World of Darkness - Alpha Network
The ancients called sleep the brother of death. This is even more true for Vampires than for mortals. Every day, the Kindred enter a sleep that mortal senses and science cannot distinguish from death. The Kindred experience it much as mortals experience sleep. The Kindred can also enter a deeper sleep, however, in which their souls come even closer to death. The Kindred call this state tor. A Vampire ’s daily sleep lasts a few hours, but tor can last for centuries.
Wounds sufficient to kill mortals send the Kindred into Torpor, instead. If a Vampire ’s right-most Health box is occupied by a lethal wound, she enters tor instead of dying. (Recall that sufficient bashing damage can convert to lethal damage, so a good beating with, say, baseball bats can send a Kindred into Torpor.)
The duration of this tor depends on the character’s Humanity and her Blood Potency. A high Blood Potency extends the tor’s duration; so does having a low SOUL. High-Soul Vampires spend much less time in tor than Kindred who have given most of themselves to the Beast.
To calculate the length of time a wounded Kindred spends in Tor, consult the following table. The character’s SOUL Score determines a base time spent in Tor. Multiply that span by the character’s Blood Potency to find the total duration of the slumber.
Zero-Soul Vampires form an important exception to this system. When they enter tor from wounding, they sleep for an even Millennium, regardless of their Blood Potency.
Soul Base Time Spent In Tor
10 One day
9 Two days
8 Three days
7 One week
6 Two weeks
5 One month
4 One year
3 One decade
2 Five decades
1 One century
0 One millennium
While in tor, a wounded Vampire can expend Vitae but can take no other action. His undead body still expends one Vitae per night as it tries to restore itself to its post-Embrace condition. The character can also expend Vitae to heal himself — a good idea, since otherwise the Vitae just trickles away without doing anything useful. Any damage that the vampire cannot heal remains on the character’s withered body until he can rise and feed again. If the Vampire lacks sufficient reserves of Vitae to heal at least three points of the damage (whether lethal or aggravated) that sent her to tor, that tor lasts longer than usual.
Calculate the Torpor’s duration as if the character’s Blood Potency were one higher than it actually is.
If the character succumbs to tor with no Vitae left and has lost all of her Health Points to lethal or aggravated damage, she awakens having recovered one Health Point as a result of the Tor, which she doesn’t have to pay for with Vitae. In effect, the character recovers this Health point for free, as a result of the stabilizing sleep of Torpor.
A Kindred who sleeps during the day and who has no Vitae but who is not truly in Torpor, fails to rise. All Vitae in him has been exhausted, so he has none to spend to rise the next night. For every night that passes under these circumstances, the character suffers a point of lethal damage in lieu of spending Vitae. In this state, the character is incapable of functioning at all, yet is not in tor. This is important because this vampire does not need exceptionally potent Vitae to be roused yet. At this point, any Vitae given to him allows him to rise as normal (fed only a few Vitae, the character probably rises in a hunger frenzy). Denied any Vitae from an outside source, a starving character continues to suffer one lethal Wound a night until he slips into tor.
The character sleeps in tor for a duration determined by the preceding chart: The base duration set by the character’s SOUL, multiplied by a number one higher than the character’s Blood Potency. At the Torpor’s end, the character awakens with only one Health Point restored.
Kindred can also enter tor deliberately. Sometimes unlife just gets to be too much and a Kindred decides to sleep in hopes that some of her problems will be solved by the time she wakes again. Elder Vampires also sometimes use tor to reduce their Blood Potency when feeding becomes too inconvenient.
Vampires seldom enter voluntary tor lightly. An extended tor usually requires abandoning all responsibilities in the Kindred world and all the influence so painstakingly built in the mortal world. A Kindred might hope that his childer remain reasonably loyal and greet him with respect when he rises again. He might also hope that his centuries of experience bring him honor among other Kindred and win him at least a minor title in his covenant and city’s undead community, but he cannot realistically hope to resume his old offices as if he’d never left.
Voluntary Torpor lasts at least as long as the base duration set by the character’s SOUL. At the end of that time, the Character wakes if his player makes a successful Roll. If the roll fails, the character remains in tor for another increment of time, and so on, until the number of increments equals the Blood Potency the character had when the Torpor began. At that point, he rises automatically.
After the first increment passes, the character can also try to wake up if something disturbs his body. The Character can recognize a disturbance if the player succeeds at a Roll (if that Discipline is possessed) at a -2 penalty. If trouble is recognized, a Humanity roll is made for the vampire to rouse himself. If the disturbance is at night, a successful roll means the character wakes completely. During the day, the character can stay awake for one turn per success rolled. An exceptional success allows the character stay awake for the rest of the scene. The player can also make extended Humanity rolls to prolong the character’s period of activity. The character achieves full wakefulness if the player accumulates five successes in the extended action, but the character falls asleep again if the player fails any of these rolls. (This is the same as the normal system for a character to wake up during the day, but under more challenging circumstances for rousing from voluntary tor rather than from normal sleep.)
Note that no Vitae is spent upon waking from tor, as it is upon waking from a day’s sleep.
Finally, a vampire enters tor when a wooden stake penetrates his heart. Only wood has this effect. Rods of metal, plastic or other substances can damage the vampire by piercing the heart, but only wood induces tor. Kindred mystics offer a number of religious and occult theories for why wood has this power. Most Kindred simply accept it as a fact of unlife. Driving a stake through a vampire’s heart is extraordinarily difficult.
The feat requires a melee or ranged attack with the stake. In combat, the attacker suffers a -4 dice penalty to strike so precisely. Then the attacker must inflict at least three points of lethal damage for the stake to actually thrust through the vampire’s body and into the heart. The staked vampire immediately collapses into tor, appearing stone dead for all that a mortal could tell.
A staked vampire remains in tor indefinitely. The Kindred awakens only when someone or something removes the stake from his heart. An unwary mortal might remove the stake from what looks like a mummified coe. A rat might gnaw at the stake enough to dislodge it, or termites might eat the stake away completely. Until something like this occurs, however, the vampire sleeps. Grim tales among the Kindred tell of vampires who work around Princely edicts forbidding murder and Humanity erosion by trapping their enemies with stakes through the heart and burying them in secure and secret crypts, there to sleep until the Day of Judgment.
During tor, a vampire’s body seems utterly inert. Over the decades, it slowly shrivels in on itself until it seems like a mummified coe. This happens more quickly if the character lacks the Vitae to heal all the damage he suffered when forced into tor. A vampire starved into tor looks withered already.
The vampire dreams slowly during tor. These dreams tend to reflect the Kindred’s state of mind when he entered tor. If he slumbered willingly, his dreams remain largely peaceful, if not particularly sensible. If the Kindred entered tor during a struggle (as is often the case), his dreams are full of wrath and terror. His mind can stay frozen on one thought or emotion for centuries. Kindred might awaken obsessed with Kindred or kine who became dust long ago.
Then there’s the culture shock. Most of the world has changed more in the last century than it did in the previous thousand. Kindred who awaken from centuries of tor often seem out of their minds, just because they are so out of touch with the modern world.
Decades or centuries of tod dreaming scramble a Kindred’s memory. Events from his past lose order. Fantasies and nightmares from dreams mix into real memories, so a vampire cannot tell which is which. Did he really hear two Primogen plotting against him — or was that just what he feared was happening? Did unbound Kindred really destroy his hated sire, or did he merely wish they had? Some Kindred write diaries and memoirs to refresh their memories in case they must endure a long tor, but no memoir can capture everything. Some Kindred also wonder if open or hidden rivals might have found their diaries and rewritten them as part of subtle schemes to manipulate them. Other Kindred rise from tor to find their memoirs gone, looted by savvy witch-hunters who used the notes to hunt down other Kindred — a Pyrrhic victory at best over one’s enemies, and a considerable risk to one’s progeny and allies. Such is the paranoia bred by the Danse Macabre.
No matter what causes tor, a vampire still loses one Vitae per day. Any Vitae the Kindred uses to heal wounds does so in the normal order. After tor of any length, therefore, a Kindred wakes up with no Vitae at all. Hunger frenzies are extremely likely after a vampire rises from tor. The Storyteller may call for a Composure + Resolve roll to resist frenzy the first time the character encounters any creature upon whom she can feed.
For every 25 years in tor, a Kindred’s Blood Potency drops by one dot, though never to less than 1. This decrease does not affect the length of tor, though. The total duration of the slumber depends on the character’s Blood Potency when tor begins, no matter how the trait changes during the long sleep.
Kindred can awaken early from tor if someone feeds them sufficiently potent blood. One must force at least two Vitae into the tod vampire’s mouth. If the blood comes from a Kindred with a Blood Potency at least two dots higher than the tod vampire’s current Blood Potency (taking into account time already spent in tor), the sleeping character awakens, no matter how much longer her tor would have lasted on its own. If the vampire is fed Vitae that isn’t potent enough, she remains in tor, and the taste of blood likely permeates her dreams. In either case, blood fed to a vampire to revive her counts toward a Vinculum over her as well as potentially creating blood addition.
Blood fed to a tod vampire that’s not potent enough to rouse her can still be useful to the slumbering Kindred. The Vitae can be spent reflexively to heal wounds. Any Vitae that isn’t spent to heal is exhausted at the normal rate of one for each night that follows.
Some Kindred believe that certain Theban Sorcery rituals can rouse a Kindred from tor — or force one into the long sleep. Rumor has it that the potent blood of Lupines can also bring a vampire out of tor early. As always, Storytellers must decide on the truth or falsehood of such legends.
Over time, through great injury, as result of feeding restrictions, or because of starvation, Kindred fall to the sleep of ages: tor. This cold, dead slumber equalizes the young and the old, thinning the blood with time and leaving elders to awaken fresh and new.
When one of the Kindred falls to tor, she appears dead. Her skin tightens over her flesh and dries out. Her joints harden, and the top layer of her tissue turns to a faint, ashen dust. During her slumber, she experiences strange, nonsensical dreams that keep her mind active and exercised. Usually, this means she’s prepared to adapt to a new world. Sometimes, this goes awry; she wakes up a whole new person, or, rarely, with distorted memories of her past existence.
At the end of a vampire’s turn, after any reflexive healing, if her last (rightmost) Health box is filled with lethal damage, she falls to tor. If she’s in daysleep, and has no blood with which to awaken, she instead drifts into the tor. As well, a vampire can voluntarily fall into tor, to shake off the feeding limitations imposed by her Blood Potency.
During the first day of tor, the vampire subconsciously spends as much Vitae as it takes to heal any wounds she may have. If, after spending all her Vitae, she still suffers a wound in her last three Health boxes, consider her SOUL one dot lower for determining how long she slumbers. For every twenty-five years a vampire remains in tor, she loses a dot of Blood Potency. Use the following chart to determine how long a character must remain in tor. Multiply the base duration (based on the vampire’s SOUL dots) by her Blood Potency. After that amount of time in tor, she can awaken. This isn’t always exact; it could be up to a quarter of the time shorter or longer. As well, any vampire with two more dots of Blood Potency than she has can feed her a point of Vitae to awaken her (with the normal risks of Blood Bonds and addiction). This can happen at any time.
Soul Base Tor Duration
8 – 9 Two nights
6 – 7 One week
5 One month
4 One year
3 Five years
2 10 years
1 50 years
0 100 years
Some rare Bloodlines are rumored to know deep secrets about the truths of Torpor. They claim to communicate with those in the throes of tor. They swear they can divine otherworldly knowledge of the realms of the dead from tor dreams. They suggest the Kindred soul wanders another plane with the specters of history, and comes back with hidden information. Of course, none of these claims have ever been confirmed. But some Kindred swear by the stories of these haruspices, and some rulers keep them as chief advisors.
When a wooden stake penetrates the Kindred heart, the Vampire immediately enters tor. Unlike normal tor, he awakens immediately upon the stake’s removal, but not before. To target the heart, make an attack roll with a -3 die penalty after factoring Defense. If the attack causes five points of damage, it penetrates the heart.