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If I roll up a human or kinfolk in Old World of Darkness and I am embraced by a vampire, what happens? Where are the rules to convert a human to a vampire?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ When you say Kinfolk, do you mean in the Werewolf the Apocalypse kinfolk sense? \$\endgroup\$ – RevenantBacon Apr 9 at 13:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ When I wrote my answer I had assumed that you were interested in the mechanical process of converting a mortal's character sheet into a vampire's. If you're interested in the lore of how an Embrace happens, I can add that information as well. \$\endgroup\$ – Upper_Case Apr 9 at 16:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ @RevenantBacon Yes, Thank you! \$\endgroup\$ – CrimRei Apr 9 at 21:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Upper_Case Yes, I was looking for the mechanical. RAW. \$\endgroup\$ – CrimRei Apr 9 at 21:04
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You mostly gain extra dots to "catch up" to a newly-rolled vampire character's Attributes, Abilities, and Disciplines, but without the full flexibility of the process of creating a new character.

Kinfolk:

I'm not clear on how supernatural kinfolk themselves necessarily are, save for potentially passing on lycanthropy to their offspring. The question itself distinguishes between them and ordinary humans, implying that they aren't standard-kit mortal humans. Typically in oWoD supernatural qualities don't mix very neatly, so if your setting and game treats kinfolk themselves as ordinary humans then they should respond to the Embrace in that same, ordinary human mode. This obviously excludes kinfolk that are wolves, as animals cannot be Embraced.

The degree of "supernatural-ness" may vary by individual. WtA is not my specialty, but as I understand it kinfolk do not have the spiritual component to truly be werewolves themselves, but may have some limited access to Gnosis or Gifts. Such access may or may not indicate someone who is sufficiently "werewolf-like" to suffer complications from the Embrace.

So, for kinfolk, the Embrace may or may not be fatal. Well, the Embrace is always fatal, but Garou almost never rise again as vampires (the Curse of Caine doesn't mix well with other supernatural natures, be it werewolf, mage, changeling, mummy, promethean, demon, or anything else). I'm not aware of any rules which define this enough to draw any brightlines, so it's up to the Storyteller if they can experience a human-type Embrace or a Garou-type Embrace.

There are very rare cases in which the Embrace is successful with a Garou, and the resulting werewolf-vampire creature is referred to as an Abomination. Few of these exist in the game's lore, but those that do are extremely powerful and dangerous. They are also usually consumed with a death wish due to their self-loathing, but that's heavily story-dependent. The best reference I found for this is from Under a Blood Red Moon, Appendix Three: The Abominations.

A Garou who undergoes the Embrace of a vampire will most likely die. [...]

When a vampire Embraces a Garou, the Garou must make a Gnosis roll (difficulty 9). If it succeeds, it dies a quick and painless death. If it fails, it suffers a slow and painful death. [...]

Only Garou who botch their Gnosis rolls become Abominations. (Under a Blood Red Moon, page 94)

There are mechanics in that same book describing what happens mechanically, should a Garou "survive" the Embrace, but reproducing those rules here goes well beyond the normal excerpt practice for this stack.


Humans:

This depends a bit on how the Embrace fits into your game. From what's written in the question, it seems as though you are specifically not creating a vampire character at the outset (and so the "normal" character creation process for VtM doesn't apply).

The case covered in the V20 Core Rulebook (page 500) is for ghouls, rather than ordinary mortals, but the process should be essentially the same:

  • The character gets additional dots to put into Attributes and Abilities sufficient to make them equivalent to characters who start as vampires (see V20 Core Rulebook, page 80 for a summary).

    Presumably these should track with the category priorities for Attributes and Abilities (7/5/3 for Attributes, and 13/9/5 for Abilities), and should also observe the restriction on Abilities that none be raised above 3 in this process. This is not clearly expressed in the rules that I can find, but the "raise them to the starting values for vampires" suggests that your Embrace shouldn't give you special advantages in this particular aspect.

    Your Storyteller may impose restrictions on where you can put those dots (being Embraced wouldn't suddenly give you a college education you didn't have before, so they might restrict you from putting your dots in Academics, for example). This is an Embrace, not character creation.

  • You get dots to put into Disciplines, just like a character starting as a vampire would get (see V20 Core Rulebook, page 80 for a summary).

    You get three dots to invest into Disciplines. These Disciplines must be in-clan-- this is a direct product of your character's Embrace, not a freebie point free-for-all. If your character was a ghoul that has learned other Disciplines, you get to keep those in addition to your three new dots.

  • You gain access to a few elements on a vampire's character sheet that may not have been on your mortal character sheet.

    If your character wasn't a ghoul, they'll get new access to a Blood Pool. Starting Blood Pool is determined by a single d10 roll, though that is easily modified by specific, in-game circumstances.

    If your Storyteller uses the Bearing mechanic, you'll fill in the Bearing section underneath your Humanity/Path rating.

  • Certain Merits and Flaws may change, depending on specific circumstances.

    Some Merits and Flaws don't make sense on a vampire, or at least become inert. Similarly, your Storyteller may assign new Merits or Flaws based around your Embrace. Examples include New Kid, Infamous Sire, or Prestigious Sire which might now apply to you. This is 100% up to your Storyteller-- you don't get to choose them, and you don't get any new freebie points with which to buy them.

  • You gain the ability to soak lethal damage in addition to bashing damage.

    This doesn't show up on the character sheet directly, but will change how you mark off damage.

  • Nothing else changes, at least not as a mechanical result of being Embraced.

    Your Virtues and Backgrounds don't change, nor your ratings in them, nor your Willpower pools (temporary and permanent). You are the person you were before, you just now have some additional features.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Kinfolk die? Does it say that in a book somewhere? Kinfolk are basically human to my understanding. \$\endgroup\$ – CrimRei Apr 9 at 19:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ @CrimRei Definitely not "basically human" in the general case, at minimum because kinfolk can be wolves as easily as they can be humans. I've expanded that section a bit in the answer to explain some of the mechanical issues that the Storyteller will have to consider with kinfolk and the Embrace. The dividing line will be if they're more supernatural than mundane-- "basically human" isn't enough. Mages are even more human than kinfolk, but you definitely cannot be a vampire and use human mage-style magic. \$\endgroup\$ – Upper_Case Apr 9 at 20:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ @CrimRei I'm not sure how such a thing could be done RAW (and certainly the Tremere never managed it, despite a lot of effort), but the Embrace itself shatters the avatar the human had previously, automatically foreclosing their previous supernatural abilities. That's what I was referring to-- in oWoD, it's extremely rare to be two supernatural entities at once. The relevant case in question, as stated above, is if kinfolk are supernatural enough for the Embrace to function differently than it would for a typical human. The Embrace breaks a lot of stuff. \$\endgroup\$ – Upper_Case Apr 9 at 20:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ @CrimRei For which portion? Embrace shattering an Avatar? Tremere being unable to work mortal magics? Or for rules existing in running an oWoD game? I can provide citations for the first two, certainly. In any case, it might be a different enough issue to warrant a new question. \$\endgroup\$ – Upper_Case Apr 9 at 21:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ @CrimRei The Garou embrace citation is in the answer, as is a discussion of kinfolk. Avatars and Embrace: Vampire Storyteller's Handbook (Revised), page 140. Animals cannot be embraced: harder than I'd thought to cite, wiki is clear on no, no wording in books suggesting it's possible, but there is a 1e example of embraced cobras, so maybe. The fact that powers like 10-dot ones exist and are explicitly "storyteller devices" which can do anything doesn't mean that rules don't exist. If you want to re-rule something at your table, do it. If you want to use a 10-dot power to overcome rules, do it. \$\endgroup\$ – Upper_Case Apr 9 at 22:16

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