Fate Core Vampire 5: Mechanics

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This is, obviously, a catch-all for things I haven’t covered yet but which come up in game. As always, I’m trying to strike a balance between Fate Core mechanics and Vampire the Masquerade themes and “feel” for lack of a better word.


At the end of each session, PCs can either add or change an Aspect or swap the position of two adjacent Skills on their pyramid. PCs cannot change a high concept Aspect without GM approval.

When an Issue is resolved in the story, that marks a minor Milestone. At each minor Milestone, every PC gains a bonus Skill at +1. If they already have the maximum number of Skills at +1, they can move one Skill from +1 to +2, and on upward as appropriate. After 5 minor Milestones, this will result in a Skill being raised from +4 to +5.

Blood Bonds

To be blood bound to someone is to lose a part of one’s self and be subsumed by one’s domitor. If you are blood bound, erase one of your Aspects (besides your high concept or clan flaw Aspect) and replace it with “Bound to X” with your domitor’s name. This Aspect counts as a consequence that your domitor can tag at will without spending a Fate point, but otherwise functions as any other Aspect – mostly for compels of course.

If you ever break the blood bond, you can replace it with a new Aspect.


Because vampires are vampires, they can normally defend against bullets with either Athletics or Physique.

Aggravated damage is a possible moderate or severe physical consequence. Vampires cannot use Physique to defend against damage from Protean claws, fangs, fire and sunlight. Fire and sunlight deal double damage to vampires, causing as much mental stress as physical stress.

In order to bite in close combat, a vampire must first grapple her prey with Physique. She then bites with Fight, and her fangs do +1 damage


A vampire can always choose to frenzy rather than take a mental consequence – a brief frenzy in place of a minor consequence up to a severe frenzy to avoid a severe consequence. While frenzying, the GM can compel the character without offering a Fate point, but the player still has to spend a Fate point to resist the compel. There are still the three types of frenzy – fear, hunger and rage – which will color the kinds of compels the GM can offer.

When you frenzy, clear all physical stress. During the frenzy, you also have armor 1 and your melee attacks deal 1 additional damage.

During your frenzy, if you drink blood this can still let you ‘treat’ a hunger-related consequence.

When a character is ‘taken out’ with mental stress, she frenzies against her will. Obviously, this frenzy will always be a severe one. This is why “riding the wave” can be preferable to some vampires, especially if they are less concerned with doing horrible things.

After a session in which you frenzied, you might want to change an Aspect to reflect what happened, or reduce your Empathy or Will and raise another Skill in its place.


As described previously, my current system for hunting calls on the players to make two Skill rolls in order to be successful. If they succeed with a cost or concession, it is often related to breaking the Masquerade or possibly encountering danger or a rival. Often, the first Skill roll has to do with finding their prey (Empathy, Notice, Streetwise) and the second has to do with how they get them to do what they want (Charisma, Fight, Manipulation, Resources, etc.)

Each night they wake up “Hungry” and must hunt against an obstacle of +2 to treat that minor consequence. If they are already Hungry and wake up the next night, the hunger becomes a moderate consequence, and they must hunt against an obstacle of +4. If their hunger becomes severe, the obstacle becomes a +6, and they are almost certain to kill someone, because if you kill someone and drain all of their blood, that is one surefire way to clear all hunger consequences.

Kindred Society

Any given Elysium will have at least a couple of Aspects. One of them is based on who the Keeper is, and the other is based on the location itself.

Every Sabbat pack has a reputation Aspect that applies to other Sabbat as well as any non-Sabbat who have the misfortune to have heard of them.

It’s hard to get the attention of powerful elders and influential Kindred, especially without the help of a Harpy or other socially connected vampire. Vampires are secretive and understandably paranoid. Some sample Contacts difficulties:

  • +2 the Prince’s Seneschal, your local Sabbat bishop, a Harpy outside of Elysium, your Clan Whip, a Black Hand cell in your city, an Anarch or Independent, or any vampire outside your Sect who is in your city
  • +3 a Black Hand cell leader, an Assamite for hire, a member of the Archbishop’s pack, your Clan Primogen,
  • +4 the Prince, the Archbishop, one of the Primogen outside your own Clan,

The enmity clause: if you fail in a Contacts roll, you might end up finding just the right kind of person, but unfortunately, this particular person doesn’t like you

Recovery and Regeneration

Vampires are assumed to always be slowly regenerating dead tissue and healing injuries. Blood is often required to ‘treat’ physical consequences, however, and can also help with hunger-related mental consequences of course. (Hunting to treat a minor consequence is against a obstacle of +2; to treat a moderate consequence is against a +4, severe is +6, etc.) We’ll use a somewhat simplified version of the recovery rules in Fate Core.

  • At the end of a conflict scene, clear all stress boxes.
  • At the end of a scene, clear any minor, treated consequences.
  • At the end of the session, a treated severe consequence becomes moderate, and a treated moderate consequence becomes minor.
  • Untreated consequences stay where they are.
  • As in the core rules, some consequences are treated other than with blood – with Empathy, Knowledge, etc. Whatever makes sense for the consequence.


Function like necromantic and thaumaturgic rituals. Sabbat pack priests should probably spend one Refresh to get an Extra representing their knowledge of the basic Ritae.

Spending Blood

In a recent game, I let a player spend blood by making their character more hungry (minor consequence upgraded to moderate) in exchange for having a +2 on Athletics, Fight or Physique rolls for the scene (player chooses one).


Like, torpor, staking is an option for “taken out” in a conflict between vampires, as long as one of them has a stake handy. If the player hasn’t mentioned carrying the stake, then she can spend a Fate point to declare that she remembered to bring one. Either she can use the stake to deal physical stress until her victim is taken out, or she can beat the vampire into submission and then stake her to take her out. As a weapon a stake is awkward, and so grants no damage bonus.


Torpor is one option for “taken out” in a conflict between vampires, and therefore might happen more often than normal. A vampire who is fed vampire blood awakens from torpor relatively quickly – and is also now one step blood bound to whomever woke them. Otherwise, the higher the vampire’s Will the sooner they will come out.

And that’s it for now. I’m really enjoying my online Fate Core Vampire game, and using the rules I’ve posted, you can run your own. As always, comments welcome.

Fate Core Vampire 4.5: Necromancy and Thaumaturgy

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As promised, these two get their own post, because there’s a lot to go through here. Also, fair warning – none of my current players have used either Necromancy or Thaumaturgy, so I only have a NPC-eye-view thus far. In the case of Necromancy, I combined some of the paths, as I found the ones listed in V20 had a lot of overlap, and for Thaumaturgy I didn’t list all of the paths because with all of the various splatbooks there are just so many. I also have not gotten around to fleshing out all of these various paths, so I’ll just list the ones I have worked on.


The (Reworked) Ash Path

Vampires with any levels in The Ash Path can use Notice to detect wraiths and other death-related spirits.

  1. Lifeless Tongues: the necromancer can use Charisma and Manipulation on spirits once she has detected them.
  2. Ex Nihilo: enables a necromancer to spend a Fate point and reach across the Shroud, either to use Fight and Physique against wraiths for a scene, or to draw an object into the lands of the living.
  3. Shroud Mastery: the necromancy can raise or lower the Shroud in her zone and adjacent zones, dramatically affecting the difficulty of wraith abilities and some necromantic abilities in turn. Assume the Shroud in an average urban setting is an obstacle of +6, and for each level of success on an Occult roll the necromancer can reduce that by one (one for each +1 on the roll).

The Bone Path

Tremens: Vampires with any levels in The Bone Path can roll Will to cause a corpse to make a single, creepy movement.

  1. Apprentice Brooms: spend a Fate point and roll Occult. For each +1 you roll, you animate one undead servant. They do not have much in the way of skill, but can be put to menial tasks.
    • Corpse Servant: equivalent of +1 in one Skill, 4 physical stress boxes.
  2. Shambling Hordes: spend a Fate point and roll Occult. For each +1 on the roll, you raise one zombie servant. The zombies follow simple commands and last for a single scene.
    • Zombie: Physique +2, Fight +1, Notice +1, 4 physical stress boxes
  3. Daemonic Possession: the necromancer can remove the soul of a living person or restore a soul to a dead body. She spends a Fate point and touches her victim, and rolls Occult +2 vs. her victim’s Will. She must take her victim out with mental stress to remove her soul. To implant a soul in a body, the necromancy spends a Fate point and rolls Occult. This creates a revenant, an undead creature who will remain corporeal until her one task is accomplished. The necromancer defines that task when she gives the revenant her single Aspect.
    • Revenant: +3 in one Skill, +2 in two and +1 in three. One Aspect that represents her singular task. 4 mental and physical stress boxes and one moderate physical consequence slot.


A character with any levels in Thaumaturgy has access to Thaumaturgical rituals. For each level of Thaumaturgy, she receives a ritual of the same level. Further rituals can be bought with refresh.

The Path of Blood

  1. A Taste of Blood: A Taste of Blood: if you are able to taste someone’s blood, you can roll Occult and learn their Clan or clan-related Aspect, or answer one question, for each degree of success (one for +1, two for +2, etc.). The questions must have to do with blood.
  2. Theft of Vitae: you can roll Will vs. Physique to rip blood from a target within your line of sight, up to two zones away. This attack deals physical stress, and restores an equal amount of stress on your mental or physical stress track. If you deal 2 stress, you can treat a minor consequence, and if you deal 4 stress, you can treat a moderate consequence. This stress must be dealt in a single attack.
  3. Cauldon of Blood: if you touch your victim, you can roll Occult +2 vs. their Physique to boil their blood. Any damage will kill a mortal – otherwise treat this attack as a +2 damage weapon.

Lure of the Flames

Any Lure of the Flames failure inflicts mental stress equal to the degree of failure. Anyone with a level of Lure o the Flames can light small flames at will, but it still requires a Will roll. 

  1. Basic: use Will in place of Shoot to loose flames at your enemies up to two zones away, who can defend with Athletics or Will. Treat the flames as a +3 damage weapon. At least one of the stress you deal must be mental stress.
  2. Intermediate: your now roll Will +2 to make your flame attack.
  3. Advanced: your flames are now a +4 damage weapon, and 2 of the stress you inflict must be mental.

Movement of the Mind

  1. Basic: use Will in place of Physique to life objects and persons. Victims can resist with a Will roll of their own. The obstacle to lifting an average-sized person is +2.
  2. Intermediate: +2 to the Will rolls to replace Physique, which might enable superhuman feats of telekinesis.
  3. Advanced: +4 to Will to replace Physique.

Weather Control

  1. Fog, Rain or Snow: roll Will to add an Aspect to a scene, like creating an advantage. The Aspect can be anything related to fog, rain or snow, or whatever weather is natural to the location and season.
  2. High Winds or Storm: you can roll Will to shove everyone in a zone with a gust of wind. Those in the zone can resist with their Physique scores or be thrown into an adjacent zone, taking physical stress. If you have already created an advantage, you can spend a Fate point to summon up a serious storm appropriate to the climate.
  3. Lightning Strike: roll Will to make a ranged physical attack. The lightning bolt is a +4 damage weapon. Victims can defend with Physique or Will.

Necromancy Rituals

I haven’t done as much work on these rituals, because many of them have effects that are easy to leave undefined in terms of mechanics.

Thaumaturgical Rituals


Bind the Accusing Tongue: Will vs. thaumaturge’s Will in order to say something negative about him for a scene when activated.

Blood Rush: after the ritual is complete, count one minor beast consequence as treated. OR enables an Occult roll to treat beast consequences: +2 for minor, +4 for moderate, and +6 for severe.

Blood Walk: a limited version of Taste of blood which reveals a vampire’s lineage, back one generation for each degree of success on the Occult roll.

Communicate with Kindred Sire: it’s an occult phone call, basically, but a lot of Tremere elders don’t have phones.

Deflection of Wooden Doom: the next stake to pierce you still does damage, but it does not paralyze you. Must keep a piece of wood in your mouth at all times.

Devil’s Touch: curse a mortal by placing something discretely on their person

Eyes of the Night Hawk: allows you to approximately replicate the basic effects of Protean.

Illuminate the Trail of Prey: after the ritual is concluded, can use Occult in place of Investigation to follow someone’s trail for a scene.

Machine Blitz: roll Occult to attack a machine, causing stress and malfunction.

Principal Focus of Vitae Infusion: take mental stress now to infuse vitae into an object. You can reduce it back to constituent vitae later on in order to clear mental stress boxes or treat a hunger-related consequence on a one for one basis.

Recure of the Homeland: Will roll and use of dirt from homeland to mark one physical consequence as treated

Ward Versus Ghouls: Ghoul’s Will versus your Occult in an opposed roll to cross the warded area. If the Ghoul fails but forces herself to cross anyway, she takes physical stress equal to your roll to activate the ritual.


Bone of Lies: roll Occult instead of Empathy versus the victim’s Manipulation to cause a bone to darken if the victim lies.

Incorporeal Passage: allows a Thaumaturge to slip from one zone to an adjacent zone, even if through a barrier

Mirror of Second Sight: once the mirror is prepared, for one scene you can look at reflections in it and roll Notice to determine whether they are supernatural and what sort of supernatural they are.

Pavis of Foul Presence: the first time that a use of Presence during a given night would inflict stress on you, that stress rebounds back on the attacker.

Sanguine Assistant: basically, roll Occult instead of Contacts to create a creepy blood-fueled assistant for a night.

Shaft of Belated Quiescence: after an attack with a stake, a piece breaks off and beings worming its way to your victim’s heart. The stake makes a secondary attack, using your Occult rating, and then again for a second time if anyone tries to remove the splinter.
Ward Versus Lupines: as Ward Versus Ghouls.


I also haven’t completed work on advanced rituals, especially since none of the players in my Fate Core Vampire game are even Thaumaturges 🙂

OK, there we go. Next up, Mechanics.

Fate Core Vampire 4: Disciplines

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Of course the majority of the work I had to do for this Fate Core hack of Vampire the Masquerade was to adapt the vampiric Disciplines to Fate rules. Many thanks to Venture City, the setting book that presents Fate Core rules for cyberpunk superheroes, and which I had in mind as I did this work. In brief, each level of each Discipline is an Extra that costs 2 refresh. My goal, therefore, was to make each level of each Discipline better than an Extra or Stunt the character might take, keeping in mind the principles of Fate Core Extra and Stunt design.


A character with any levels in Animalism is no more offensive to animals than a human would be.

  1. Feral Whispers: use social Skills, or Survival in place of social Skills, when dealing with animals.
  2. Quell the Beast: use Empathy to treat Beast-related conditions, or to bring someone out of a frenzy if you are able to touch them.
  3. Subsume the Spirit: use Empathy to place your consciousness inside an animal.
  4. Taunt the Caged Beast: (Elder) roll Charisma vs. Will to force your victim to frenzy.


A character with Auspex receives a bonus to perceive Obfuscated characters equal to +1 per level of Auspex. 

  1. Heightened Senses: when activated, you gain a +2 to Notice rolls, but risk physical stress from loud noises, bright lights, etc.
  2. Aura Perception: use Empathy to read emotional resonance and Aspects of people, places and things.
  3. Telepathy: roll Investigation vs. Will to read thoughts and answer one question per level of success. (Ex: succeed by +2 means 2 questions)
  4. Mirror Reflex: (Elder) use Empathy in place of either Athletics or Fight (choose one) in combat for the purposes of defense.


A character with Celerity who success with style in combat can use that boost for an additional action. 

  1. Basic: +2 to Athletics for speed and physical defense. Once taken, this ability is always active.
  2. Intermediate: an additional +2 to speed and physical defense, and it costs one Fate point to activate this or any higher ability for a scene.
  3. Advanced: another +2, for a total of +6.
  4. Flower of Death: (Elder) Make one melee attack against every opponent in your zone.


You can use Chimerstry to create small, incidental illusions at will, but only as color. 

  1. Fata Morgana: roll Expression to create a single illusion for a scene. When someone interacts with it directly, they must roll their Will vs. your Manipulation to see through it.
  2. Permanence: spend a Fate point to make an illusion persist even after you leave the zone, though the illusion itself remains in the zone.
  3. Horrid Reality: you can roll Charisma to deal physical stress to a single victim through your illusion. Costs a Fate point if you have not already spent one on Permanence. The victim can defend with the Athletics or Physique, or Will if that is higher.
  4. Shared Nightmare: (Elder) Horrid Reality affects everyone in a given zone.


Characters with Dementation can count on being able to “fail forward” on mental or social rolls with the consequence of temporarily worsening derangements. 

  1. The Haunting: roll Manipulation +2 vs. your victim’s Will to deal mental stress, which takes the form of hallucinations for one scene.
  2. Eyes of Chaos: roll Occult to understsand any complex system, taking the place of Investigation or sometimes even Empathy or Knowledge at the ST’s discretion.
  3. Total Insanity: roll Will vs. Will to attack everyone in your, dealing mental stress.
  4. Personal Scourge: (Elder) I don’t have rules for this yet, actually.


Dominate enables a character to create an advantage through conditioning. This requires at least one scene of threats and abuse, and the advantage is “Conditioned to X” where X has to be something relatively specific (not just “obey.”)

  1.  Command: roll Manipulation +2 vs. Will to issue a single, terse command. If the victim resists, she takes mental stress. Victims resist at +2 against any commands that would mean personal harm or violating their core morality. Suicidal commands automatically fail.
  2. Forgetful Mind: roll Charisma vs. Will to rewrite a victim’s memories, starting with the most recent scene and going back further with greater degrees of success.
  3. Possession: roll Manipulation vs. Will to take over a mortal’s body.
  4. Mass Manipulation: (Elder) Command and Forgetful Mind can be used against everyone in your zone. Roll against the highest Will, or default to +2.


Any character with Fortitude can use Physique in place of Athletics to defend against physical attacks. 

  1. Basic: grants armor 2 against physical attacks.
  2. Intermediate: +2 bonus to Physique when used to defend.
  3. Advanced: provides an extra moderate consequence slot.
  4. Elder: spend a Fate point to cancel out all damage from a single attack. In addition, when you successfully defend with Physique, you destroy the weapon that struck you.


I’m going to mention, but skip, Necromancy and Thaumaturgy here and probably have those in a future post, since there are multiple paths and rituals to consider.


You gain a bonus of +1 per level of Obfuscate to resist being seen by someone with Auspex. In addition, you can attempt to disappear when observed by spending a Fate point and rolling Stealth vs. the highest Notice score of all those observing you. Failure inflicts mental stress.

  1. Unseen Presence: you can turn invisible if unobserved. Roll Stealth vs. Notice to interact with your environment and remain invisible.
  2. Mask of a Thousand Faces: roll Manipulation vs. Empathy to disguise yourself as someone else.
  3. Cloak the Gathering: you extend your powers to one ally per degree of success (1 ally per +1). Costs one Fate point.
  4. Old Friend: (Elder) (V20 pg. 187) Haven’t written this one out yet.


Shadow Play: a character with Obtenebration can use Occult to create an advantage related to manipulation of shadows.

  1. Shroud of Night: spend a Fate point to summon a cloud of writhing darkness that is a +4 barrier to all Notice checks in and through a given zone. OR Shroud of Night: spend a Fate point to summon writing darkness to fill a zone. That zone has the Aspects Dark and Suffocating, both of which you can tag once for free.
  2. Arms of the Abyss: roll Will vs. a difficulty of +1 to summon tentacles of shadow. Each boost grants an additional tentacle. The tentacles have a Physique of +3 and Fight of +2 and three physical stress boxes.
  3. Tenebrous Form: spend a Fate point to transform into a tentacled shadow monster for one scene. You can use Occult +2 in place of Fight for melee combat, and your tentacles do 2 damage. If you succeed with style, you get another attack. You also gain +2 to Charisma rolls to frighten others.
  4. Shadow Twin: (Elder) spend a Fate point to animate your shadow to rise up and fight for you for a scene. It has one Skill equal to your Occult and two Skills equal to your Manipulation. Both you and your shadow can act each turn.


Physique maps to Strength in VtM pretty well. Check out V20 pg. 261 for example feats of strength. 

  1. Basic: +2 to Physique for raw strength, and +1 to damage when unarmed or using a melee weapon.
  2. Intermediate: +4 to Physique and +2 damage.
  3. Advanced: +6 to Physique and +3 damage.
  4. Thunder Clap: (Elder) bring your hands together to create a shock wave that attacks everyone in your zone. This attack uses your Fight Skill and retains the +3 weapon damage from your Potence.


Awe: +2 to Charisma when you are playing to a crowd.

  1. Dread Gaze: you reveal your vampiric nature for a moment, and roll Manipulation +2 vs. Will. If you succeed, your victim must flee your presence or take mental stress.
  2. Entrancement: spend a Fate point and roll Charisma +2 versus your victim’s Will. If you succeed, they see you as a close friend and ally for the duration of the effect:
    • +1 one hour, +2 one night, +3 one week, +4 one month, +5 one year.
  3. Majesty: when someone in your zone or an adjacent zone attempts to inflict stress on you, they must first roll their Will vs. your Charisma. If they succeed, they can act next round. They can only act on the same round if they succeed with style and use the boost to gain another action.
  4. Summon: (Elder) roll your Contacts +2 versus your victim’s Will. They must either come to you as quickly as possible or take mental stress equal to your degree of success. If the roll fails, you cannot summon them again for the rest of the night.


At any time, you can activate Eyes of the Beast. Your eyes glow red-orange, but you also eliminate any penalties or obstacles due to darkness. Protean also makes it a bit more difficult for a Werewolf to sniff out your Wyrm-taint.

  1. Feral Claws: your unarmed attacks gain +2 damage which cannot be resisted with Physique unless your victim has Fortitude. (Currently I have no aggravated damage rules)
  2. Earth Meld: spend a Fate point and you can meld into any patch of ground you can find and sleep there for the night.
  3. Shape of the Beast: you can shapechange into a wolf or a bat. In bat form, you can fly and gain +2 to Athletics to fly and +2 to Notice for hearing. In wolf form you gain +2 to Athletics for running and +2 to Fight when biting, and your bite does +2 damage (not cumulative with Feral Claws).
  4. Earth Control: (Elder) you can now swim through the earth after your are Earth Melded, at about the same speed you could swim through water. Obstacles like metal, water and concrete stop your movement.


At any time, you can spend a Fate point to add “Silence of Death” as an Aspect to a scene. It also grants you one free invocation. 

  1. Scorpion’s Touch: you take 1 physical stress (which heals at the end of the scene) to increase the damage of any bladed weapon by 2 for the scene.
  2. Dagon’s Call: for a scene after you touch your victim, you can spend a Fate point to initiate attacks against her. You roll your Will vs. her Physique, dealing physical stress as she drowns in her own blood.
  3. Taste of Death: you can use Shoot to split caustic blood at a target up to one zone away. This spit deals 4 damage.
  4. Poison the Well of Life: (Elder) spend a Fate point to poison a mortal’s blood so that any vampire who drinks from her suffers 6 physical stress, which can be taken up with the “Poisoned” consequence.


Tongue of the Asp: at any time, you can extend your forked tongue out of your mouth up to about eighteen inches and use it as a +1 damage weapon or to drink blood, just as you would use your fangs.

  1. Eyes of the Serpent: you can temporarily paralyze any mortal who meets your gaze. If threatened or attacked, the mortal can roll Will vs. your Charisma to break free, and she gets a +2 to this roll if she takes physical or mental stress.
  2.  Form of the Serpent: your skin provies armor 1 against physical stress and your bite deals +2 damage, and can be fatally poisonous for any mortal. You can also fit your slithery body through any hole that your head can fit through.
  3. Heart of Darkness: you remove your heart and hide it somewhere in a canopic jar. This provides you armor 2 against mental stress, immunity to staking, and one Hell of a liability.
  4. Heart Thief: (Elder) roll an attack using Fight vs. your victim’s Physique. If you succeed with style, you come away grasping their heart in your hand. Regardless, the attack deals physical stress.


Any vampire with Temporis has an perfect internal clock, and can set multiple mental alarms.

  1. Recurring Contemplation: roll Manipulation vs. Will against a victim in your line of sight. If successful, you place them in a recurring fugure where they experience the same few minutes over and over again, until the scene ends or they are interrupted by something dramatic.
  2. Leaden Moment: spend a Fate point and roll Occult vs. Will to freeze a living target (objects are much easier). For one round per degree of success, they remain frozen in space and time.
  3. Clotho’s Gifts: spend a Fate point and roll Occult against an obstacle of +0. You automatically gain an additional action this round, as well as one more for every boost. Next round, if you spend another Fate point, you get the same number of bonus actions again.
  4. No Elder version for this yet.

(Skipping Thaumaturgy for now)


You can roll Expression to impose a temporary change in appearance on a restrained or willing victim, or on yourself, for a scene.

  1. Fleshcraft: spend a Fate point and you can use Knowledge in place of Fight for one scene, twisting your opponent’s flesh. Your attacks deal +2 damage.
  2. Bonecraft: spend a Fate point to deal +3 instead of +2 damage using Knowledge in place of Fight. You can also alter yourself to deal +2 damage unarmed for the duration of the night, adding bone-spurs and so on. Lastly, you can make longer-lasting alterations on willing subjects, taking points of Physique and making them into armor or damage bonuses.
  3. Horrid Form: spend a Fate point to assume your Horrid form, gaining armor 2 against physical stress, +2 to Physique, and +2 unarmed damage from claws.
  4. Chiropteran Marauder: (Elder) as above, but you are also able to fly using Athletics, and strong enough to grab someone with your feet and carry them through the air.


Skin of the Chameleon grants a Gargoyle a +2 to Stealth when seeking to avoid being seen.

  1. Scry the Hearthstone: the Gargoyle spends a Fate point and can use Notice to detect anyone moving in a single building for up to one night.
  2. Bond With the Mountain: just as Protean’s Earth Meld, but applies to stone and concrete.
  3. Armor of Terra: the Gargoyle gains two additional stress boxes (for 5 total before Physique is taken into account) as her body hardens to stone.

Next Up: Necromancy and Thaumaturgy in Fate Core Vampire post 4.5

Fate Core Vampire 3: Stunts and Extras

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Between Aspects and Skills on one end and Disciplines, which are a special case in Extras on the other end, there are the Stunts and Extras, both the ones you’d expect in a Fate Core game and others that are specific to Vampire the Masquerade.

Merits and Flaws become Aspects, Stunts and Extras

As mentioned previously, Flaws from Vampire the Masquerade make excellent trouble Aspects. Here is what I think is a particular juicy list: Thin-Blooded, Dulled Bite, Child, Monstrous, Smell of the Grave, Vulnerable to Vampire Banes, Soft-Hearted, Lunacy, Guilt-Wracked, Rival Sires, Hunted Like A Dog, Sleeping With the Enemy, Clan Enmity, Probationary Sect Member, Cursed, Beacon of the Unholy, Mistaken Identity, Recruitment Target, Eerie Presence, Dark Fate. Any of these can be rewritten slightly, or just used as-is if you’re in a pinch. 

I didn’t go ahead and create Stunts for every Skill, since the ones in the Fate Core SRD work perfectly well, and there is plenty of flexibility to make up your own. I did adapt some Merits to become Stunts, however. Note that, in contrast to the Disciplines, most of these have not been playtested, and some might reference rules I haven’t talked about yet. But you’ll get the idea.

General Stunts

Blush of Health: spend a Fate point to appear alive for one scene. You get a heartbeat, basic biological functions, can sweat, respond sexually, etc.

Calm Heart: you gain one extra stress box on your Beast stress track.

Eat Food: unlike other vampires, you are able to eat food without much discomfort, though you do have to vomit it back up later on.

Eidetic Memory: spend a Fate point to perfectly recall the details of a specific scene. With the ST’s consent, you can use this ability to add an Aspect that you had previously noticed and are just now recaling.

Elder’s Ear: you have access to an elder – perhaps a Prince, or Primogen, or Bishop – in your city. This person will meet with you if you ask, and may provide information or protection.

Friend of the Underground: you are not a Nosferatu, but you have their respect, or at least their tolerance. You can use the sewers and similar systems to move around the city, as long as you don’t interfere with their plans.

Harmless: your Charisma rolls to convince someone you mean no harm are at a +2.

Healing Touch: you do not need to lick wounds made by your fangs to heal them, but can do so with only a touch.

Herd: Choose when you select this Stunt. You can now hunt socially using Contacts instead of Empathy and Manipulation once per night – if you do it a second time, you have to spend a Fate point.

Humane: you gain an additional mental stress box, but you cannot choose to ignore a consequence by frenzying.

Inoffensive to Animals: you may or may not have levels of Animalism, but you do not provoke animals the way that other undead do.

Languages: choose up to 3 languages in addition to English and perhaps one other native tongue in which you are fluent. For ancient languages, use Knowledge or Lore.

Light Sleeper: rolls to awaken, or remain awake, while the sun is up are at a +2 for you. (This might be Notice or Will)

Precocious: at the end of a session, you can switch the places of two Skills instead of one.

Unbondable: you cannot be blood bound. This is clearly a big advantage, and could also be quite a problem. Tremere must pay 2 refresh for this Stunt. (Obviously, this would be a problem for a Sabbat member trying to participate in Ritae)

Contacts Stunts

Harpy: you are one of the Harpies of the Camarilla in your city, meaning you get a +2 to roll to contact Kindred and have contact information for many influential vampires in the city.

Influence: in one particular area of influence, you get a +2 to all Contacts rolls. Examples include academics, media, occult and underworld.

Mentor: you have a more experienced member of your Clan, perhaps even an Elder, who has taken it upon herself to teach you the ways of the undead.

Mole: you have a spy planted in an opposing faction who feeds you information.

Retainer: you have the services of a loyal, blood-bound Ghoul. You Ghoul is Good at one thing, Fair at two things, and has one notable weakness that you define, or let the GM define.

Spirit Mentor: same as above, but your mentor happens to be a ghost.

Manipulation Stunt

Alternate Identity: you have a well-established alias, and receive a +2 to Manipulation rolls related to maintaining the alias.

Occult Stunts

Oracular Ability: at risk of your sanity, you can roll Lore once per session to place an Aspect on a scene (or more than once, if you spend Fate points). This Aspect must have to do with fate or foreboding, and may not be used in the way you intend…..An Aspect placed this way provides the usual free first invoke for you.

Scholar of Enemies: you can choose one opposed faction in the WoD, and you gain +2 to Occult rolls pertaining to these enemies. Examples include Garou, Sabbat, Camarilla, Hunters, etc.

Resources Stunt

Haven: over the years, you have sunk a lot into various havens throughout the city. When upgrading or repairing them, you get +2 to your Resources roll.

Streetwise Stunt

Black Market: you can use your Streetwise score in place of Resources when working black market connections.

Will Stunt

Magic Resistance: Will rolls made to resist Thaumaturgy, and similar powers, are at a +2.

Backgrounds become Extras

Armored Vehicle: an enclosed vehicle with armor 4 against firearms and armor 2 against everything else.

Custom Vehicle: something like a drift racer, crotch rocket, haven RV, etc.

Assault Weapon: full-auto AK, M-16, etc. Deals +2 damage, and can be used against everyone in a zone

Ancient Sword: blood-forged, runic, meteoric – deals +2 damage and can be used against spirits

Elite Haven: (cost 2) you have a bunker or a penthouse or a whole fortified corner of the sewer system that is all yours. This haven comes with a basic staff, if appropriate, and two other special features that you determine when you take the Extra or in-game.

Gang/Muscle: your character has access to a group of violent, unruly types who can serve as enforcers. She still has to convince them to do what she wants, and they are not Seal Team 6, but she has about a half dozen tough, armed mortals to back her up when needed. The whole gang has 6 stress boxes and a +2 to Fight.

Ghoul: your character has been granted permission to bind one Ghoul. This NPC has a +3 in one Skill and a +2 in two others, has Basic Potence and is blood bound to your character.

Haven: you have a better haven than your Resources would indicate. When using your Resources to upgrade your haven or decide what features it has, you get a +2 to the roll.

Hunting Grounds: your character has been granted special hunting grounds in the city. Their maintenance is her responsibility, but they make hunting significantly easier. And as far as Camarilla rules go, on her turf she’s in charge. Each night when you first hunt in your own hunting grounds, you can reroll one dice roll.

Nightspot: your character owns and controls a nightspot, like a strip club, bar or nightclub

Shared Haven: (need to come up with rules for multiple PCs spending an Extra on a shared Haven)

Title: You can use Title in place of your Contacts or Charisma when dealing with other vampires. Your Title also brings other benefits and responsibilities as determined by the GM.

  • (cost 1) Harpy, Whip, Deputy, Pack Leader, Pack Priest, Black Hand
  • (cost 2) Primogen, Bishop, Sheriff, Alastor, Baron, Scourge
  • (cost 3) Archbishop, Prince
  • (cost 4) Regent, Justicar

Alternately, every Title costs 1 refresh, because higher ranks will also mean more powerful foes and more difficult challenges. 

Next Up: Disciplines. 

Fate Core Vampire 2: Character Creation

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Aspects, Skills and Stress

Fate Core Vampire uses the standard five Aspects for Fate Core. The high concept for a Fate Core Vampire character must include their Clan or Bloodline, and at every step this hack of Fate assumes the backstory and color of Vampire the Masquerade. Next is the trouble Aspect, which could be one of the Flaws from Masquerade, or is otherwise related to the character’s Clan. In character creation for this playtest game, I asked the Brujah’s player, for example, what makes her angriest. I asked the Gangrel what his character’s primal mark was. And so on.

Third is the mortal Aspect, something connected to the character’s life before they were Embraced. This is another good source for compels, and also for use to represent any competency that the character might have had in her mortal life. The fourth and fifth slots can be left blank, or filled with any other kind of Aspect the player wants.

Neonate characters begin with a maximum Skill of +4 in their Skill pyramid and they also start with 3 physical and 3 mental stress boxes, as their undead bodies and minds can endure more punishment than morals can.

Disciplines and Refresh

Neonate characters begin with 5 refresh and with three levels of Clan Disciplines. This already  means they are more formidable than their Vampire the Masquerade counterparts, as we’ll see, because in this hack there are only four levels of each Discipline, and the fourth level is reserved for elders only. So three levels in this system is intended to be about equivalent to five dots of Disciplines in VtM. Each extra level of any Discipline, in-clan or out of clan, costs 2 refresh – it is basically an expensive Extra.  So at most a Neonate might start play with 5 levels of Disciplines and 1 refresh, and 3 of those Discipline levels will be in Clan Disciplines. The exception to this is is for Caitiff or Pander, who can take their first 3 levels in any Disciplines as long as the ST agrees.

As usual, players can also spend their characters’ refresh on Stunts and Extras, which I’ll cover in the next post of this series.

Elders and Others

Mortal characters have +3 as their maximum Skill, and two Stunts or Extras. If they are a Ghoul, then they also have Basic Potence and an additional physical stress box, for a total of 3.

Elder characters, such as Primogen or Bishops, have a maximum Skill level of +5 in their pyramid, 6 levels of Disciplines and 3 refresh.

Ancient characters, like Princes, Archbishops, and other powerful elders, have a maximum Skill of +6, 9 levels of Disciplines, and 1 refresh.

Next Up: Stunts and Extras in Fate Core Vampire

Fate Core Vampire 1: Starting Point

I’ve been running an online Vampire the Masquerade game using my Fate Core hack for a few months now, and I think it is working really well. My idea was to playtest the hack and then put the rules up on this blog for anyone to use. If I’m someday blessed with more free time it might even become a document all to itself, instead of my notes and a half dozen blog posts. But we’ll see. I’m adding a blog category, Fate Core Vampire, for anyone who wants to see just posts related to this hack.

Starting Principles

For any hack, I like to have in mind, and state right at the top of the page I’m using for notes, what my goals are in succinct form. In this case, I wanted to run Vampire the Masquerade online for my friends. I’ve used the standard OWoD rules for this more than once, and while it can be fun, it is also clunky and slows down dramatically during conflicts, right when you’d prefer tension to be high. So I decided to try to use Fate Core, knowing that there will be some wiggle room between the core themes of Fate Core as a system and Vampire the Masquerade’s World of Darkness as a setting. I knew, going in, that this would probably lean a bit toward Superheroes With Fangs, but given the limitations of online gaming and what I knew of my friends, this was likely to be OK.

First, there would need to be a system for hunger and hunting that would place these things things at the center of the game. I toyed with the idea of another stress track, specific to hunger, or maybe to one’s Humanity or Path score, but instead just left the two standard stress tracks.

Next, I would have to model all of the various Vampire Disciplines as well as the various Backgrounds, almost certainly as Stunts and Extras of course, and for this I took some cues from Venture City, the cyberpunk supers setting for Fate Core, and how that game handled super-powers.

Other things I had in mind that I needed to decide how to model if possible: mind control from things like Dominate, aggravated damage, Humanity and Path development (including decay), and the three kinds of frenzy.

Step One

Once I sketch out my first thoughts, the first thing I often do for a Fate Core hack is to create a custom Skill list. Since the Skills are the main way the players interact with the game, a custom Skill list goes a long way toward the end of setting design and laying out some themes for the game you want to run. Here is the custom Skill list I came up with for Vampire, as well as, in parentheses, the Fate Core Skills these replace, or the Vampire abilities that they replace:

Athletics, Charisma (Provoke, Rapport), Contacts, Drive, Empathy, Expression (some Craft), Fight, Investigate, Knowledge, Manipulation (Deceive, Provoke), Notice, Occult, Physique, Resources, Shoot, Stealth, Streetwise, Survival (Animal Ken), Tech (some Craft), Will (20 total)

I brought over Charisma and Manipulation from the social abilities of Vampire. Lore got split into Knowledge, to cover most mundane knowledges, and Occult, to cover the supernatural. I also added Streetwise, key to the World of Darkness, as well as Survival to cover Animal Ken as well. Craft got split into Expression and Tech. And there you have it.

Hunger and Hunting

It took me a while to hit on this idea, but it was always a priority. This being Fate Core, I keep it simple. Each evening when a vampire wakes up, they wake up hungry. It’s the first thing I say to them as the night begins. I want it to be an incessant reality, and even boring and repetitive as they go through night after night. You wake up hungry. You wake up hungry. You wake up hungry.

In this case, “Hungry” is a minor condition that they take immediately upon awakening. The only way to treat this condition is through hunting, and hunting requires two Skill rolls, both against an obstacle of +2. I ask them how they go about hunting, and then we figure out the Skills that work best for that. Using Disciplines makes it take less time, or makes it somewhat more safe, depending on the circumstances (Dominate, for example, is great for hunting, but not a fail-safe).

Hap hunts with money, using Resources to find a prostitute who’s willing to indulge him. I also have him roll Empathy to make sure it’s the kind of prostitute who also won’t talk about what happens. (Or it could be Manipulation to threaten, etc.) Patrick hunts with Dominate, but I still have roll Notice or Empathy to make sure that the person he’s Dominating won’t be missed, isn’t highly willful, etc. Ash hunts with sex, so that’s usually an Empathy roll to find a likely dance partner and Charisma to seal the deal. Ellis tries to hunt from people who deserve it, so that’s Streetwise or maybe Notice and then Fight.

If they succeed, the minor condition is treated and goes away at the end of the hunting scene. If not, it stays, or they succeed with a concession, etc. If they go to bed hungry, they wake up “Hungry” again, but this time, it’s a moderate condition. Their roll to treat it is against an obstacle of +4 now, and it’s a real problem.

Oh, and you can always treat the “Hungry” condition by killing someone and draining all of their blood. Because of course.

Next: Character Creation in Fate Core Vampire