The bailiwick of the Lasombra, the Obtenebration Discipline grants its users power over darkness. The precise nature of the "darkness" invoked is a matter of debate among the Keepers. Some believe it to be shadows, while others, perhaps more correctly, believe the power grants a Kindred control over the stuff of her soul, allowing her to coax it tangibly forth.
In any event, the effects of Obtenebration are terrifying, as waves of enveloping blackness roil out from the vampire, washing over their targets like an infernal tide. Blatant uses of this power are obvious breaches of the Masquerade - of course, as Obtenebration is proprietary to the Sabbat, any Camarilla neonate or ancilla caught using the Discipline had better have an impeccable explanation.
Note: Lasombra vampires can see through the darkness they control, though other Lasombra cannot. Dreadful tales of rival Keepers struggling to blind and smother each other with the same wisps of darkness circulate among young members of the clan, though no elders have come forth to substantiate these claims.
This power grants the vampire a limited control over shadows and other darkness. Though the vampire cannot truly “create” darkness, she can overlap and stretch existing shadows, creating patches of gloom. This power also allows Kindred to separate shadows from their casting bodies and even shape darkness into the shadows of things that are not truly there. Once a Kindred takes control of darkness or shadow, it gains a mystical tangibility while under the vampire’s manipulation. By varying accounts cold or hellishly hot and cloying, the darkness may be used to aggravate or even smother victims. Certain callous Lasombra claim to have choked mortals to death with their own shadows. System: This power requires no roll, but a blood point must be spent to activate it. Shadow Play lasts for one scene and requires no active concentration. Kindred cloaking themselves in shadow gain an extra dice in their Stealth dice pools and add one to the difficulties of ranged weapon attacks against them. Vampires who use the darkness to make them more terrifying add one dice to Intimidation dice pools. Opponents plagued by flapping shadows and strangling darkness subtract one die from Soak and Stamina dice pools. Mortals, ghouls and other air breathers reduced to zero Stamina in this manner begin to asphyxiate; Vampires lose all appropriate dice but are otherwise unaffected. Only one target or subject may be affected by this power at any given time, though some modicum of concealment is offered to a relatively motionless group. The unnatural appearance of this power proves extremely disconcerting to mortals and animals (and, at the Storyteller’s discretion, Kindred who have never seen it before). Whenever this power is invoked within a mortal’s vicinity, that individual must make a Courage roll (Diff
or suffer a one die penalty to all dice pools for the remainder of the scene, due to fear of the monstrous shadows.
**Shroud of Night
The vampire can create a cloud of inky blackness. The cloud completely obscures light and even sound to some extent. Those who have been trapped within it (and survived) describe the cloud as viscous and unnerving. This physical manifestation lends credence to the tales of those Lasombra who claim that the darkness is something other than mere shadow. The tenebrous cloud may even move, if the creating Kindred so wishes, though willing this requires total concentration. System: The player rolls Manipulation + Occult (Diff 7). Success on the roll generates darkness roughly 10 feet in diameter, though the amorphous cloud constantly shifts and undulates, sometimes even extending shadowy tendrils. Each additional success doubles the diameter of the cloud (though the vampire may voluntarily reduce the area she wishes to cover). The cloud may be invoked at a distance of up to 50 yards, though creating darkness outside the vampire’s line of sight adds two to the difficulty of the roll and requires a blood point’s expenditure. The tarry mass actually extinguishes light sources it engulfs (with the exception of fire), and muffles sounds to the point of indistinguishability. Those within the cloud lose all sense of sight and feel as though they’ve been immersed in pitch. Sound also warps and distorts within the cloud. Even those possessed of Heightened Senses or Eyes of the Beast suffer +2 difficulty penalties for most actions. Additionally, being surrounded by the Shroud of Night reduces Stamina based soak pools by two dice, as the murk smothers and agitates the victims (this effect is not cumulative with Shadow Play). More than one unfortunate mortal has “drowned” in darkness. Mortals and animals surrounded by the Shroud of Night must make Courage rolls as per Shadow Play, above, or panic and flee.
***Arms of the Abyss
Refining his control over darkness, the Kindred can create prehensile tentacles that emerge from patches of dim lighting. These tentacles may grasp, restrain and constrict foes. System: The player spends a blood point and makes a simple (never extended) Manipulation + Occult roll (Diff 7); each success enables the creation of a single tentacle. Each tentacle is six feet long and possesses Strength and Dexterity ratings equal to the invoking vampire’s Obtenebration Trait. If the vampire chooses, she may spend a blood point either to increase a single tentacle’s Strength or Dexterity by one or to extend its length by 6 feet. Each tentacle has four health levels (and is affected by fire and sunlight as a vampire) and soaks bashing and lethal damage using the vampire’s Stamina + Fortitude. Aggravated damage may not be soaked. Tentacles may constrict foes, inflicting Strength + lethal damage per turn. Breaking the grasp of a tentacle requires the victim to win a resisted Strength roll against the tentacle (Diff 6 for both). All tentacles need not emanate from the same source – so long as there are multiple patches of suitable darkness, there are sources for the Arms of the Abyss. Controlling the tentacles does not require complete concentration; if the Kindred is not incapacitated or in torpor, she may control tentacles while carrying out other actions.
The Lasombra calls upon his inner darkness and infuses himself with it, becoming a monstrous hybrid of matter and shadow. His body becomes mottled with spots of tenebrous shade, and wispy tentacles extrude from his torso and abdomen. Though still humanoid, the Lasombra takes on an almost demonic appearance, as the darkness within him bubbles to the surface. System: The player spends two blood points and makes a Manipulation + Courage roll (Diff 7). Failure indicates the vampire cannot undergo the Black Metamorphosis (though he spends the blood points nonetheless); a botch inflicts two unsoakable health levels of lethal damage on the vampire, as darkness ravages his undead body. While under the effects of the Black Metamorphosis, the vampire possesses four tentacles similar to those evoked via Arms of the Abyss (though their Strength and Dexterity ratings are equal to the vampire’s own Attributes). These tentacles, combined with the bands of darkness all over the Lasombra’s body, subtract two dice from the Stamina and soak dice pools of opponents physically touched in combat, for as long as the vampire remains in contact with the victim. The vampire may make an additional attack without penalty by using the tentacles (for a total of two attacks, not one additional attack per tentacle). Additionally, the vampire can sense his surroundings fully even in pitch darkness. The vampire’s head and extremities sometimes appear to fade away into nothingness, while at other times they seem swathed in otherworldly darkness. This, combined with the wriggling tentacles writhing from his body, creates an unsettling sight. Mortals, animals and other creatures not accustomed to this sort of display must make Courage rolls (Diff
or succumb to a panic that amounts to rotschreck (though it is inspired by darkness rather than fire). Many Lasombra cultivate this devilish aspect, and the Black Metamorphosis adds three dice to the invoking Kindred’s Intimidation dice pools.
At this level, the Kindred’s mastery of darkness is so extensive that she may physically become it. Upon activation of this power, the vampire becomes an inky, amoeboid patch of shadow. Vampires in this form are practically invulnerable and may slither through cracks and crevices. In addition, the shadow vampire gains the ability to see in utter darkness. System: The transformation costs three blood points and occurs over three turns. The vampire is immune to physical attack while in the tenebrous form (though she still takes aggravated damage from fire and sunlight), but may not herself physically attack. She may, however, envelop and ooze over others, affecting them in the same manner as a Shroud of Night, above, in addition to using mental Disciplines. Vampires in Tenebrous Form may even slither up walls and across ceilings or “drip” darkness upward – they have no mass and are thus unaffected by gravity. Rotschreck difficulties from fire and sunlight do increase by one for vampires in this form, as the light is even more painful to their shadowy bodies. Mortals and others not used to such displays who witness the vampire transform into unholy shadow require Courage rolls (Diff
in order not to suffer the debilitating terror describes under Black Metamorphosis.