Vampire the Requiem: Court and Commonwealth
Not all curses are created equal, and even the Damned have outcasts. These are the Nosferatu, the most overtly disturbing of the undead. Only sometimes able to pass as human, the Haunts are horribly warped by the Embrace, either physically or… otherwise. They dwell in shadows that other vampires would not dare. Even other undead fear the Nosferatu, for their unsettling seemings are constant reminders that those Kindred who look mortal are not. They grudgingly respect the Nosferatu as well.
These blighted creatures have incredible powers of stealth, terrifying strength, and they embody the monstrous destructive force that every one of the Damned can muster if pushed too far. If they had their druthers, most other clans would prefer never to associate with the Nosferatu at all, yet the Haunts’ inarguable talents and brute force make them too dangerous to ignore. So other Kindred offer them a tense hospitality, hide their unease behind wary diplomacies and pray that the Nosferatu leave as soon as possible.
This isolation has fostered strong familial bonds among the Nosferatu. To those outside their ranks, they put on a unified front, creating the impression of a single extended network. The truth, of course, is that Nosferatu squabble and compete with one another as much as members of any other clan — but when faced with an outside threat, they close ranks.
The Nosferatu’s inability to blend in with society forces them to dwell apart, often congregating in places others shun. Some find sanctuary in the sewers, using influence with mortal government and construction, as well as their own substantial strength, to expand simple maintenance tunnels and sluiceways into vast underground warrens. Others lurk in cemeteries, sharing aboveground crypts with sedentary occupants. Still others prefer abandoned homes, often giving rise to neighborhood urban legends of haunted houses, or exist in the basements or boiler rooms of modern office buildings.
Tradition holds that any Nosferatu is welcome in any warren until she provides her brethren
reason to expel her. The Haunts might not all get along, but they recognize their common bond — not that they have any choice, since it follows their aspect like a miasma. Feared by and therefore ostracized from society, many Nosferatu become as alien as their demeanor. Others choose the opposite path, becoming surprisingly cultured, well mannered and
well spoken to compensate for their unnerving seeming.
Nosferatu are also known as purveyors of information. Not only do their supernatural powers make them foes to be reckoned with, but many elder Nosferatu are keepers of ancient lore, rivaling anything preserved by the Ventrue or Mekhet. Sophisticated Haunts trade knowledge the way other Kindred trade favors, and if a Nosferatu doesn’t know something, he can probably scare someone who does into telling him. It is this trade in terror, more than anything else, that makes the Nosferatu too valuable — and too dangerous — to ignore. After all, one never knows what the horrid Haunts tell one’s enemies, or how many of them wait in ambush.