A Vampire: the Requiem, Werewolf: the Forsaken and Changeling: The Lost Live Action. Set in the fictional city of New Oskana and ran in Regina, Saskatchewan. Contact the game staff by requiemforregina@gmail.com. Register for additional information.


    The Rattlesnake Kings: A Ventrue Bloodline for New Oskana

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    The Rattlesnake Kings: A Ventrue Bloodline for New Oskana

    Post  Admin on Thu Oct 04, 2012 7:51 am

    The Rattlesnake Kings
    Sîsîkwêw Okimâw


    Many of the vampire lineages endemic to ancient North and South America are considered extinct; killed off with the whittling of the native stock they came from, or by tacturin extermination by invading European Kindred and an inability to adapt. Many Kindred are blithely ignorant in their assumptions as well.

    The Rattlesnake Kings persist. Venomous practitioners of dark magics, shamans and witches of fearsome reputation, said to twist your mind as they twist your body in agony. Insidious, but more so when they move unseen like deadly snakes striking the unwary. If you’re lucky, you’ll hear them before they strike; if you cross them, you’ll only hear your own cries of suffering.

    They’re still lords; they bear enough commonalities with the Ventrue to be considered such, though to hear them speak on the matter when they’re in power, you’d hear them say otherwise. Something greater, of course. Something with a place on the continent and born of it. One rarely hears this however; they’re subtle, quiet, insidious. They’re the kingmakers, not the kings, yet still the ones pulling the strings, unseen in the darkness. They’re the poisoners of words; the distillers of black thoughts. They’re the snake in your midst, already working it’s venom into you in a figurative sense. Later, it’ll be literal.

    History:

    The Rattlesnake Kings are a distinctly American bloodline; they developed in the New World, and as they insist, have no relation to the vampire stock of Europe beyond some surface commonalities. There is anecdotal evidence of them existing within South America; however they’re considered to be a line that haunted the great plains, prairies of the American West in the greatest numbers, with some more isolated presences in desert stretches where the First Nations lived.

    They’ve as a whole seen little reason to leave; they’re a long standing and proud line of vampires who see little value in what the newcomers brought beyond a larger larder. They appreciate that much of their European cousins at least; when disease and later oppression decimated their traditional prey among the First Nations peoples, they were all too willing to exploit the new blood to fill their bellies. There is ample food, so why travel so far to gain so little?

    They’ve been around as long as the endemic vampires of the Americas can remember; while never an overt lineage, their true numbers always hidden with their deceptions, individuals who bared their traits go far, far back. That is, assuming these tales aren’t revisions and fabrications by the Rattlesnake Kings meant to make them seem to have more pedigree than they truly do; few who know of them trust them enough to put that past them.

    They were purveyors of bad medicine; witches, dark shamans and other disreputable types by their common stock; taking the choicest picks of those mortals who could influence with words and fear but were they themselves not the leaders or chieftains. Resentment and spite twinned with a hunger for power and control made these feared individuals the prime picks; those who had the stamina to deal with distrust, even hatred and the patience to nonetheless entrap others. Their reputation was dark, but their effectiveness in influencing the mortal populations and animals around them nonetheless often garnered them strong places among the Covenants of the original Americas.

    It is said the first among them was one of these very same people whose name is now lost beyond being called Rattlesnake. Some dark shaman who trucked with dark spirits, a poisoner who nonetheless was feared by his community; nobody dared move against him despite his reputation, and he was nonetheless called upon to deal with the villages enemies regardless of the people’s resentment to him. He was cursed many said; his truck with dark things would give him no peace when he finally died.

    He had power, fearsome magics it was said, but in the end he was struck low, hobbled. Some say by a rival village whose hatred overcame their fear of them, some same members of his own family. Others say it was the spirits themselves, growing tired of his abuses. Whatever the circumstances, he was crafty and not about to be left crippled and weak, a laughing stock; he made a deal with rattlesnake itself as he crawled out into the plains; tell him the secrets of his venom, and he in turn would strike low those who considered themselves higher and better than rattler, gifting them with his bite in one grand trick. He’d be the snake in their midst that walked as man, his scales on the inside, his rattle sounding like human words.

    Rattlesnake struck, imparting the venoms onto the first King and in turn he died from the secrets imparted. To make sure the bargain was kept true, the rattler climbed down the dying man’s gullet and nested inside his body. Perhaps he was cursed, for his spite denied death itself as he arose as a vampire. Some say it was the bad magic he used that twisted him so; that he cursed himself to in turn be a curse upon the people that brought him low. Others say that the rattlesnake puppeteered his corpse while his ghost whispered great plots to it. Nobody knows for sure, as the first Rattlesnake King had long since passed into legend.

    Customs:

    Among their customs is maintaining collections of quite an odd sort. They often take and keep mementos of those they influenced or outright controlled for times, especially if the individuals were prominent figures. These are often worn in meetings between Rattlesnake Kings; no few wear the more portable trinkets among others as a hidden sign of their power. In turn, jewelry, head dresses and garments taken from others are cherished, though anything of their victims will do. If asked, it’s common for Rattlesnake Kings to tell outsiders that they were ‘gifted them’ by who the patroned, hiding the fact they’re more like macabre trophies of their victims.

    These trophies also have a more pragmatic reason; the Rattlers have a more difficult time influencing others without a tangible connection with many of their powers. Having the item helps allay this deficiency; it’s something of an unspoken or taboo subject to speak of among the Rattlers as a result who are often paranoid someone may overhear and exploit this peculiar bane of theirs. This curse is believed to be levied on them for their old reputation as disreputable witches and dark shamans by those few outside of the Bloodline aware of it; among their own, they just consider it part and parcel of their dread magics rather than anything so haughty as a curse or some contrived means to keep them humble.

    They are the kingmakers, the shadows behind the throne that moved among the mortal herds and either took advantage or cultivated them towards specific ends. They'd trump up a pliant prospect, and put things in their favour, good hunting, people listening to them, and set the world against those who stood in opposition. They're subtle, and indirect; their hand in affairs is almost never directly seen in part due to their bloodline weakness. When they compete, it’s not showy; it’s who can wreak the most damage upon the other with the most hidden of efforts, create the greatest ripples while being noticed the least. To the victor often goes the spoils when it’s a territorial conflict involving the living; while not readily enforced it’s fairly common for the losing Rattlesnake King to give up at least a portion of what they had in the form of human chattel.

    They commonly move through agents or activities attributable to other forces; game going thin or absent via judicious Animalism, forcing a group to move on, or being besieged as if cursed (creating societal taboos or claiming more sorcery than they had via intimidation); cultivated food being destroyed from vermin and similar tactics. Prominent members falling ill were also employed via their venomous Sorcery, poisoning them and offering a cure only they could provide. They would make people seeming as if possessed via evil spirits via Dominate commands, taking on the appearance of others for warnings or disseminating their agendas via Obfuscate. They’re rarely at the forefront; when they are, what they’re doing is likely something far grander in scale than most would readily realize than simple leadership and control. They’re never quite what they seem after all.

    In the end, they latch onto important family lines, villages and individuals; they did not have had the ease of mobility in pre-settler times like Gangrel of the region did, so with many of the more nomadic groups on the plains they’d have to move, or suffer common torpor cycles, setting up situations that the mortal stock could come to -them- at certain times. As a result, childer are often embraced to be custodes for the lean times; they establish cyclical dynasties not too unlike those of the Invictus in a more informal fashion, though the modern era and increased population densities have seen these fall somewhat more to the wayside.

    The Rattlesnake Kings normally refuse to be an Avus to ‘proper’ Ventrue derived of Old World lineages; most assume that the venom coursing in their undead bodies won’t properly find a home within them to begin with, even if they tried. The truth of the matter is that it can take root even in those newcomer Ventrue; the Rattlesnake Kings aren’t impossible to dupe regarding pedigree after all, but most vastly prefer to make their own childer rather than induct others; they’re not a trusting lot given their practices, and childer are much easier to control or otherwise monitor in most circumstances.

    They do occasionally take Ventrue who have proven to be from an New World line; when they do, a venomous snake, preferably a rattler is commonly employed to envenom the prospect, usually over the course of nights. This is normally quite painful; the hemotoxic nature of rattlers breaks down Vitae; it’s as much a test of stamina as it a will to power, and also serves to show the new inductee the painful nature of sacrifice necessary for great magics. It also serves as a light reminder of what they can expect if they cross their Avus. Such Ventrue are expected to show subtlety if not stealth; they rarely bother to spend the effort save in the most dire of circumstances on a more blatant and brash type that’s too obvious in it’s control; they rarely have the necessary desire to remain hidden and unseen that helps foster the development of Obfuscate. Obvious leaders, especially ones plying dark magics and growing fearsome reputations end up being turned upon eventually; the Rattlesnake Kings expect this to be the exception, not the rule. One can do much more as the kingmaker; kings come and go, but the one who makes them remains.

    Cursed villages and similar disreputable areas are a trait that comes naturally with their presence. They often made it difficult or dangerous for the people to leave an area until it was convenient for them. No few outsiders finding groups of people acting strange or doing unseemly things were due to the control of the Rattlesnake Kings, their sly venoms coursing along with hidden commands through the affected populace. They still do this in the modern era among more isolated towns and communities, on reservations if they can keep well hidden.

    In the larger cities where Kindred are more numerous and their presence more likely to be noticed by others of their ilk, they often pose as Lords; Ventrue, despite finding distaste in the assumption that they are as common as some foulness from across the ocean. Distant relatives, perhaps, but when able they prefer to distinguish themselves from the foreign blooded commoners they do with all pomp and circumstance they can. When not, they simply move among them and purvey whatever agendas they wish, clan be damned, acting more openly and freely with ample feeding stock and the modern glitz of cities even as they remain occulted and subtle among the mortals. They're by no means so proud that they won’t lie if it suits their purposes to be seen as the would be Lords from overseas.

    They still keep their venomous sorcery hidden; they know that some of the indigenous vampires also practice it outside of their ranks, but like much of the European Covenant’s assumption of the indigenous Kindred’s extinction, they prefer to keep it an unknown advantage, a legend at best to strike unseen and unnoticed. It is rarely taught to outsiders; they do not spread knowledge of it, though there is the rare Kindred they tutor once a strong level of trust (if not vinculum) is established, particularly if they’re one of the indigenous vampires seeking some edge against the newcomer lineages, something to remind them that they are still visitors regardless of how long they've’ve been squatting in their territories.

    They integrate, the venomous snake in the midst of the newcomers. In areas where they are more numerous with larger broods, they may strip away the mystery and pretense and move more overtly, at least among the Kindred when they are found out. Why hide then? Better to be feared, and that is when they generally become much more vicious, resuming their place like dark mystics of their history, rattling their figurative tails in warning should they be crossed. When they gather, they make no pretense of being harmless; whatever Covenant they throw their lot in others can expect to tread lightly around them lest they strike.

    Parent Clan: Ventrue

    Bloodline Disciplines: Animalism, Dominate, Obfuscate, Resilience with access to Piscipowin (A modified Merges Sorcery) as an Out-of-Clan.

    Bloodline Weakness: Ventrue Clan Bane of first Touchstone at Humanity 7; they're adept manipulators but also callous and prone to detachment from the mortal herds. In addition, Rattlesnake Kings find their powers of mental control and influence on others more tenuous without a tangible connection to the victim; Dominate, Obfuscate, Majesty and similar powers reliant on overt mental or emotional influencing suffer a penalty to their rolls equal to half their Blood Potency (rounding up) if the Rattlesnake King doesn’t possess an item of the victim; it could be  a lock of hair, blood, even a ring or a gift offered to the Rattler, creating a bond through the exchange.

    Nickname: Rattlers; The Poisoners of Words

      Current date/time is Fri Dec 15, 2017 4:56 am