Vicissitude & Fleshcrafting - Explained & Expanded

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Simple Explanation

These rules are based on the rules in the V5 Companion (pp. 27 - 28), including the change clarification from Justin Achilli.

For each change you wish to make with Vicissitude, you lose a dot of a Physical Attribute to allow for the change. When you wish to make a different change, you can either sacrifice another dot of an Attribute, or override an active change - e.g. if you have given yourself Looks (Beautiful) at a cost of 1 dot of Dexterity and you later wish to give yourself some weapons in the form of bone spurs, you can either sacrifice another dot of a Physical Attribute, or override Looks (Beautiful) with the weapons. You can only have a number of active changes equal to your Protean rating.

When you want to reset everything to normal, you'll have to heal the changes as Aggravated Health damage (Vampire: The Masquerade, p. 127), but this restores Attributes to their original levels and removes them from your active changes. You can use the power to put the Attributes back to normal, but this would count against your maximum number of changes, so you'd eventually need to heal it to make more active changes.

Because Attribute Redistribution is only temporary, you cannot lower an Attribute to 1 with Vicissitude and then benefit from it being only 1 dot in order to raise it with only 10 XP, as it's only a temporary loss, not a real/permanent one.

When Fleshcrafting others similar rules apply, but the target is required to lose the Attributes in order to undergo changes, rather than the user of the power. Like Vicissitude, a subject of Fleshcrafting may only have as many active changes the user's Protean rating.

Expanded Rules

Skill-focused changes: Skill-focused changes such as suckers for climbing, or hooves for running, or changing appearance to impersonate someone, should be represented by providing one extra die pool to most rolls involving a specified Skill, but two dice rolls involving a specific Skill Specialty. As these dice bonuses are a result of physical body modification rather than the mystical power of the Blood, this dice-bonus does not benefit from Discipline Power Bonus from Blood Potency, nor the dice-bonus from Resonance, but is cumulative with normal Skill Specialties.

For instance, climbing suckers would provide a one-die bonus to all Athletics dice pools and a two-dice bonus to all Athletics (Climbing) pools, running hooves would provide a one-die bonus to Athletics pools and a two-dice bonus to Athletics (Running), whilst crafting your features to impersonate your neighbour Mary would provide a one-die bonus to Subterfuge and a two-dice bonus to Subterfuge (Impersonate Mary).

A character may make multiple changes which outwardly manifest in the same way, such as a sucker which helps with both Athletics (Climbing) and Larceny (Pickpocket), as long as they sacrifice an Attribute dot for each mechanical benefit.

Vicissitude can grant bonuses to Skills (and related specialties in) Craft, Larceny, Stealth, Survival, Intimidation, Performance, Subterfuge and Awareness. Vicissitude may also apply to the non-combat applications of Athletics, providing no dice bonus to Archery, Dodging or Throwing, even if granting a different Athletics & specialty bonus.

If examined too closely, these changes almost always result in a Masquerade-breaching effect on the body, or at least signs of plastic surgery. Obvious and exposed changes, such as hooves, may be noticed almost immediately, whilst subtle signs may be noticed by a keen or prepared observer on a roll such as Resolve + Awareness/Medicine versus Resolve + Subterfuge/Protean, depending on the circumstances.

Changes which are more versatile than the changes discussed under Skill-focused changes may be achieved by sacrificing more Attributes in exchange for the benefit, although it is recommended that the bonus to a single roll not exceed the above guidelines.

Other changes: With the agreement of the Storyteller, more profound changes can be made with Vicissitude/Fleshcrafting, such as fleshcrafting an exact body-double, but this should normally be limited to narratively impactful results rather than changes which provide a specific benefit to dice rolls. It is encouraged that most bodily changes which will aid in a test or conflict are handled as a Skill-focused or in the base rules in the Companion.

Alratan's Comment: This allows Vicissitude to be incredibly flexible (with bonuses to 9 Skills plus/multiplied by potentially infinite Specialties), whilst preventing terrible powergaming abuses and the ability to mimic many other powers, particularly focused powers such as Cat's Grace, Soaring Leap and Imposter's Guise + Ghost in the Machine. It might be a bit gamey in that one could plausibly replicate someone's features exactly and that feels like it should be worth more than just a two-dice bonus to impersonate someone, but it is far more balanced. Additionally, this balance can be justified as a result of physically-crafted alteration rather than a mystical one (even if it's backed up by magic to allow it to happen at all), and the fact that mannerisms etc. still need copying. If someone really wants an exact body-duplicate, then they can use Fleshcrafting + The Forgetful Mind + lengthy interrogation and work with the Storyteller on a narratively tackled power use rather than just using it as a one-size-fits-all answer which renders other Discipline powers obsolete. The same is true for other things like perfectly chameleonic skin, stupendously powerful limbs for jumping, and so on. Finally, it gives some much needed guidance to players as to how high they should reach, and to Storytellers to help them adjudicate on the fly.

Variant Rule: Kindred Armor

Vicissitude, Fleshcrafting and Horrid Form may now grant an additional Health level to Kindred instead of granting armor, but this is capped at three additional Health levels from three changes.

Variant Rule: Fleshcrafting

If using the above rules and not allowing Vicissitude to mimic other Disciplines by forcing the effects into dice pool-related effects, it is recommended to remove Fleshcrafting as a separate power, with Vicissitude now able to force changes on another being using the original Fleshcrafting rules.

Alratan's Comment: Even with the above changes, Fleshcrafting others is still more thematic/narratively flavourful than it is actively powerful, as rarely will one want to min-max a Retainer to a fine degree and in such a way that it has significant benefits in a conflict, so I would recommend merging Vicissitude and Fleshcrafting. Not only does two powers seem extreme for the relative value of adding Fleshcrafting to Vicissitude, but it also occupies a lot of the Protean tree with Vicissitude-only powers, which seems bloated. If necessary, this could make the merged Vicissitude a Level 3 power rather than Level 2, but even that might not be necessary given that the number of changes is capped by Protean level.


Author: Alratan, originally from Alratan's V5 House Rules

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