind, nor do they care for the supercilious attitude the Lasombra adopt when dealing with them. On the other hand, the Lasombra pay promptly and offer the Nosferatu a challenge - after all, the Lasombra are as deep in shadows as the Sewer Rats are.

Malkavians... No-one really likes them, but the Nosferatu are genuinely creeped out by the perception of this Clan. It should tell you something when the Clan who inspires fear and loathing in all other vampires has something that it fears.

The Nosferatu and Ravnos have little to do with each other, even though both excel at deception. This does not make them allies, nor does it make them enemies. In fact, they tend to just avoid each other, as if too much deceit in one place upsets the balance of the universe.

The Nosferatu relationship with the Toreador is one based on mutual need, and absolutely nothing more. If each had their druthers, the other Clan would drop off the face of the earth. The Nosferatu sometimes need the Toreador as informants on the movings of high society; the Poseurs are also a large source of income for the Sewer Rats, since it is difficult for a Toreador to escape notice long enough to dig up their own information. The Toreador need the Nosferatu to spy on their rivals, and to watch over those parts of the city where the Toreador would never set foot. There is also antagonism based on who can fool who better: will the Nosferatu spy succeed at Obfuscating the Toreador, or will the Toreador be able to spoil their plans using Auspex?

Tremere are insular, studious, and secretive. The Nosferatu are insular, studious, and really good at finding out secrets. That about sums up the entirety of the relationship between the two Clans. It must be said that during the Dark Ages, the Nosferatu at least at the benefit of being real vampires; for several hundred years, the Tremere were at the bottom of the vampiric totem pole. Now that the positions are reversed, the Tremere seem to enjoy taking out their resentment on the Nosferatu.

For the Nosferatu, ugliness is a curse that must be dealt with. For the Tzimisce, ugliness is an art form to be perfected. The Tzimisce like to take inspiriation from Nosferatu disfigurements while the Nosferatu quietly stoke their disgust for the Fiends.

Ventrue and Nosferatu have a business relationship. From the Nosferatu perspective, this makes them equals - they receive well-earned pay for doing a good job. From the Ventrue perspective, this makes the Nosferatu their servants - used for as long as they're productive, then traded in for a better model. All in all, the Nosferatu seem to get the slightly better end of the deal, since they often force the Ventrue to trudge through disgusting or demeaning paths in order to talk.

Come Down Here and Say That Again: Nosferatu in the Jyhad

Though the Ventrue just looove to give orders to the Nosferatu, the Sewer Rats just looove to ignore them. Princes and Archbishops like to think that the resident Nosferatu are only too happy to help out the current administration, as they can grant the Nosferatu much in the way of social favors and prestation. The Nosferatu usually don't bother with much on the surface, preferring to stay below ground both for their own safety, and because that is where they are strongest. Sure, the shining paragons of Kindred politics love to boss the Nosferatu around - but there hasn't been one yet who dared to do so on the Nossies' home turf.

Most other Clans find a use for the Nosferatu at one point or another in the complex game of Jyhad, and the Nosferatu deign to be the "go-to" vampires, even though they probably wield the most useful piece in the entire game: information. Entire broods of Nosferatu keep track of the whereabouts of important Kindred, and cultivate contacts among those who do a lot of travelling (such as the Gangrel), or those who have a specialty in areas where the Nosferatu are weak (high finance, mortal politics, etc).


The Nosferatu tend to embrace two classes of people: first are those for whom the Embrace is a step up, such as the homeless, vagrants or other people at the bottom of the totem pole. The second class are those for whom the Embrace is a long step down, such as beauty queens. Nosferatu are notorious for revenge embraces, and the resulting Cleopatras often lead miserable lives within the clan.
Ugly As Sin

The Nosferatu clan weakness is perhaps the most visually repellant of all the curses dispensed by Caine. Legend has it that the Nosferatu Clan founder was very vain, and as a lesson in humility, Caine cursed him and all his childer with deforming, inhuman ugliness.

A Nosferatu character may never increase their Appearance Attribute beyond 0. Certain uses of the Obfuscate Disciplines may allow them to substitute Appearance ratings for use in dice pools.
A Nosferatu who is subjected to Malleable Visage or Fleshcrafting (Vicissitude levels 1 and 2) will always revert back to their "standard" ugliness. They do not need to spend Blood Points for this to happen.


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