One of the first things experienced players in Vampire will check out will be the Disciplines. As supernatural powers that the Vampires possess, this is probably the chapter of fun toys that players have to work with.
We won’t be going over each of the Disciplines in this entry as I’d end up spoiling the specifics, but we will be taking a look at the mechanics behind them
In addition to the dots in Disciplines earned during character creation, vampires may spend experience points to learn new ones. That said, there’s an extra requirement: To spend experience, the vampire has to feed on a matching Resonance to do so. Furthermore to learn Disciplines outside of your clan, you’ll need to taste the blood of a Vampire who knows the Discipline.
Each dot in a Discipline has a small selection of powers to choose from. Upon learning a dot, a vampire chooses one power from the dot level they’ve unlocked, or a level below. The vampire only knows a number of powers equal to the dots they have.
Disciplines require little to no time to activate, but the vampire is restricted to activating one Discipline per turn. However, a Kindred may stack multiple ongoing Disciplines without penalty.
Given that we’re only restricted to 7 clans now, the Discipline list is much shorter, but covers the classics:
- Animalism – Control over animals and bestial features
- Auspex – Supernatural perceptions
- Celerity – Blood-born super speed
- Dominate – The ability to override the thoughts of sentient creatures
- Fortitude – Unnatural resilience
- Obfuscate – Predatory stealth
- Potence – Uncanny might
- Presence – Vampiric charm
- Protean – Shapeshifting
- Blood Sorcery – Magic born of the blood
- Thin-Blood Alchemy – A new form of magic hacked together by the Thin-Bloods
Of all of these Thin-Blood Alchemy is probably of the most interest. The dominance of the Thin-Bloods in this new era means that you’ve got weaker vampires with access to more flexibility than the usual Disciplines we’re familiar with.
The addition of the requirements of feeding to learn new dots in Disciplines is a nice touch to me, tying your powers to that of the blood that sustains you. Also, it ensures that your character, an unstable predatory creature with a habit of snapping into a feral state when pressed is constantly motivated to move within the herd.
It’s an interesting way for a single rule to add depth of flavor to the setting, and works well to keep everyone in the mindset that Vampires are very unlikely to really get along with the herd when all they see is food.
Next up we’ll be taking a look at the “Advanced Rules” that provide options for more detail than the basic rules we’ve discussed prior.
If you’d like to read along, you can grab a PDF copy of Vampire the Masquerade 5e from the World of Darkness Website for $24.99