ANother World of Darkness - Alpha Network
“Never in my house.. Ye abide by m’rules ya see…”
Quote: “What a silly thing to say, my love. Of course you can’t live without me.”
Nickname: Succubi (male Daeva are sometimes called Incubi, but the clan itself is referred to by the more common female sobriquet)
Favored Attributes: Dexterity or Manipulation
Clan Disciplines: CELERITY, MAJESTY, VIGOR
Other Kindred envy their beauty and grace, their ability to incite passion in mortals, the ease with which they glide through the masses — and that envy is almost as potent a draught to the Daeva as blood itself. These Kindred are consummate predators, and they would seem to be the perfect vampires. Alas, most are too dead inside to enjoy it.
Called Succubi by other clans, the Daeva are experts at making their prey come to them, practically offering themselves not merely as food but as playthings. No self-respecting Daeva resorts to attacking transients in alleyways. Rather, these are the Kindred who accompany a smitten young mortal back to her place, leaving her languid and sexually spent by morning (if she’s fortunate) or an exsanguinated husk (if she’s not). Seducers and sensualists, the Daeva could practically charm the unease off a Nosferatu. When the fancy strikes them, they play politics like a finely tuned instrument. Even allies and coconspirators who know they cannot trust a Succubus find themselves lulled into doing just that, caught up in the Daeva’s personal magnetism. Daeva become Haes more than Kindred of any other clan, and they wield that power mercilessly. A stinging rebuke from a Daeva Ha can shred a vampire’s reputation faster than a denunciation by the Prince himself.
Most Succubi are overtly sensual beings, drawn by beauty and blood in equal measure, but it’s an artificial passion. Their ability to feel true attachment to other people atrophies over years of manipulating the love of mortals and the respect of their fellow Kindred, until the Daeva can no longer understand those emotions as anything other than tools to be exploited and motions to imitate. For all their apparent fervor, most Succubi are as dead spiritually as they are physically. They claim to understand desire, but all they truly know is need, and it is this deadening of emotions that causes so many jaded Daeva to become depraved in their efforts to feel again.
Daeva move through the circles of society in which their lustful natures best serve them, whether among high society or low culture. Drawn to beauty and congregations of mortals, they often frequent theaters, galleries, trendy clubs, whiskey dives, drug dens, brothels and everything in between. Personal preferences aside, the Succubi are found through all strata of society. Their seductive natures allow these vampires to find willing vessels no matter where they go, and this ability has enabled them to thrive, to become arguably one of the most numerous clans. No single social class has room for them all, so newcomers and losers of political and social games often find themselves dwelling among the poor and unwashed — or at least the middle classes, which, since their blood is as red as any other, means basically the same thing to most Succubi. Few Kindred are as desperate as a Daeva trying to claw his way into his own niche. Wise Kindred know better than to take advantage of a Daeva in such a position, for fear he’ll one night achieve the position and privilege he seeks. The Succubi never forget a slight.
The majority of these Kindred are found within the Invictus. They are well suited to the political game, and here they can surround themselves with lessers, becoming ever more jaded and inhuman as they grow older. Most Daeva are too self-centered to feel the religious calling of the Lancea Sanctum, but those few exceptions who are able to channel their sensual drive into matters of faith often obtain positions of prominence, making the clan seem more numerous in the Lancea Sanctum than it really is. Few Daeva bother with the Carthians. Why fight for an egalitarian society when the current system favors the Daeva? The Ordo Dracul covenant is home to a small number of devoted Daeva, and it would have more if the rigors of the covenant’s policies didn’t make being a hedonist among its ranks less than rewarding. The Circle of the Crone has few Daeva for much the same reasons as the Lancea Sanctum, and those who do join often do so more out of a debased and jaded sense of rebellion against societal mores than any real belief in the Pagans’ teachings. A suising number of Succubi fall in among the unaligned, convinced, in their own self-perceived superiority, that they have no need for the laws and restrictions of society.
Daeva often Embrace out of infatuation — or at least going through the motions of passion — and they rarely choose to involve themselves with unattractive mortals. Thus, most Daeva are sussingly beautiful. The clan is also highly in tune with trends and fashion, the better to prowl among and attract prey.
Daeva havens vary, but they’re almost universally comforting… in a subtly alarming way that suggests an artificial appeal to whatever vessels a Kindred favors. Most are convenient to social or political centers. The specific aesthetics vary, but most are intended to impress any compatriots, allies, or victims who might be invited in. Penthouses and condominiums are particularly popular. Many Daeva don’t bother to keep up appearances if they don’t think they’ll bring prey home, meaning that some havens are sloppy or cluttered with unsettling reminders of previous vessels’ presence.
With a growing number of exceptions, Daeva are Embraced from the ranks of society’s elite. Succubus sires look for some combination of charm, culture, seductiveness, desire to achieve, passion and physical beauty. Many Daeva Embrace mortals to whom they have become attached, but this attachment almost invariably proves false, a mixture of lust and simple hunger. Few relationships are as euphoric as those between a Daeva and a newly Embraced childe, and few grow cold as swiftly.
Social Attributes and Skills are of primary concern, particularly those that aid in making good first impressions, in persuading and in seducing. Social Merits are equally common, representing the character’s connections to both mortal and Kindred society. Given that most Daeva feed almost exclusively through manipulation and betrayal, a high starting Humanity score is a good idea, since it’s likely to fall precipitously.
Perhaps out of some deep longing for the true passions they lost after the Embrace, the Daeva have difficulty steeling themselves against the hedonism they allow themselves as members of the Damned. Any time a Daeva has an opportunity to indulge her Vice but does not do so, she loses two points of Willpower (as opposed to gaining one by partaking in its pleasures).
Status among the Daeva is entirely a social issue, and many young ones resemble squabbling cliques more so than undying creatures of the night. Not even elder Daeva are strangers to petty vendettas and long-nursed grudges. While a Succubus is likely to join with one of her own in the face of an outside threat, they compete with one another as much as they do with other Kindred, if not more so. The Daeva therefore have no true formal structure. Those who are dominant in the Danse Macabre’s social and political scene are dominant among the clan as well.
Bored socialite, club hopper, club owner, cult leader, cultured serial killer, full-time Ha, jaded vampire who gets off on being a creature of the night (a fairly melodramatic attitude found only among the very young before the weight of the Requiem fully settles on them), Kindred politico, local covenant spokesman, patron of the arts, professional “escort”.
Stereotypes Of Others
Gangrel They are beasts, to be sure, but their animal bodies contain a terrible ferocity.
Mekhet They confine themselves to the shadows, but out of comfort or fear?
Nosferatu They wear on the outside what all Kindred are within.
Ventrue Which is the greater curse to bear, weakness of mind or the responsibilities of keeping one’s fellows?
Lupines No thank you. The Gangrel are quite feral enough.
Mages The idea of a mortal with that sort of power is… fascinating. Surely they wouldn’t mind conversing for just a bit.
Mortals Such simple creatures. I’m grateful not be one any longer. Still… I do wish I could remember just a bit more clearly what it felt like.
Quote: “I’m the siren, and I’m the jagged rocks too. Crash into me.”
Favored Attributes: Dexterity or Manipulation
Clan Disciplines: CELERITY, MAJESTY, VIGOR
Something dead approaches. It isn’t dangerous because it’s strong — and it’s ungodly strong. It isn’t dangerous because it’s fast — and, oh Christ, it’s fast! It’s dangerous because the prey see something beautiful in it. The prey want to be devoured. These dead things sway, as fascinating as bioluminescence in the endless dark. They are the smoking mirror. They are the glowing orb at the end of a stalk, dangling over a great, glass-fanged mouth.
The Daeva are all allure and objectification. They embody the social horror of vampirism more elementally than any other clan, because they exploit mortal hungers to feed their immortal ones. They are exploitation. They do not hide so much as clothe themselves in the images we’ve constructed — of beauty and charm. They co-opt all the things we want to be and want to fuck.
The Sents arose from the sticky musk of the ancient world. River tides teased the gaping valleys to frothing fertility. The elder nights throbbed with temple music. Priests and priestesses practiced their love arts for coin — communion of the cunt and the cock. There was no difference between god and demon or sex and worship. In that space between, the Daeva curse gestated. They reveled in that time and place where deities cared enough to do horrible things to you directly. But the world turned. The capital “G” God changed the paradigm. When they could no longer be gods, the Daeva became succubi and incubi. The world turned again. Tonight, when it is no longer practical to be a demon, the Daeva become zeitgeists. They are the walking dead personifications of the future bias. “I’ll resist tomorrow.”
See the prom queen. A teenage White Lady. She floats from prom to prom, a resplendent urban myth in the adolescent court. At the end of the night, she chooses one lucky king or co-queen. She could be an allegory of the dangers and anxieties of budding teenage sexuality — if she bothered with such abstracts. Her dress is soaked in Scotchgard.
See the Byronic poet. He perches at the edges of open mic nights and writer workshops. He’s a whirl of burnt coffee smells, half-smirks, and raggedy charm. He always knows the right thing to say, the right critique or input that melts all your creative blocks. When he says you have potential, all the doubting voices die. You’re an artist! But insecurity creeps back in whenever he’s away. You dread disappointing him.
See the social media specter. It swims in the nutrient rich waters of personal ads and dating sites. It can detect a drop of despair across vast distances, from screen to screen. It wears usernames like masks. Having grown bored of bombarding the living with supernatural influence, it now plucks those strings with words from afar. It always types what they need. It gives good text. Meet-ups inevitably occur, and who is there to notice if another Internet profile goes dormant?
See the pantheon. How did you get into the VIP room? Everything’s surreal. Dizzy. Nostalgia tickles like a phantom limb. All these vaguely familiar faces. Not people. Archetypes. Visages from magazine ads, pinups, and billboards going back a century. When did the music stop? The Marlboro Man, the American Dreamgirl, Rosie the Riveter, and all the rest stare at you, motionless and eternal.
Let the other clans skulk and lope. The Daeva strut through their damnation. They’ve danced down the centuries as both Madonna and Babylon whore. The thing we want is the thing we shun. They are the perfect predators. They are paragons. If only it didn’t get harder and harder to enjoy. Stimulus fills the hole, but also erodes it wider. Yet the Sents will never stop striving. They know that if you’re not the one doing, then you’re the one being done. The Daeva are never done.
Why You Want To Be Us: You move wicked quick. You look great doing it. You get to go to all the best parties, whether that means being a charismatic cult leader, a rock star, or motherfucking Bruce Wayne. You have the power of everyone who ever turned you down in life. You roll human frailties and smoke them like cloves. You don’t even have to take, because everyone’s giving. But you can still take if you want to. Just knowing you can pull someone apart with your bare hands is all the rush one needs. Usually.
Why You Should Fear Us: The Sents offer the thing you want, but their real evil is that they actually give it to you. Had a rough breakup, need to cry on somebody’s shoulder? A Daeva will offer you hers. Desperately want to nail that guy with the long hair? He’ll sleep with you, don’t worry. All she wants in exchange is her teeth on your neck. The Daeva control one of the keystones of human misery: Wanting, and the hollow curse of getting what we once wanted.
Why We Should Fear Ourselves: Like people who hunt sex to the deliberate exclusion of love, the Daeva are ultimately broken by their single-mindedness. They pursue things that make them feel alive (blood, sex, food they have to puke up later) at the expense of the things that give living people meaning and stable happiness. Gods should not envy the worshippers.
- Inanna, goddess of war, murdered her handmaiden, Lilith — who was called Stranger and Scorned and Sent of Eden. Then Inanna knew regret. She ransomed Lilith back from the owls of the underworld. Yet there are those who say the trade was a trick. In their Plutonian slumber, the progeny of Lilith can hear the screech-owls keen: “We are owed. We are coming.”
- The Dancing Plague swept through Europe for centuries. The documentation is most complete: official reports and affidavits from surgeons, priests, and magistrates. The contagion spread on unknown vectors. One dancer soon became tens and hundreds. They danced for days, until collapsing in ecstasy. Some danced until their ribs broke. Some danced until they died from heart failure or stroke. Throughout, they screamed, laughed, or cried. Some sang. Witnesses claimed they “wore strange, colorful attire” and “held wooden sticks.” Some paraded naked, made obscene gestures, and even committed sexual intercourse in the streets. Some became agitated by those who refused to dance. They reacted violently to the color red and pointed shoes. Some claimed they had been stung, and the dancing separated the venom from the blood. The clergy exorcised. Physicians bled patients. Mass hysteria? Ergot poisoning? One village claimed as many as 50 fatalities, but they had not counted the bodies that kept dancing after death. They did not hear the feverish beat tapping from shallow graves. There is a woman in a monastery outside of Strasbourg. The color red excites her so. She has been dancing since 1518.
- Once upon a midnight darkly, a snowy-skinned princess, the fairest in the land, awoke with a wet scream. Her stepmother cut out and ate her heart. But the princess rose again on the following eve, just as her descendants rise every night. Always, they are consumed by the need to fill the aching void in their chests — hungrily ever after.
How To Make A Monster
Whatever the Daeva pursue, they pursue with a prodigious lust. That pursuit is often social, but can be physical or intellectual just as easily. Regardless, it will require an audience. A Sent need not be overtly social, but he will need eyes to frame his fearful symmetry. The aloof, puzzle-solving genius, who hungers for riddles, will need that genius recognized. The Daeva thrive in the crush of humanity. They are not so graceful in a vacuum. Their damnation requires a feedback loop, more so than the other clans, as a general thing.
As with Attributes, so too with Skills. Take a care when selecting Skill Specialities, as one of these touches of brilliance is likely the thing that attracted your character’s sire. The back-story of that relationship can easily blossom from that one trait. Social Skills are rarely the tertiary category, as Daeva keep in practice in dealing with the kine. They rarely lose the Man to the Beast through isolation. They are the vampires most likely to cultivate Empathy. However, they have a tendency to pick up the worst habits of humanity. More so than other Kindred, they understand the subtle nuances of the pain their social predation causes. That’s just another road to the Beast.
Ask how much your character will rely on Majesty. If he’s going to do it heavily, then you’ll want Presence and Manipulation, as well as Empathy. Celerity requires no specific Attribute or Skill choices, but effects like Vigor’s jumping ability benefit from Strength.
Many Daeva affect striking appearances, the better to attract the eye. These birds of Hermes glory in their peacock splendor. Unlike most other dead predators, they function best when seen. Yet through their command of Majesty, a Daeva can make any look work — plain clothes become glamorous — weatherworn garb becomes grungy and hip. Some Daeva stop worrying about their appearances, and somehow that not caring makes them even more attractive. Some go so far as to pusefully challenge themselves with clashing bits of clothing hastily snatched from the thrift store, amping their supernatural auras, and becoming beacons of incongruous Tyler Durden cool. Regardless of dress, a practiced eye might be able to identify a Daeva by the way she moves. They are always moving. Even the most clumsy mortal might awaken to sinuous grace as a Sent.
The Wanton Curse: You taste the romance in all things, but none so much as blood. Mortals are not just food. They are your obsession, and that fixation grows with every sip. Drink more than once, from any mortal, and you risk becoming emotionally dependent on your prey.
In The Covenants
Carthian Movement: The Daeva are the mouths of the Revolution. Their tongues turn ethos into contagion, stoke mobs into wildfire. The Sents are the recruiters of the Revolution. The Firebrands of other clans know that you need at least one Daeva around. The feeding is good for the Sents among the Carthians, as they swallow blood and fervor in equal measure. And the feeding for everyone else is better when they’re around. And when violence must carry the politics of change, who else is so terrifyingly fast and bone-crunchingly strong?
Circle Of The Crone: Some of the most important voices in the Crone’s choir belong to the Sents. It is the wise hierophant who keeps them close. The Daeva’s presence makes rituals grander, the spirituality more real, the air of a wild hunt more tangible. It’s easier to believe. They are the maenads who inspire orgiastic revel. They put the romance back into sparagmos. Who better to lead by example in the ecstatic emulation of the perfect vampire?
Invictus: The Daeva function well in the middle of a web. They know just how to pluck the strands. They know all the right vibrations. Their grandeur adds an air of legitimacy to the polite rituals and courtly behavior of the First Estate, making it all a better misdirection for the blackmail and backstabbing behind the velvet curtains. Who are the masters of the tyrannous emotions that control us all? Who looks more fetching in a crown?
Lancea Et Sanctum: The immortal passions of the Daeva can bend into religious ecstasy of a frightful intensity. Their sermons wash over the laity like a tidal wave. They have perched for so long on both the right and the left shoulders of humanity. Who, in motion, are more like angels or succubi? Who knows the exact point where divinity and perversion bisect? Who knows the sinners so intimately? Who better to tempt the mortals than the Sents?
Ordo Dracul: The Order is an ill fit for many Daeva. Yet those who get a taste for it become hooked, like mortals addicted to cosmetic surgery. The pain and danger and transcendence. More! Always more. These Sents want to shed their skins and see what holy blasphemies may come. They are the charismatic gurus who underground fighting rings materialize around. They are the cult leaders who can convince their followers to do unspeakable things for knowledge. Who so envies the humans, yet clutches her own immorality? Who would do anything to have it both ways?
Stereotypes Of Others
Gangrel It’s so precious, how relentlessly they chase the prey. Must be exhausting.
Mekhet They call us shallow. We call them concave.
Nosferatu All in all, and I have to think that strumming love is more cruel than tickling fear.
Ventrue Give them a series of puerile achievements to attain, and they’ll actually think they’re winning.