( P ) Pronunciation
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the
English Language, Fourth Edition
Copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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.
SYSTEM - A Blood Point must be spent for each body part undergoing change. Then the character makes an Intelligence + Body Alteration roll (diff 7) to determine how well he succeeds in changing his own appearance. The vampire can use this power to increase his Appearance attribute score, but the difficulty for this is always 10, and a botch reduces the attribute. To look like another specific person, the roll is Intelligence + Disguise and the difficulty is again 10. Refer to the Changeling Chart for quality of success.
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.
SYSTEM - The use of this power requires a successful Dexterity + Body Alteration roll, as well as the expenditure of one Blood Point per body part altered. The difficulty varies with the effect desired. If being used to decrease a subject's Appearance, the victim loses one point of Appearance per success rolled. Otherwise, use the Changeling Chart. This power can also be used to increase a subject's dice pool for soak purposes -- this is done by the expedient of shifting fat and muscle tissue from one area of the body to another, and costs the subject either one point of Strength or one Health Level per die of soak gained (vampire's choice). The difficulty of such a task is usually 8.
Level 3 - Bonecraft - Much like Fleshcraft, this power allows a vampire to alter bone.
SYSTEM - Use of this power requires a successful Strength + Body Alteration roll (difficulty again variable). When used benevolently, Bonecraft must be used in conjunction with Fleshcraft. When used without Fleshcraft, the difficulty of the roll becomes 7 and for every success the vampire inflicts one Health Level of damage. If five or more successes are gained on a single roll, the victim's ribcage implodes in a spray of gore ... this kills mortals, of course, and vampires lose half their present Blood Pool instantly.
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.
SYSTEM - Two Blood Points are required to assume this form. While wearing this shape, the vampire's Physical attributes all increase by three, while her Social attributes all drop to zero. Damage done via hand-to-hand combat is increased by one die, and may become aggravated at Storyteller's option.
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.
SYSTEM - The character's entire body can be converted into 10 points of blood. Otherwise, different body parts can be converted to blood according to the following - head-1 point, chest-2 points, abdomen-1 point, each arm-1 point, each leg-2 points. If the liquid body part is destroyed, it may be regenerated by the character by spending a number of Blood Points equal to the number that part is worth. If all the blood is injested or otherwise destroyed, the character dies. The liquid body parts may be reformed by the character at will, so long as the blood is in physical contact with the character.
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.
SYSTEM - Once taken, this power is always in effect. Each Blood Point of the character's blood which comes in contact with an object or person does five dice of aggravated damage, which can only be soaked with Fortitude. The acid will eat through wood and fabric, but not glass or most metals. Should the character be attacked in Melee combat, a number of Blood Points equal to the number of Health Levels of damage taken will spew toward the attacker. The attacker may attempt to dodge at a difficulty of 8, or 9 if using the Wolf's Claws Protean power, with each dodging success avoiding one Blood Point of acid blood.
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.
SYSTEM - Use of this power is automatic and requires no roll, but it takes one full turn for the change to occur and costs one Blood Point per weapon formed. The roll, difficulty, and damage stats on the weapons are normal for the specific weapons involved, but all damage done is aggravated. Projectile weapons may be mimicked in shape, but they will not actually fire and the duplication is not sufficient to fool anyone, so it's pretty useless to make them.
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.
SYSTEM - Three Blood Points must be spent to assume this form. The character may then fly at 25 mph, and can carry objects but cannot manipulate them while flying. Talons may be extended with a subsequent Strength + Body Alteration roll (diff 6), and do Strength + 2 aggravated damage. All rolls involving hearing while in this form are at -2 difficulty, while all rolls involving sight are at +1 difficulty.
Entrail Saraband - The vampire may, at will, animate his entrails, causing them to burst forth out of his abdomen to grasp, strike, or entangle.
SYSTEM - Use of this power is automatic and requires no roll, but it does require one full turn for the change to occur. The character will take one Health Level of nonsoakable normal damage as his bowels burst forth. This damage may be healed normally, but should the character heal it while his entrails are still outside his body, additional Fleshcrafting will be required later to close the hole in his abdomen. Anyone not otherwise familiar with this power should make a Wits roll at a difficulty of 7 - failure indicates that the witness has been shocked into immobility and cannot make any action the next turn. Mortals may additionally run in terror at the Storyteller's discretion. The character may use his animated bowels as extra limbs or crude whips. The bowels have no strength to do crushing damage, but may entangle, or do three dice of non-aggravated striking damage. While using the bowels in extra actions (not normal actions) the character may choose to roll his Stamina for extra dice on top of that allocated from the normal dice pool during the split.
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.
SYSTEM - To use this power, a mortal victim must be acquired and immobilized in some fashion. The character must roll Dexterity + Body Alteration (diff 8) - any success indicates that the Fleshcraft has succeeded and the victim has lost only one Health Level. Failure indicates that the victim has died a horrible death and is unsuitable for use as a shield. To hoist the shield, the vampire must possess at least Strength 5 in any combination of normal Strength, blood, and/or Potence, and may thereafter use the victim as per normal for any shield. Each Health Level of damage blocked by the shield inflicts a Health Level of damage on the shield (soakable by the mortal being used), and of course after seven Health Levels in total (including the first one taken while being turned into a shield) the victim will die. The shield may continue to be used until five Health Levels beyond death have been taken, at which point it is too mangled to be of further use. While the victim yet lives, the character may use any Vicissitude power she knows on it. Each successful use thereof will do one Health Level of damage to the shield.
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.
SYSTEM - Treat as Inner Essence, except that the character may move the blood around at will. When in human form, the character may move and speak normally, while being immune to all physical attacks except fire and sunlight. No physical attacks may be made either, however. All mental Disciplines may be utilized except those which require eye contact. The Storyteller may limit the sudden use of this Discipline, but the change may normally be made instantly.
Skin Trap - By sloughing off a layer of skin, the vampire may use it as a fleshy trap.
SYSTEM - The skin may be shed automatically, but to correctly target and hit the victim requires a successful Stamina + Firearms roll, at a base difficulty of 6 with normal Firearms complications. Should the victim fail to dodge the Skin Trap, it causes no immediate damage but does entangle the victim completely until he breaks free (which requires a number of successes equal to the character's Stamina, rolled on the victim's Strength at a difficulty of 7, non-cumulative). Should the character score at least three successes on the attack roll, the skin has covered the victim's face, and if the victim must breathe he will begin to sufficate. A character who uses this power loses one die from all Soak rolls until she has spent a Blood Point to regenerate the lost skin. Should it be used three times without regenerating, the character must succeed on a Stamina roll (diff 7) whenever moving suddenly or violently, or suffer a Health Level of damage, due to the brittleness of her now-thin skin. It should be noted that only a completely naked character can use this power properly ... the Storyteller may rule that someone who is fully clothed may not be able to shed the skin properly.