The Beast and Frenzy

The Beast and Frenzy
Every vampire has, in the back of their head, a ravening, inhuman monster – the Beast. The Beast is often described as the fight-or-flight instinct given power and form, and under certain circumstances it will attempt to take control from the conscious mind of the vampire. There are three main types of frenzy (anger, hunger, and fear), most commonly provoked by being wounded, sensing blood when low on Vitae, and encountering fire (respectively).

While the provocations and reactions are narratively different, the core mechanics are essentially the same: after the provocation, the character makes a reflexive Resolve + Composure roll (with any situational modifiers set by the ST, as required). As long as they make at least one success, they fight off the Frenzy for the moment, and may act normally for the turn. However, until they have rolled a total of at least 3 successes, they must keep reflexively rolling on each of their turns until they either fail a roll (entering Frenzy) or accumulate enough successes to keep control.

Rolls to resist Frenzy are always a failure on a roll of 1 on the die, regardless of pool. No vampire is completely immune to the Beast, no matter how strong-willed.

A vampire who is hungry (4 blood or less) takes a -1 to all anger and hunger frenzy tests, while a vampire who is starving (1 blood or less) instead takes a -2. Only hungry or starving vampires are subject to hunger frenzy tests.

While frenzying, a vampire does gain several advantages: they take no wound penalties (fighting until the frenzy ends or they’re beaten into Torpor), opponents attempting to use social or mental Disciplines that do not explicitly target vampires in Frenzy take a -2 to their pools, the vampire in Frenzy gets a +2 to any rolls to resist or throw off any such effects, and they also get a +1 to all pools based off of physical attributes (Strength, Dexterity, and Stamina).

Anger frenzy is a berserker state, the Beast trying to destroy or kill whatever (or, most often, whoever) provoked it. The character will ignore everything else barring active interference, and with the Beast in control will not care about collateral damage or those that the character normally cares for. If your character’s best friend gets between them and their Beast’s target, they’ll happily tear them limb from limb to get through. At ST discretion, you may receive a roll to come out of frenzy once your target is fallen or escaped.

Hunger frenzy (also known as “Wassail”) is similar to anger frenzy, except the vampire’s Beast’s priority is to feed on the nearest source of blood. Again, interference will be met with violence, possibly changing the target of your character’s thirst to whatever got in the way. Hunger frenzies are only provoked by blood your character is normally capable of feeding on – a Blood Potency 4 vampire will not require a test at the smell or taste of animal blood, because they no longer get any Vitae from ingesting it. Your character will generally come out of Frenzy once they have adequately fed, and might receive a roll to calm down if all sources of blood leave their perception (again, at ST discretion).

Fear frenzy (“Rötschreck”) is quite different from the other two – instead of fixating on a target, the Beast fixates on escape. Again, it ignores anything that doesn’t interfere or make itself a threat, and it happily leaves your character’s loved ones to burn (or fights its way through them to escape). Your character will generally come out of frenzy several minutes after escaping from sensory range of anything that could have triggered it (usually only fire and sunlight).

There is one special circumstance for entering frenzy, known as Riding the Wave. If a vampire wants to enter a partially controlled frenzy, they may spend a willpower and roll to control themselves, requiring a total of five successes (Resolve + Composure, as normal). Any failed rolls result in an uncontrolled anger frenzy.

If they gain five successes before failing a roll, the character then goes into a partially controlled frenzy – while they don’t have full control of their actions, they select the initial target(s) and can end the frenzy when they wish.

Once you have attempted to Ride the Wave in a night (successful or not), you take a cumulative -1 to successive attempts (-1 to the second, -2 to the third, etc).

The Beast and Frenzy

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