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vi·cis·si·tude   Audio pronunciation of "vicissitude" ( P )  Pronunciation Key  (v-ss-td, -tyd)
  1. A change or variation.
  2. The quality of being changeable; mutability.
  1. One of the sudden or unexpected changes or shifts often encountered in one's life, activities, or surroundings. Often used in the plural. See Synonyms at difficulty.
Source: The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
Copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

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    A different meaning of the word is found in a card game

The following information is provided by White Wolf Publishing:


Vampirekind is immortal ... unchanging. Their bones may be broken, but left to themselves the breaks will heal in a shape indistinguishable from the way they were before the damage. Skin regenerates, flesh heals ... and the vampire once again walks the night in the shape he wore on the first night he died.

However ... one power among the Kindred defies this rule. One power can twist and alter the shape of even unchanging immortal flesh and bone. Vicissitude.

Powers of Vicissitude

Level 1 - Changeling - A vampire with this power may make minor alterations to his appearance, such as appearing to be someone else, taking on webbed fingers, making his ears pointy, and so forth.

Level 2 - Fleshcraft - By laying hands on the subject, a vampire with this power can change and alter flesh, molding it to any desired shape or texture. The effects of this power are permanent, but generally provide no benefit or detriment other than a cosmetic one.

Level 3 - Bonecraft - Much like Fleshcraft, this power allows a vampire to alter bone.

Level 4 - Horrid Form - As a vampire reaches this level of power in Vicissitude, she is able to awaken within herself the form known among the Tzimisce as the zulo, but known to those outside the clan as the Horrid Form. When taking on this shape, the vampire transforms into an enormous, hideous monster, seven to eight feet tall, thickly muscled, and covered with a layer of greyish-black slime. The zulo's seven-fingered hands are spiked with knobs and ragged nails, her vertebrae are protected by a ridge of bony spines, and her head becomes a grotesque misshapen blob. The exact shape varies from vampire to vampire, but always follows these general lines.

Level 5 - Inner Essence - Vampires with this power have gained control over their own forms to such an extent that they can actually liquify parts or all of their bodies. A vampire entirely in liquid form looks precisely like a large puddle of blood and cannot physically do anything that a puddle of blood is incapable of doing -- however, the vampire cannot be physically attacked, either, and is only vulnerable to fire, sunlight, and diablerie, and all mental Disciplines which do not require eye contact or any sort of physical movement can be utilized.

Level 6 Vicissitude Powers --

Blood of Acid - Once having invoked this power, the vampire's blood becomes a powerful, corrosive acid. Any flesh it touches, mortal or undead, will suffer horrible wounds. A vampire with this power need no longer worry about diablerie, for none can drink her blood, but likewise she can no longer create or maintain ghouls, or Embrace new vampires.

Body Arsenal - A vampire with this ability may shape parts of his own body into weapons. Although he may duplicate the Protean power Wolf's Claws, it doesn't stop there. Any sort of melee weapon can be formed, from clubs to swords, from whips to chains. These weapons are typically formed on the vampire's hands or arms so that they can be used normally, but this is not strictly required.

Chiropteran Marauder - Similar to Horrid Form, but the vampire's arms extend into gigantic wings capable of propelling her in flight. While in this form, the vampire most closely resembles nothing more than a huge, monstrous bat. The vampire gains all of the advantages and disadvantages of the zulo form but may also fly and extend ripping talons from the tips of her wings, and her hearing ability increases considerably while her eyesight diminishes.

Entrail Saraband - The vampire may, at will, animate his entrails, causing them to burst forth out of his abdomen to grasp, strike, or entangle.

Living Testudo - A testudo is the square shield which was used by the Roman army to great effect. This version is a bit more gruesome. To construct it, the vampire uses Fleshcraft to lay open a mortal's back to expose the victim's spine, and then grasps it like a handle to hoist the mortal into the air. This living shield may be used not only to block attacks, but while the shield remains alive, the vampire may use other Vicissitude powers on it to create offensive weaponry.

Plasmic Form - Similar to Inner Essence, but the blood may be manipulated by the vampire once formed. The blood may be caused to flow through cracks and under doors, for instance, or it may be formed so that the vampire appears completely normal except for the blood-red colour. The blood may still be manipulated even if separated from the vampire.

Skin Trap - By sloughing off a layer of skin, the vampire may use it as a fleshy trap.