This article originally appeared in Pyramid #14
In the Vampire: The Masquerade campaign I run, the players like to visit new places, meet new people and suck their blood. As a result, I have had to try to give each area they visit its own unique flavor. You may have faced similar problems. If you're not careful, everything can start to look like Chicago By Night. Been there. Done that.
One way to handle the situation is to create new, minor bloodlines, specific to the area your players are visiting. Because the bloodlines are minor and confined to a specific area, they won't mess up the main Sabbat/Camarilla conflict. Similarly, the powers of the new minor bloodline should be challenging but need not be impossibly powerful. Monty Hall doesn't play Vampire. I hope.
One such bloodline I have created is the Cruaigh. The players I run for decided that they wanted to take their characters to the British Isles. Considering the history of the area, I thought that the original Celtic inhabitants, and particularly the druids, were very atmospheric. On a trip to England during this time, before the recent peace initiative, the headlines were filled with stories of IRA bomb scares. The result was the Cruaigh. They are presented in standard format along with some story ideas to introduce them to your players. Have fun.
The CruaighThe Cruaigh bloodline is ancient but of obscure origin. In Celtic Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Britain and Britanny, the Cruaigh have long been associated with the more bloody practices of the druids. Individual Cruaigh have led druidic sects, been worshipped or merely propitiated for their ability to control the weather. However, as the native Celtic peoples of these lands have become assimilated and lost touch with their heritage, the Cruaigh have ceased to flourish.
Now found mainly in Ireland and the wilder parts of the Scottish Highlands, the Cruaigh seem a dying bloodline. Possessed of a strong sense of their Celtic roots, few of this bloodline will be encountered outside these areas. However, some few have been encountered in New England, particularly Boston, and Chicago cities with large Irish communities. There are no known Cruaigh of lower than fifth generation.
While few in number, the reputation of the Cruaigh is legendary. Able to control the weather, particularly winds, a single member of this bloodline can devastate large areas. Individually, they are strong opponents, seemingly able to turn the elements against their adversaries. However, these Kindred are extremely reclusive, with a temperament ill suited to the modern, post-industrial era. Older members of this line have been know to induce torpor, out of a sense of hopelessness and alienation.
Younger Cruaigh, seeking to merge their past and present, are known to be involved with New Age Paganism and hard-line Irish terrorist organizations. These groups provide the chief source of Cruaigh neonates. More than most Kindred, the Cruaigh seem to need human adulation. Not surprisingly, the Camarilla see this psychological quirk as a potential threat to the Masquerade. Relations between Cruaigh and the Camarilla are cool at best. The Sabbat have no such problems and the Cruaigh affinity for terrorism is welcomed. Despite this, few Cruaigh chose to belong to the Sabbat. Most go their own way.
Nickname: Storm Crows
Appearance: Cruaigh are remarkably similar in general appearance. They tend to have reddish or jet black hair and green or violet eyes. Well built, their pale skin has the pearly luster of fine marble. Cruaigh are usually quite attractive, with a wild, untamed beauty. They favor black, green and earth tones.
Haven: If given a choice, Cruaigh prefer to maintain their havens in classic barrows. They will also dwell in arboretums or parks. In the United States, these Kindred seem to find domed sports facilities quite to their liking.
Background: The future of this bloodline is uncertain. Their ties to nature make them ill at ease in urban environments. However, younger Cruaigh, while acknowledging their heritage, have begun to rebel against what they see as their Sire's nostalgia for times long past. To these quasi-anarchs, the future is now. Action must be taken if the bloodline and its traditions are to survive. Self-induced torpor is an abdication of authority. By their actions, the elders of the bloodline have demonstrated that they can no longer lead. It is up to the young.
These neonates are being drawn from the ranks of Irish terrorists and New Age Pagans. The mix is explosive Kindred with something to believe in and the willingness to fight for it, by any means necessary. Attempts by elders of the bloodline to reassert their traditional authority have been met with scorn or violence. Diablerie is on the rise. What role these upstarts from a dying bloodline will play in the Jyhad remains to be seen.
Character Creation: Most Cruaigh are of Celtic extraction. In their mortal lives, most were people of action, who found spiritual comfort in the natural world. After their Embrace, these traits serve them well. Any Attributes may be primary. Talents are usually the primary Abilities.
Disciplines: Gwacuivaire, Presence, Thaumaturgy
Weaknesses: The Cruaigh are closely tied to the natural world and are uncomfortable in urban environments. In such settings, they lose a point of willpower for the duration of their stay. Cruaigh are also used to being worshipped or treated with deference. They respond poorly if not treated with respect.
Organization: Cruaigh are reclusive but do not avoid others of their bloodline. While they have no set organization, generally, younger members of the bloodline are expected to defer to older members. Age, not generation, grants authority. This gerontocracy is being challenged by younger Cruaigh, embraced in the late 20th century. Consequently, the bloodline is in turmoil and organized groups of Cruaigh are likely to all be of a similar age.
Quote: "Your ancestors came to me and offered up their blood. On your knees!"
StereotypesCamarilla: They fear that we endanger their precious Masquerade and persecute us for that. They don't understand. The Romans persecuted us and after them the English, to no avail. We live in harmony with the Kine, giving them something in which to believe in exchange for their blood. They should be so fortunate.
"These fools play at being godlings and risk everything in their vainglory. They are a minor bloodline and a major nuisance. The sooner they die out the better." Jonathan Worthington Smythe, Ventrue elder of Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Sabbat: They do us honor but for their own ends, trying to drag us into their fight. They are useful pawns.
"The old ones are useless, better they face the final death. But the young, full of anger and rebellion, with them we may make common cause." Giles Montcrief, Sabbat scout.
Inconnu: Here are Kindred worthy of our respect. They know something about the true nature of things but are too passive. So long as respect is mutual they may go their own way in peace.
"Frightened animals. They live by their instincts and are betrayed by them, lashing out in desperation. If only they could be made to see beyond themselves." Kalaigh, Monitor of Dublin.
GwacuivaireThe control of the wind and secondarily, the weather is the essence of this Discipline. The Discipline reflects the stormy nature of its practitioners.
Level OneWhispering Wind: With this power, a Cruaigh can speak to a subject within a ten mile radius. If the subject is a Cruaigh, he will recognize the form of communication instantly, though not the sender. All others will hear only the wind, the message seeming to appear in their mind unbidden and without source, unless they are familiar with this power.
System: There is no cost to activate this power. However, for each blood point spent the effective radius is increased by an additional ten miles.
Level TwoIll Wind: This zephyr causes an unreasoning dread to grip all in its path.
System: The vampire must make a successful Willpower roll (difficulty equal to the target's Courage) for each target to be affected. Those affected will flee immediately, moving away from the vampire at their full rate of movement for a number turns equal to the number of successes rolled.
Level ThreeRaise the Wind: With this power, the vampire causes the wind to begin to blow violently within a half-mile radius. The vampire can control the force and direction of the wind at will. Objects can be hurled by the wind and opponents pushed away.
System: This power costs one blood point to activate. Objects equal in weight to the vampire's lifting capacity may be hurled/uprooted/tipped-over. Availability of such objects will depend on the environment. Those attempting to overcome the force of the wind must make a successful Strength + Potence roll (difficulty equal to the Strength + Potence of the vampire using Raise the Wind, 10 maximum). Blood points may be spent by either party to increase Strength as per the Second Edition Feats of Strength rules.
Level FourSummon the Storm: This power summons a violent storm appropriate to the climate. The vampire can control the duration of the storm and the amount of precipitation. The storm covers an area 50 miles in diameter. The vampire cannot direct any winds or lightning associated with the storm.
Systems: One blood point must be expended to Summon the Storm. An additional blood point must be spent every other hour to maintain the storm.
Level FiveCall Lightning: This power can only be used under overcast skies. In such conditions, the vampire can call down a lightning bolt, channeling it through her body to strike any target.
Systems: One blood point, per bolt of lightning called down, must be spent, whether or not the lightning hits the desired target. A successful Stamina + Fortitude roll must be made to hit the desired target (difficulty equal to the target's Perception). Each success reduces the target's Health by one level. Damage is aggravated.
Level SixRide the Whirlwind: The vampire summons a great wind capable of bearing her aloft. If the wind is strong enough others may be borne aloft as well.
Systems: This power costs one blood point to activate and an additional blood point every hour the whirlwind is maintained. Speed traveled is 60 miles per hour. If another blood point is spent, speed may be increased to 120 miles per hour. Speed is not effected by the number of persons borne aloft.
For every individual, other than the vampire using Ride the Whirlwind, an additional blood point must be spent. Individuals other than the vampire using this power may contribute to the blood point cost. Any individuals carried aloft may be dropped while the whirlwind is maintained only if physically carried aloft by the vampire.
Level SevenHail Storm: This power causes hail to fall from the sky, even a clear sky. The vampire using this power can determine the diameter of the storm, from 100 yards to one mile. Similarly, the size of the hail is determined by the vampire and can range from pea-sized hail to hail the size of baseballs. While extremely destructive, the duration of the hail storm is brief, lasting from one to six turns at the vampire's will.
Systems: The damage caused by the hail affects everything in the area of effect. Pea-sized hail does no damage and costs nothing to create. Golfball-sized hail reduces health by one level if someone is exposed to it for more than one turn and costs one blood point to create. Property damage from golfball-sized hail is moderate. Baseball-sized hail reduces health by two levels for every turn someone is exposed to it and costs two blood points to create. Property damage from baseball-sized hail is heavy.
Level EightRain of Fire: An almost legendary power, and extremely rare, this power causes fiery debris to fall from the sky, even a clear sky, in an area up to a mile in diameter. Everything touched by the debris catches fire. A Rain of Fire lasts only two turns.
Systems: Rain of Fire costs three blood points to activate. A successful Willpower roll must also be made (difficulty equals the vampires Humanity score). Everything in the area of effect catches fire, excluding the vampire using the power, unless protected. Damage from this power is aggravated and equals one health level for every success rolled.
Story IdeasThe Lone Cruaigh: Cruaigh can make unusual and interesting opponents in a story. Their powers are formidable and their habits give them both personality and an achilles heel. Their threat to the Masquerade is a perfect Story hook.
Conversely, the Cruaigh make interesting and difficult allies. Their temperament is prickly but if treated with respect and made to see that they share a community of interest with other Kindred, they can be worthy friends. Trying to get a Cruaigh, newly arrived in your city, to present herself to the Prince can be a hilarious and dangerous introduction to this bloodline.
Generational Strife: The struggle between younger Cruaigh and their sires is custom made to generate stories. This struggle is in its own way as savage as the Jyhad or the Anarch Revolt. Intrigue and plotting are always present when Cruaigh of different ages are in close proximity to each other. On one hand, younger Cruaigh may seek their elders' blood. More frightening, a mad Cruaigh sire, before inducing torpor, may decide to destroy all of his progeny and their neonates as well.
The Emerald Isle: The Story of the Cruaigh can best be told in what remains of their homeland. Here the generational strife is the worst. Here too are the Fianna tribe of werewolves, mages from the Dreamspeaker and Verbena traditions, castles haunted by the spirits of the dead, and, of course, Fairies. The interrelationships between each of these groups and the Cruaigh can make Stories worth telling.
The Cruaigh and the Fianna are adversaries by nature but allies by inclination. Both groups revere nature and seek to preserve it. Both groups also have respect for the cultural heritage of Ireland. If they can overcome their distrust of one another, they could be great allies. Of course, the Black Spiral Dancers would be fools to allow this to happen.
Much the same can be said of the Dreamspeakers and Verbena. They can appreciate the natural order and they oppose the Technocracy. To the Cruaigh aware of their existence, the Technocracy is an abomination that threatens the wilderness the Cruaigh prefer. If they can discover their mutual concerns, another strong partnership could be forged between the Cruaigh and these mages. It is unlikely the Technocracy would allow this to happen.
Unlikely to ever ally with the Cruaigh are the Fairies. Sworn enemies, their fight is to the death. Generational strife is put aside, a least for the moment, when Fairies are the enemy. Some of the more thoughtful young Cruaigh have speculated that the Fairies may be part of the reason elder Cruaigh go insane, seduced by Fairie visions. The truth of this is elusive, as is the role, if any, the spirits of the dead play in the fate of the Emerald Isle.
Article publication date: August 1, 1995
Copyright © 1995 by Steve Jackson Games. All rights reserved. Pyramid subscribers are permitted to read this article online, or download it and print out a single hardcopy for personal use. Copying this text to any other online system or BBS, or making more than one hardcopy, is strictly prohibited. So please don't. And if you encounter copies of this article elsewhere on the web, please report it to firstname.lastname@example.org.