The Ones You Fear

Something dead approaches. You shouldn’t even know that it’s there. But you do! Imagine them all lurking, the sad monsters. Just hanging around unseen. Trying to feel like part of the surrounding humanity. They sit in cafes. They go to movies. They ride in cabs next to people on their way to the airport. Pretend they’re having conversations with the warm folk. Yet, their curse weeps like a cyst. People get the creeps. They don’t know why. You wake up with a horrid taste in your throat, thinking you swallowed a statistical spider. You don’t see the thing hanging above your face, drooling with longing. Oh, you would quiver to know what it would take to make a sad monster glad.

All vampires should be feared, but the Nosferatu control fear. They might look horrifying, or they might look like anyone else, but there’s something about them. Something of the grave, something of the deep places that writhe with too many eyes and limbs and fingers that are not fingers, something just…wrong.

They’re the street artist whose face resembles one of their own charcoal caricatures. They’re impressario of an underground cinema club in the vaults underground. They the urban legend of the bleeding woman who appears if you write her name on the bathroom stall nine times.

You don’t get a choice in the face of the Nosferatu. You can’t be brave. Your fear isn’t yours; it’s his, and he can mold it as he wishes. You will quake. You will cower. You will run. And you can’t do a damn thing about it. Terror, real terror, is not sweaty palms, pounding hearts, and screams — these are incidental. Terror is the stripping away of every construct of ego and society, all the things we like to think about ourselves. The Haunts have the power to tear that curtain down and force you to look at what’s hiding there. And nobody, but nobody, likes what they see.

IS it really better to be feared than loved? Maybe, but Machiavelli was presuming the prince had a choice. The Nosferatu don’t have that choice. They’ll always be outsiders among outsiders; and even if they can wield that as a weapon, it’s a weapon that can cut back. Isolation is their lot, and isolation feeds the Beast.

Nosferatu are:

  • Often ugly
  • Uncomfortable to be around
  • Self-reliant
  • Masters of fear
  • Shadows on the periphery

Nosferatu are not:

  • All disfigured
  • Always unpleasant people
  • Unwilling to accept help
  • Immune to terror
  • Sewer-dwelling information merchants

Clan Disciplines: Nightmare, Obfuscate, Vigor

(Text on this page taken from Vampire: the Requiem 2nd edition.)