Nosferatu (World of Darkness)
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Nosferatu Clan Symbol.

The Nosferatu are a clan of vampires from White Wolf Game Studio's Vampire: The Masquerade, Vampire: The Dark Ages books and role-playing games.

The most visibly cursed of all Kindred, the Embrace warps each Nosferatu into a hideously deformed creature; the archetypal Nosferatu resembles Max Schreck'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.

As with all the Antediluvians, the Nosferatu Antediluvian (referred to as Absimiliard) 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.

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.

The Bay't Mutasharid, or Nosferatu of the Middle East, eagerly embraced Islam in hope of ridding themselves of their monstrous nature. As some of the most fervent followers, Mutasharidin were also among the most powerful of the Ashirra. As proof, more Mutasharidin managed to enter the holy sites of Islam, Mecca and Medina, than any other bay't; as the sites are the purist places in the Arabic world, it is nearly impossible for any kindred to enter.

Clan Progenitor Parent Clan Faction Disciplines Nicknames Weakness
Nosferatu Possibly Baba Yaga (or The Matriarch)1 Nictuku Camarilla Animalism, Obfuscate, Potence Sewer-Rats, Lepers, Haunts (in Vampire: The Requiem) Nosferatu are absolutely loathsome to look at. All Nosferatu have Appearance ratings of zero. They may not improve Appearance with experience points. Most Social actions based on first impressions, except intimidation and the like, fail automatically.

Contents

Final nights

In the final nights, the Nosferatu feel their Antediluvian metaphorically breathing down the back of their necks. Technically 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 1990s, Baba Yaga was destroyed... by a Nictuku.

Culture

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.

Minor bloodlines

Nosferatu antitribu

Nosferatu antitribu Clan Symbol.

Cainite historians suspect that the Nosferatu antitribu joined the Sabbat not out of resentment for their elders, but out of something more malevolent underneath the clan's pustulant facade. Indeed, the Nosferatu antitribu seem to be on at least civil terms with their Camarilla counterparts, but their apparent cohesion may simply be due to the fact that they are beyond such things as petty allegiances and concentrate instead on the force that threatens their clan nightly. Of course, the Nosferatu and their antitribu are silent when asked about it, which inclines vampires to believe that this matter is theirs alone.

Like Camarilla Nosferatu, the Nosferatu antitribu are hideously deformed, damned to an eternal unlife of hiding from or (given their Sabbat tendencies) tormenting mortals. The Creeps make their havens in vast nests of sewers underneath their cities, forming clutches and broods that horrify those who come down to meet with them. Some Nosferatu antitribu ever revel in their monstrous ugliness, going out of their way to disgust Cainite and kine alike. In this sense, the Sabbat has greatly influenced the Nosferatu antitribu; they have given up on all that is human and accepted their damnation with stoic resolve.

Ironically, or perhaps because of their disfigurements, the Nosferatu antitribu are perhaps the most humane (if not human) of the Sabbat clans. Having transcended the need for ostentatious brutality, the Creeps have come to grips with their monstrousness. They do not caper in blood or senselessly slaughter mobs of kine; rather, a Nosferatu antitribu's every move is one of calculated precision, designed to get the exact response she seeks, whether that be respect, fear or understanding. Many young Sabbat consider the Nosferatu antitribu soft—until they step into the sewers and see the true malice of the Creeps' black souls.

As the Nosferatu have since time out of mind, the Sabbat Nosferatu have traffic in the trade of information. Creeps cultivate vast networks of information and secrets while permitting little of their own dirty laundry to air publicly. Many Sabbat turn to the Nosferatu antitribu when seeking information of the common variety (as the clan is not known for too much dabbling in the occult), such as who dueled whom for their position and which of the traveling Templars is actually an Inquisitor. "The Creeps know everything," or so goes the sentiment, and the Nosferatu antitribu don't dispute this supposition, fading into darkness and conversing with their vermin spies.

More than any other clan, the Nosferatu antitribu fear their Antediluvian (whereas other clans may be said to despise their progenitors). To hear a Creep speak, fear is the most sensible emotion when dealing with the Ancients, and only the Nosferatu antitribu have enough awareness to realize this. In the grim legends of the clan, the Antediluvian, disgusted by his childer and scorned by Caine, turned loose a great evil on the clan, to absolve them of their heinousness. If this is true, all vampires everywhere should feel a tinge of fear, as whatever it is that hunts these hunters must surely be terrible indeed.[1]

Bloodline Founder Parent Clan Faction Disciplines Nicknames Weakness
Nosferatu antitribu Unknown Nosferatu Sabbat Animalism, Obfuscate, Potence Creeps, Critters Nosferatu are absolutely loathsome to look at. All Nosferatu have Appearance ratings of zero. They may not improve Appearance with experience points. Most Social actions based on first impressions, except intimidation and the like, fail automatically.

Guruhi

Laibon Legacy of Clan Nosferatu.

Legacy Parent Clan Disciplines Nicknames Weakness
Guruhi Nosferatu Animalism, Potence, Presence Kings The appearance of a Guruhi changes based on their moods, reflected by their Orun and Aye. Anytime the character's Orun or Aye changes, the player must roll Appearance + Subterfuge of 8.

Hajj

Amongst Arabian Kindred (Ashirra), the Hajj are the Nosferatu defenders of Islam and wardens of the Keening, a mystical cry heard only by Ashirra that permeates the Arabian peninsula. Led by the fifth-generation Tarique, their philosophical outlook is sufficiently different to have separated them from their clan as a distinct bloodline, and they have very different disciplines including thaumaturgical powers that emulate True Faith. They consider themselves chosen by Allah to guard the Ka'aba and the other holy sites of Islam.

They practice the Hidea Iman path of Thaumaturgy. It is the only Thaumaturgy path they practice and it is unique to their bloodline with other bloodlines and clans unable to learn it outright. It has two unique rights as well; Tarique and Mazen.[2]

Bloodline Founder Parent Clan Faction Disciplines Nicknames Weakness
Hajj Tarique Nosferatu Ashirra Animalism, Obfuscate, Potence None Nosferatu are absolutely loathsome to look at. All Nosferatu have Appearance ratings of zero. They may not improve Appearance with experience points. Most Social actions based on first impressions, except intimidation and the like, fail automatically. The Hajj are proud of their Islamic status as protectors and rarely hide their terrible visages.

Nictuku

According to Nosferatu lore, the Founder of their clan has two major bloodlines. The second bloodline, descended from a tribal priestess (possibly Baba Yaga) who escaped his hunt, are the entirety of the modern Nosferatu clan and worth nothing more than extinction as far the elder is concerned. The agents of this extinction are the Nictuku, hideous creatures Blood Bound to the Antediluvian and perpetually engaged in a crusade to wipe out the clan's strays.

The precise roster of the Nictuku is unknown, though there are many. A few names have been passed down through the ages: Abraxes, Lord of Mists; Nuckalavee the Skinless; Gorgo, She Who Screams in Darkness; Echnida the Mother of Foulness.

According to the stories, each Nictuku has its own unique characteristics and appearance, but all are monstrous. Though the Nictuku are, or were, vampires, they possess a far greater quantity of the original Antediluvian vitae and have thus been transformed far beyond the ken of most "pure" Nosferatu. The Nictuku are monsters in the truest sense of the word.

The Nictuku, so the stories go, are all Blood Bound to the sleeping Antediluvian, and all are consumed with the desire to destroy the entire Nosferatu line. Only then will Caine's curse be lifted and Nosferatu's face restored.

The existence of the Nictuku is still conjecture, but it cannot be denied that Nosferatu who choose to operate apart from the clan often disappear mysteriously. There have also been instances of entire Nosferatu warrens disappearing without a trace.

Few non-Nosferatu have heard the legend of the Nictuku; those who have heard it largely scoff at the idea, considering the entire tale and exercise in self-gratification ("the beasts just want to believe that there are things out there even more repulsive than they are.") The Nictuku themselves are seen as mere bogeymen whose purpose is to enforce clan unity. Most Nosferatu, however, take the Nictuku very seriously indeed.

Fear of these creatures is the primary reason the Nosferatu spend so many of their nights in hiding. The threat of these monsters also does much to explain why the Nosferatu are so obsessive about garnering information - for the Nictuku strike silently from the dark, and fade into the dark again. The Nosferatu believe that constant vigilance against these creatures is the only way to prevent their attacks. Rumors of strange creatures and inexplicable occurrences are snapped up by the Nosferatu.

The Nosferatu treat the Nictuku seriously; part of their fondness for sewers is because they build these underground havens into massive fortresses, complete with gun emplacements and embankments on the lower levels. The Nosferatu information exchange tools, up to and including ShreckNET are intended to exchange Nictuku sightings.

Bloodline Founder Parent Clan Faction Disciplines Nicknames Weakness
Nictuku Absimiliard None Independent, (Enemies of Nosferatu) Obfuscate, Quietus, Grotequous Grendel Like the Nosferatu, the Nictuku have an appearance of 0 and automatically fail any rolls having to do with appearance. Due to their horrible aura they cannot interact with humans at all.

Version differences

The most notable difference between 1st and later editions of Vampire is a bugfix. Nosferatu always fail any roll involving appearance, and most of the first edition Obfuscate abilities involved appearance rolls.

Vampire: The Requiem

After Vampire: The Masquerade's demise in 2004 in the "Time of Judgment" storyline, White Wolf Game Studio launched a new World of Darkness, with a new vampire game as its launch title, Vampire: The Requiem. In this new game, the Nosferatu were revamped as one of the 5 major clans. See Clans in Vampire: The Requiem.

Nosferatu of note

  • Gary "Gorgeous Gary" Golden, primogen of the Nosferatu clan in Los Angeles, California (appears in the PC game Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines).
  • Cock Robin, current Nosferatu Justicar.
  • Petrodon, former Nosferatu Justicar, deceased.
  • Slava Sergeovic, one of the first Nosferatu Archons, secretly a Sabbat spy.
  • Baba Yaga also known as Iron Hag, Fourth Generation, one of the most powerful Kindred in the world, responsible for the "Shadow Curtain" which separated Russia from rest of the world, awakened in 1990's, marshalling her "Army of Darkness". Later killed by the Nictuku - Vaisilov.
  • Tarique al-Hajji, recognized as a leading Mullah by the Islamic Ashirra sect, Tarique is the founder and leader of the Hajj bloodline, inventor of Sihr blood sorcery, and protector of Mecca and Medina. Only he can perform the purification rites that control the Keening and allow vampires to enter the holy cities.
  • Khalid al-Rashid, Primogen of the Nosferatu Clan in Chicago, Illinois.
  • The Gutka, Fifth generation, Childe of Baba Yaga, also known as Salt Queen due to her habit of preserving her victims in salt.
  • Nictuku, Monstrous servitors created by Nosferatu Antediluvian in order to hunt down his clan members - Fourth Generation monsters, Inhuman and extremely powerful, they follow their sire's orders to the hilt , some of them were - Gorgo- She who screams in darkness, Nuckalavee - The skinless one, Abraxes - the lord of mists, Vasilisa - The one who killed Baba Yaga.

Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines

The Nosferatu appear as a playable faction in the PC game Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines developed by Troika Games in 2004.[3]

Notes

1 Though the Nosferatu are the majority of the descendants of the antediluvian Absimiliard, they are not the primary offspring. The Nictuku are the primary children of Absimiliard, all blood-bound to their sire. Baba Yaga was a Nictuku who escaped and all modern Nosferatu are descended from her. In modern times, the Nictuku are ordered to hunt down and destroy the primary Nosferatu clan.

References

  1. ^ Justin Achilli et al., Guide to the Sabbat (White Wolf Game Studio, 1999, ISBN 1-56504-263-8)
  2. ^ Soulban, Lucien (1996). "Desert Winds: Arabia by Night". A World of Darkness Second Edition chapter 6 (ISBN 1-56504-207-7)
  3. ^ http://rpgvault.ign.com/articles/510/510375p2.html



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