Are there any canonical examples of a mortal being embraced with a vampire's heart's blood, containing their sire's soul?

Someone has a vampire's heart's blood magically preserved, perhaps in a debitum created by an Assamite. They drain a mortal of all of her blood, then feed that mortal the heart's blood.

Granted that this is an unusual scenario that's fully up to the storyteller's discretion, are there any by-the-books reasons to believe that any of these is what should happen?

Possible Outcomes

  • The mortal's embrace proceeds normally, as if they were embraced with normal vitae. The sire's soul is no longer magically preserved in the heart's blood and passes on into the afterlife.
  • The mortal is embraced and then immediately diablerizes her sire, resulting in inheriting his generation and possibly other benefits.
  • The mortal is embraced and then effectively diablerized by her sire, whose soul overpowers her own due to his stronger will (because at that moment, it's a mere mortal struggling against a vampire). The sire is effectively resurrected in his childe's body.

1 Answer 1


None of the underlying mechanics are defined, particularly possession-by-diablerie

The books don't really even bother to define what happens during diablerie, only the mechanical process for committing it. They offer no guidance whatsoever on how a vampire might overwhelm a would-be diablerist, or how the diablerist might overwhelm their victim. The relevant rules section reads

A few rumors speak of diablerists displaying certain mannerisms of their late victims, particularly if the victims were of great psychic fortitude (Willpower 10) and of much stronger Blood than their murderers. If this is true, and the soul of a particularly mighty undead can manifest in the body of its killer, the implications are frightening, particularly in light of the Jyhad. (V20 Core Rulebook, page 295)

That's it! Though in contrast to many vagaries in V:tM, we at least have canonical examples of the possession happening narratively. So there is no information on how or when vampires overwhelm each other during a diablerie attempt, or even when such a contest does or does not happen, let alone what might happen during a specific type of diablerie instance.

There is no information on when possession-by-diablerie definitely does or does not occur, nor in how the process plays out in cases where it does occur.

I'm not sure it is necessarily any of those options. Each might be possible under different conditions, though a normal Embrace seems most in line with published information

My basic reasoning is this:

  • It is possible to drink from a vampire, even to Final Death, without attempting diablerie at all
  • Diablerie is intentional and requires considerable effort at the moment it is attempted
  • The opportunity for a would-be victim of diablerie to possess their attacker is itself a product of the struggle diablerie entails
  • Humans (and, I believe, all non-vampires) cannot be diablerized, nor can they engage in diablerie

The first and second points suggest that your first possibility is most likely: the single drop of blood (or whatever volume is used) fuels the Embrace, after which the vitae is the new vampire's own blood and no longer a target for diablerie. You may or may not have a case in which there is a large enough volume of blood comprising the debitum to fuel the embrace and then have some left over for diablerie.

Diablerie is not something which a vampire can engage in by accident (as far as I'm aware, if there are instances of incidental diablerie I would appreciate a comment with a citation!). I don't see a point at which the deceased mortal can be "drinking" the Debitum as a vampire, and initiate the struggle to win or lose.

The third and fourth points suggest that, per officially published mechanics and plot events, the vampire from whom the Debitum was created won't have the opportunity to overwhelm the mortal and take over their body (at least via diablerie). You can't just create a diablerie event, with yourself as the victim, as a result of being at the cusp of Final Death. Other methods of enduring death certainly exist (cf. Tremere and Goratrix), but not via diablerie.

You don't get a grace period to attempt the act, either. If you drink all of a vampire's blood and send them to their Final Death, they die. Their blood is yours, but not their soul, and it's too late to get the soul from the blood-- the blood is yours now, and the soul is either gone or not accessible via diablerie any more.

Finally, mortals can't initiate diablerie, or (I believe) participate in it at all. So while a vampire's soul might still exist in a Debitum, the mortal is still a mortal and can't be diablerized. When the mortal has been Embraced and is a valid target for diablerie, the act of drinking is over and the chance for diablerie has passed.

Antediluvians are weird and shatter the rules

Antediluvians fundamentally break all story rules. They are consistently described as being powerful beyond imagining, and the books frequently indicate that they break rules which otherwise have no known exceptions. This makes comparisons to published information hard, as most of the instances of diablerie which don't follow the standard mechanics from the core rulebook involve Antediluvian victims. We can't really tell if diablerie could just work that way, generally, or if it's the Antediluvians' amazing powers and superhuman capacities that transcend what are inescapable rules for everyone else.

I recall only one instance at all similar to this in the published books

And it's kind of the reverse situation. I'm having trouble finding the specific reference (I will update once I've had time to dig through my collection), but I believe that in one of the Giovanni clanbooks there is some discussion of Augustus Giovanni's diablerie of Cappadocius being incomplete due to a small amount of the latter's blood being preserved in the True Vessel. This already breaks the rules we know, because Augustus did gain a great deal of power from the act even though it was, apparently, incomplete. Augustus has also (reportedly) been desperate to obtain the True Vessel and complete his task.

These do suggest that vitae can be stored externally and possibly longer than the vampire it came from survives, does (or can) have a portion of the soul of that vampire in it, and that that portion of the soul can be used as part of committing diablerie.

But too much is unclear to give good guidance in any general case. Is that legend true at all, in-game? Is it related to Antediluvians' game-breaking qualities? Is it related to Cappadocius' knowledge of and relationship with death and the afterlife, with or without Mortis? Is it because Augustus already mostly diablerized Cappadocius? Who knows?

  • \$\begingroup\$ You're getting hung up on a narrow "physical attack" interpretation of "diablerie" that isn't relevant to this question. The question is only referring to the books' general concept of "drinking of the heart's blood" (which doesn't require any particular effort if that blood is in an inanimate vessel) and "consumption of a soul". The "mortal effectively diablerizes her sire" suggestion means "the mortal, upon becoming a vampire, also consumes the soul of her sire". Perhaps that would have been clearer if the word "childe" was used instead of "mortal". \$\endgroup\$ Mar 1, 2021 at 17:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think "the single drop of blood comprising the Debitum" is a misinterpretation of its description. While a vampire is being drained, the last drop of normal vitae is burned in order to create the debitum instead of leaving the body. The content of the debitum is an unknown quantity of "heart's blood", so it's difficult to speak about quantities and the effects thereof. Also, mortals do not need to be embraced with an entire blood point, and some source material is explicit about the expectation that it's less than one point. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 1, 2021 at 17:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ @PhantomWatson I don't have any books handy at the moment-- is what you're saying that it is the case with a Debitum that drinking one provides automatic success in diablerie? Or does the typical "struggle of wills" still play out? If not, all of the points I raised would seem to still apply. But Dark Ages is not my strongest V:tM area, it's certainly possible that I'm blanking out on some relevant examples. \$\endgroup\$
    – Upper_Case
    Mar 1, 2021 at 17:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ The "can't just create a diablerie event" argument seems to forget that that's the exact purpose of preserving heart's blood and drinking it. With a debitum specifically, the drinker automatically consumes the victim's soul and immediately gains all of the usual benefits of diablerie. Your answer also seems to have the assumption that a diablerie attempt gives the victim an opportunity to roll to instead diablerize their attacker, which is not in this edition's mechanics. The overtaking of the attacker's soul is a rumored possibility that might happen if the victim was much more powerful. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 1, 2021 at 17:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ @PhantomWatson The quantity of blood is irrelevant, unless having 1+ points is part of your argument for what should happen. But that doesn't matter; if you don't find that line of argumentation convincing, then you don't. If your position is that there are no mechanics for the struggle and outcome of diablerie, and so no guidance for what should happen in this aspect of diablerie anyways, then the answer to your question is simply "no, there is no reason to prefer one of these outcomes". Which is a valid answer in itself, of course. \$\endgroup\$
    – Upper_Case
    Mar 1, 2021 at 17:46

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