Vampires are undead, and their state results in a physiology and phychology that's distinctly different from that of mortals. Still, a vampire between mortals will generally not stand out a a vampire, if only because the average mortal believes their existence fiction, and does not know what to look for. It is this Masquerade - enforced by the Camarilla - that is their greatest protection against what might otherwise result in being hunted for the predators they are.
Still, vampires that move amongst mortals frequently, going as far to indulge in relationships with friends or mortal careers, may eventually cause some raised eyebrows. These vampires have the possibility to condition themselves - into acting as if their bodies would be breathing, living things. Masquerade is a skill that allows a vampire to act like a human; eat food, drink, have warm skin, et cetera. Please find a detailed description of the Masquerade-skill below.

Animal Reactions to Vampires

Animals however, cannot be fooled by mere acting. Mankind might be unaware of the evil in its midst, but the faithful dog will bristle, the horse will rear in fright, the birds will stop their song.
This is one piece of folklore that is absolutely true in regards to vampires, and sometimes their servants as well. Animals know you for what you are, no matter how "nice" a monster you may think of yourself as being. Herbivores will generally flee unless young are threatened, while carnivores may flee or attack, but in general they will make a spectacle of themselves and it will be somewhat obvious that you are the focus of their anxiety. The more Beast Traits your character has, the greater this reaction will be. There are only three exceptions to this:

  1. The animal is ghouled or blood bound. Such a creature is unnatural in of itself. If it has Beast Traits, other animals, even those of its own kind, will likely find it offensive.
  2. The vampire or ghoul possesses the Animalism discipline at any level. This will work automatically, except if the character is in frenzy, in which case it automatically fails.
  3. If the vampire or ghoul possesses the Animal Ken skill, they may +contest their Animal Ken rating against their number of Beast Traits - if they win or tie this contest, animals will find them inoffensive for the duration of a scene. Again, being in frenzy will negate this possibility.

The Skill of Masquerading

These are our definitions of what can be done at the various levels of this skill. Vampires without the requisite skill cannot do these things convincingly, although it is possible to spend a Willpower point, and where appropriate, a Blood Point, and move up one dot on the Masquerade ability for a single scene. There are also certain effects which require spending Blood Points (which are noted). Note that a number of vampires consider this skill to be somewhat distasteful, though it is no doubt useful for the Masquerade.
Also bear in mind that there are some effects which a vampiric body is simply unable to simulate. In these cases, the skilled masquerader will use other props such as make-up or cigarette smoke. The Masquerade skill covers those aspects of acting and medicine that are necessary to carry off the masquerade, but does not grant any reciprocal ability in either area (ie. you cannot use your acting skill to masquerade purely because they don't teach you how to pretend to be human in acting classes.. they don't need to. It's a different and very specialized skill).
While aura reading is still the simplest and surest way of spotting another vampire (for those with the Sight), it is possible to make a contest of Perception + Vampire Lore vs Manipulation + Masquerade to try and spot whether someone is merely masquerading as human.

Masquerade 1

The vampire can maintain a human body temperature in desired parts of the body by forcing vitae through her body - this requires the vampire to spend a Blood Point per scene and will typically cause the skin around the particular area to appear flushed. They can also simulate breathing in such a way as to not attract attention, though it is not an unconscious action at this level.

Masquerade 2

At this more advanced stage of control, the vampire can create a realistic pulse in specific areas of the body when required (i.e. wrist, throat, etc.). Body temperature can be maintained over all extremities without concentration, and for less effort (1 Blood Point per scene) and normal 'breathing' can be simulated without concentration. With thought and effort, breathing can be made faster/slower/deeper/shallower in a realistic manner.

Masquerade 3

At this rating, the vampire has sufficient control of her internal organs to be able to take in a small amount of food/drink orally and hold it internally for up to an hour. Eating no longer requires the expenditure of a Willpower point to keep food down, although it doesn't mean you enjoy the taste or like doing it. At some point the food/drink must be ejected from the vampire's body (ie. by vomiting). Warmth can be created simply by the vampire's superior control of the flow of vitae, and it is no longer required to burn a Blood Point to do so. With some limited effort, the pulse can also be made faster/slower, and continued in more than one pulse point simultaneously.

Masquerade 4

Maintaining a pulse throughout the body becomes more or less automatic, and it will tend to quicken and slow as appropriate. The vampire becomes so proficient at maintaining a human front that it is even possible to maintain warmth and 'breathing' while asleep (but not pulse). The vampire may make itself bruise realistically when bumping into things, but may also experience minor aches, pains, and fatigue, whether they wish to or not (the price of being so good at pretending to be human).

Masquerade 5

The vampire has total control of her body's reactions, and can even simulate clear tears and bodily fluids through the use of blood plasma (i.e. they still aren't real :) ). Producing body fluids in this manner requires spending a Blood Point. The vampire can realistically simulate sex, although no desire or pleasure is had in the act, and can pass as a human in almost every other respect in a manner that will astonish most other vampires. Vampires at this level of skill come to think of themselves as human, and will react as a human would to pain, pleasure, heat, cold, etc. If wounded, it takes a conscious effort not to expend a Blood Point (or more than one) to simulate mortal bleeding. If fed from, it takes a conscious effort, and a Willpower point, not to succumb to the pleasure of the Kiss in the same way that a mortal would, with the associated addiction. Vampires who have achieved this type of mastery are often scorned by their fellows and shunned as degenerates.

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