Anopheles (The Vampires)
"I am part of the deadliest of immortals, cultivated by ancient creatures as a weapon of war. Murder runs through my veins. You see my charm and beauty and think I am nothing more than vain. Little do you realize that these traits won me many a victim in battles past. My kind are vampires, exploiters of weakness and masters of the sensual pleasure. We break down the walls of inhibition and gain control by granting freedom. We appear obsessed with the pleasures of the flesh, but is that not a better preoccupation than killing every living thing in our sight? Beware if you think we waste the experiences we undergo. You may one day feel our stroke."
Anopheles favor sanctuaries where life congregates in a clash of sensual pleasures, such as dance clubs, bordellos,and circus side shows. Often, they enjoy the solitude of ancient castles spread throughout their undesputed Easter European holdings.
The Anopheles maintain their primary stronghold on K2, the second highest mountain in the world located in the Karakorum mountain range east of the Himalayas. The craggy, snow covered peak is carved into a breathtaking gothic citadel, inside and out and surrounded by an array of lesser peaks that makes viewing it from any inhabited area below impossible. The citadel surveys the mountain range from over 28,000 feet and lies under a mantle to hide its intricately hewn spires from humanity.
Around the world the Anopheles hold majority power in liberal cities infamous for their sensual pursuits such as Amsterdam, Bangkok, Rio De Janeiro, Paris, San Francisco, Provincetown, Las Vegas and New Orleans. To a lesser extent they hold sway throughout southeastern Europe and Africa where they contend with the Terat for dominance.
Anopheles temporal power comes from interference and control of human vices such as prostitution, drugs, pornography, and slavery. Prostitution rings and escort services, among other illicit organizations, provide them a means of recruiting mortals to their quiet cultures and as a means of rewarding loyal followers consumed with pleasures of the flesh. They also hold a great deal of power in gambling, wrangling with the Eremites for control of Las Vegas and other gambling cities.
Anopheles do cultivate power in legitimate concerns such as the cosmetic and fashion industries. Many models owe their careers to impressing an Anopheles patron with their looks; some have had their looks enhanced as reward for services to the Pride. Anopheles almost single-handedly set the trend of cutting edge human fashions, controlling major fashion magazines that appeal to the youth of the world. They playfully attempt to usurp the movie and music industry from the Amaranth and the Phoenix.
The most ancient Anopheles were made from the ancient stock of gigantic bat-like creatures from prehistoric times. Others appear as giant exotic cats such as leopards, tigers, panthers and lions. Another whole division of the Pride is composed of reptile forms (especially giant snakes) left after the extinction of most of the dinosaurs. Still another class springs from rats and wolves, forms which inspire the myths of the vampire. Because of their great physical magnetism, even these animal forms are surrounded with a perverse aura of erotic sensuality humans find difficult to resist, much to the shock of other Prides. Like all immortals, the eyes of these forms are luminous.
In human form, Anopheles are magnetic, even if they do not appear physically attractive by human standards. Humans in their presence will always consider them alluring to the extreme. Whether beautiful or ugly, all Anopheles strive to appear exotic, mixing human racial traits that do not normally occur, a mark of their vanity that they must be unique. Common to their human forms are extremely large and multicolored colored eyes, fingernails of exotic textures or materials, such as glass, steel or dark ivory.
Anopheles attire is always risqué in one form or another. They make an art of revealing the body within clothing, something they consider much more alluring than simple nudity. They often wear anatomically detailed armor accentuated by almost transparent cloth.
Male: About 40% Female: About 60%
Preferred Life-force From:
Anopheles prefer to draw immaculum from the blood of their targets, which has perpetuated vampire legends about them.
The Anopheles are vampires. They revere blood as a sacred substance that symbolizes the quintessence of life and Light. Blood is so sacrosanct, in fact, that Anopheles who make an oath upon spilled blood are forever obliged to uphold it, whether willing or not.
Anopheles are also sensualists. They want to experience every possible physical sensation and accumulate these experiences within them. Their reasons for this is key to their plans for the upcoming final war with the Beast.
The first objective of these gathered experiences is to form a shield against the wiles of the Sanguinary. Having mastered pleasure, pain, fear and temptation, the Anopheles will free themselves from distractions and have no hesitation when turning their blood-lust against the Beast. By riding out all obsessions, the Anopheles become immune to them.
Having observed the despair that arises in immortals who endure the same experiences over and over, Anopheles are acutely aware of ennuis ability to paralyze the soul. They have watched their own ancient members succumb to this waking death and have determined to harness it as a weapon against the Sanguinary itself. By accumulating all experiences, both physical and mental, they hope to deliver a stroke to the Beast which will force it into a state of ennui, a torpor that will render it vulnerable.
System Note: The Master Stroke
The most ancient Anopheles (particularly the Cadra Raga and any surviving Vampyr) understand a method of merging all their avatars into a single consciousness. Once this is accomplished, the avatar can unleash the arsenal of its own experiences against the enemy in the final battle.
Although this Master Stroke is taught to all Anopheles uplifted into the Pride, it is taught as a group of experiences which, taken separately, will certainly seem meaningless or inexplicable. As a whole, these random experiences unlock the ability to deliver the stroke. Thus, an Anopheles will always find himself in situations or tests created by his mysterious superiors which subconsciously constructs this esoteric weapon.
Until the final battle, none of these instructed Anopheles (including your own character) will understand how to use the Master Stroke. It will be activated by instincts and other signals from the Cadra Raga. However, its weaker components can be used by an Anopheles as a weapon or tool against others with potent effects.
When an Anopheles touches another being, she can make him experience anything she has personally experienced, either physically or emotionally. This empathic ability never causes real damage, but it will seem quite real to the target of the touch. If the target does not resist this touch, he is burdened by the experience. See Anopheles Carnal s, below, for an detailed explanation of this ability.
The Anopheles that emerged from their prison in Sheol had shared their blood among one another, transmitting the vast experiences of the collective race to each member. Anopheles now seek to add to this arsenal. They constantly search for and cultivate relationships that may reveal a new experience they have never had. Unfortunately, this occurs most often with humans with Religarum, the power of faith. It is the epiphany of the superstitious that reveals the secrets of the universe, and a danger the Anopheles must carefully ply lest it warp and destroy them. While immortals of other Prides who understand this goal consider it a mad undertaking, they acknowledge the bravery of the Anopheles to enlighten themselves through experience all that is possible.
Anopheles are most fascinated with insanity of all sorts, particularly psychosis of all kinds. Within madness, they believe, lie unique experiences that can increase their arsenal. They will generally appear to and cultivate relationships with mortals with violent or profound mental illnesses.
Legacies: Anopheles gain the first rank of the following legacies at no cost:Aart, Animas, Masque
Serenades: Anopheles gain the first rank of any three of the following serenades at no cost. All other serenades on this list are at a complexity rank of 4 for Anopheles characters.Adagio, Ahimsa, Breath, Bubastis, Dare, Domino, Gorgon, Haspis, Ichor, Impulse, Manifesto, Metaphor, Mystique, Zodiac.
Anopheles Secret Serenades: Élan and Rhapsody. See Serenades, the First Book of Powers, pages 102-103.
Anopheles can, when touching a person, deliver into them any sensation (physical and emotional) they have personally endured. Whether the experience is pleasant or negative, the recipient of the stroke is not adversely harmed, but suffers a -1 per 3 FI of the Anopheles on any attack roll for 1 clash. This ability is only usable on the same target once per episode. If the victims FI is higher than the FI of the Anopheles, the stroke has no effect. There is no roll.
Any mortal who willingly deep kisses an Anopheles is at a -1 resistance for every 3 FI of the Anopheles to any mind-control serenades, interrogation and seduction. It is resisted by the FI of the target in the same manner as the stroke.
When an Anopheles tastes the blood of a person, images form in her head that will tell her something about the target. The results of this ability are inconsistent. Sometimes the taste reveals a secret obsession, sometimes only a triviality. The narrator makes the decision on what images form and may use this as a vehicle for advancement of plot or role-play. Anyone who drinks the blood of an Anopheles gains this ability if the Anopheles willingly transmits it. It is often used as a reward for faithful service.
When an Anopheles places a drop of her blood on a mortal or object, she marks it as her own. Any other Anopheles who sees the aura of the marked individual or object will clearly see the brand and understand it is the property or domain of the Anopheles who branded it. Involving oneself with the branded property of another Anopheles always leads to ritual vendetta. If a human or animal marked with a blood brand dies, the Anopheles instantly senses it.
Blood Oath: Any vow an Anopheles makes to another person, sworn on his own drawn blood, becomes absolutely binding. If he attempts to break the vow, he accumulates 1 ennui.
The following are taboos which, selected for your character, grants you +5 starting memory motes per rank instead of the normal +3.
Sunlight causes damage to the Anopheles according to the severity of the taboo rank, as follows:
Anopheles cannot be in a room or area with the smell of garlic or roses without becoming ill. (variable rank, depending on severity of illness.)
Anopheles must drink blood as food. (variable rank, depending on how much blood is required to sustain the immortal. See chart below.
Wooden or holy weapons gain additional damage, +1 per rank of the taboo against the Anopheles.
Anopheles cannot enter a domicile unless invited by its owner (only allied to private residences, not public places), or holy ground. (rank 4)
Anopheles is repelled by certain holy or mystic objects and cannot physically touch them. (Rank 3)
Anopheles cannot rest without touching the earth of his homeland while sleeping, accumulating a fatigue hostile, corresponding to the rank of the taboo until he does so. .(Rank 3)
During the daylight hours, the Anopheles cannot remain awake, nor can be awakened by any means from his sleep until the sun sets. (rank 5)
Anopheles casts no reflection in a mirror. (Rank 2)
Amaranth: "Intriguing creatures, but they put too much faith in humanity. They know such secrets, it would be worth much to gather from them and share our combined power. If only we could settle our mutual differences. We will remain friendly to them as long as they do not seek our doom."
Arachne: "Cold, calculating and obsessed with conclusion, yet they too gather information and experience and we can respect that. Unfortunately, they are afraid of emotions and use fear too often to get what they want. Let their brilliance draw us into their plots. We will only come out victorious from what we have learned while they contemplate the stroke we will deliver them. They are mad, and thus, always worthy of notice."
Banjax: "The Banjax do not understand freedom. They think it merely a respite from tyranny. Tyranny comes and goes. True freedom is permission given to yourself to do and be everything you wish. The Anopheles know this well. It is our gift and bribe to human kind. At least the Banjax believe in self-determination and a strong self-identity. This is healthy, for those with their individual perspectives unlock secrets of the universe that others, following blindly after messiahs, miss They seek an experience beyond us---death. Perhaps one day this will bear fruit if they find a way to enforce it on the Beast."
Cur: "Anyone who can break the leash of the Eremites are our friends. Let them hunt among humans, for invariably they will lead us to individuals tortured with unknown and delicious madness. They are dowsers to the most dangerous weapons we seek."
Dracul: "Youthful upstarts who have outmaneuvered us and stolen much of our glory. We will always be their rivals. So why is it that we like them? Because they are appallingly honest and profoundly courageous without the need to lord over others, and thats a rarity among our old race."
Eremites: "These louts think they will separate us from humanity and elevate Man on a pedestal while we stand in his shadow. Eremites think they are the most evolved creatures on this planet, that it is their right to rule simply because of the shape they wear. If the God they seek does exist, his appearance might surely wash away this arrogance, for how can an omnipotent being appear as anything but all things? The Eremites were not even worthy slaves to us, and their arrogance must be assaulted at every opportunity."
Infernum: "We certainly understand the power and mystique of these wondrous creatures. We take every opportunity to learn more of them and join in their carnivals. They create riallas out of thin air, spreading a table of life-force to feast upon. We should pay attention to this magnificent skill."
Magdalen: "Stolid and obsessed with knowledge. They could be so much like us if they let go and experienced with their own bodies instead of absorbing knowledge and forming opinions. They call us whores while they stick their noses in books and try to understand the universe, as if humanity has the answers and is willing to write it down! We have some books for them to read that would open their eyes. "
Morrigan: "Their determination to subdue the Sanguinarys avatar on earth and learn its powers is admirable. We would do the same thing with the Sanguinary itself! But the Morrigans pathological arrogance and fear of the ground so limits the knowledge they could gain. Then again, perhaps in the skies there is something hidden that only they have access to. One has to wonder because a distaste of the ground is too foolish a mode of behavior to take seriously."
Nimrod: "Members of this Pride need to understand that by leaving humanity to its own only allows the enemy to put darker plans into motion. We must control them or the enemy will. These women are so obsessed with their Silence. Dont they understand the value of meeting the enemy before the fight?
Peri: "War-mongers trying to look like kiddies on the playground, you have to admire their style. Always listen to what they have to say. We respect them more than they know, but lets hope when the Sanguinary come out to play they know a game or two to keep themselves from being annihilated.
Phoenix: "We can almost call them brothers for their fiery spirit and their noble bearing. They are hunters, even as we. We were friendly to them when they were nothing, and now we have a strong ally because of it. Everyone fears they will burn it all down. Preposterous! The Phoenix seek to rejuvenate this world by destroying its parasites. Let them rid us of the old and the useless and let new experiences bloom in their place!."
Roane: "Mysterious and worthy of our attention. Of all the immortals, they have been our most worthy opponents and teachers."
Saturna: "Once members of our Pride, they have been spirits for too long and we no longer understand them. Precisely why we should do everything in our power to bring them back to us."
Shonelkidar: "Aliens even to us, they have much to teach those who believe they understand the totality of life. We boldly ally ourselves with them."
Tautha: "Mourners at their own funeral, seeking to atone for imaginary sins. Instead of seeking out the Sunedrion to protect them, they should concentrate on ways to help protect all of us during the last battle. At least they lack pretension, and their desire to revive the poisoned earth is commendable.
Terat: "Trustworthy and solid, despite what others may think of them. That they were slaves to the Beast is irrelevant---were not we all at some point in our history? These creatures are proof that you can be chained all alone in the darkness and still break out with sheer will. We listen to their counsel, but distrust their hatred for humanitys waking form."
Sanguinary: We owe the Sanguinary our existence, but it is too dangerous to serve. To tame the greatest power in the world, now that would be our master stroke!.
Silence: The Silence is a joke. If the Sanguinary could break free, it would. If it makes the fools of our society feel safe to preserve it, we will. . .for now.
Habitat: The world of humanity is a fascinating place. We revel in its diversity and revel in planting its forbidden fruits.
Dominions: A dangerous place perhaps, but the Abzulim buried alive by the Eremites are still there. We must return one day to rescue them from their tombs.
Crucible: It is a mystery, but it is a place for spirits alone. We forsake it because spirits are exiled from the pleasures of material life.
Morpheum: We explore this place with masterful hands and secrecy. How vulnerable the twilights are when they dream! How easy to unlock their secret needs.
Stratagem: Its enforcement must continue to prevent immortals from destroying one another. We understand the limitations of our own kind when it comes to the seductive whispers of war.
Profane: Those outside the Stratagem are inconsequential. When the rapture comes, the prides will all fight and if we dont die, we will share victory together. But we the Anopheles will always rule.
Ingenue: For the courage to live the intensity of a twilight life, we envy them. Their experiences are a treasure for us to gather. Still, they are pitifully naïve.
Conundrum: Their power is overestimated. We depend on our own ingenuity..
Sinning: Mortals want to give themselves to us for a taste of our mystery. Why should either side deny the other?
Himsati: There is a danger in the Himsati; we take that form only in greatest need. Still, its passion is profound and we enjoy it overmuch.
Humanity: They make us what we are, they give us our power. We drink their tears of happiness and the dew of their pleasure. They are the greatest students of lust.
The Anopheles were not the first slave race created by the Black Abzulim, but they were the first warrior race, designed as shock troups to stand against the army of the Primals that the Abzulim faced, and to hunt down the Sunedrion and aid the Abzulim in their destruction. The Anopheles have played prominent roles in most of the Immortal history, from the destruction of the Malice Shard to the war in South America with the Dark Lady (which caused the breakup of the Stratagem until 1667), to the stealing of the pieces of Darkle which inhabit the hands of the Cadre Raga.
The Anopheles were made by Samiel, the Abzulim of the Zamzummim Empire. He took the voxes of his slain Abzulim enemies and placed them into great leopards, serpents and great winged bats, creating the Anopheles as superb shock troops. This means, of course, that many Anopheles have Abzulim avatars.
The Cadra Raga (Red Cadre) are unique to the Society as being multiple Paragons. While most immortals consider the Anopheles to have an unstable hierarchy, it seems to work quite well for them There is actually a lot of in-fighting betweent these sisters, which suits the Anopheles just fine. Only the best should lead them.
In order for an Anopheles to be fully uplifted into the Pride, he or she must pass tests, temptations of pleasure and pain, far beyond that which any normal twilight might endure. It is not necessarily that the Initiate resist these, but in just how he or she copes with them overall.
The Rukshasa, is another key point to the Anopheles. Having stayed with her "children", she spends much time manipulating events behind the scenes. What is the Rukshasa? The Rukshasha is one of the Transcendants from beyond the Crucible, that expelled the Sanguinary from that Universe. She was brought across by the Anopheles using ancient Abzulim rituals they learned, and given physical form when the Anopheles implanted a vox within her. She remained partially poisoned for some time, until members of Pride Phoenix, in secret, used a large chunk of Palladium to cure her. This knowledge she keeps from the Anopheles. In return for their services, the Phoenix were allowed to harbor the Saturna when they first were freed from the Leviathan a few years ago, which the Phoenix used to learn all they could about the Saturna's stay in the Blue Air with the other Transcendants. The Rukshasha is horrifying in her physical form, but compellingly beautiful in her gossamer form. She provides a milk called Colostrum, which is far more addictive and powerful than any twilight drug. She treats the Anopheles almost as if they were her children, manipulating things from behind the scenes.
One of the worst assumptions that most newer players and Narrators make about the Anopheles is that the Pride is all about sex and gratification. While many (especially young Anopheles) can become quite preoccupied with such, you'll find a great deal of the Pride that have interest in other self-fulfilling hobbies and endeavors, and many older Anopheles who deny themselves all feeling of either pleasure or pain, as they stretch their willpower to the limits.