This Discipline allows the vampire to manipulate his physical form. Some Kindred view this power as a heightened connection to the natural world, while others see it as a magnification of the mark of Caine. Whatever its basis, vampires who develop this Discipline can grow bestial claws, assume the forms of wolves and bats, transform into mist and meld into the earth.
Vampires can generally use other Disciplines while transformed - Kindred in wolf form can still read auras and communicate with other animals. However, there are some situations in which the Storyteller may decide that the immortal cannot use a certain Discipline. After all, a vampire in mist form cannot use Dominate, since he has no eyes with which to make contact. The vampire's clothes and personal items also change when he transforms, presumably absorbed within his very substance. Kindred cannot transfigure large objects or other beings; Protean is a very personal expression of undead power.
A vampire who has been staked, thereby trapping his soul within the mortal coil, cannot transform. Some Kindred claim that truly powerful Gangrel - those who have mastered the highest levels of Protean - can deny even this limitation.
Clan Gangrel lays claim to this Discipline, although other individual vampires have learned some of Protean's secrets from these bestial Kindred.
Eyes of the Beast
The vampire sees perfectly well in pitch darkness, not requiring a light source to notice details in even the darkest basement or cave. The vampire's Beast is evident in his red glowing eyes, a sight sure to disturb most mortals.
System: No roll is necessary, but the change requires a full turn to complete. While manifesting the Eyes, the character suffers a +1 difficulty to all Social rolls with mortals unless he takes steps to shield his eyes (sunglasses are the simplest solution).
A vampire without this power who is immersed in total darkness suffers difficulty penalties of +2 to perform most feats. At the Storyteller's option, ranged attacks, extended actions and precision tasks (those requiring more than one success to succeed) cannot be performed successfully at all.
The vampire's nails transform into long, bestial claws. These talons are wickedly sharp, able to rend flesh with ease and even carve stone and metal with little trouble. The Beast is prominent in the claws as well, making them fearsome weapons against other immortals. It's rumored that some Gangrel have modified this power to change their vampiric fangs into vicious tusks.
System: The claws grow automatically in response to the character's desire, and can grow from both hands and feet. The transformation requires the expenditure of a blood point and takes a single turn to complete.
The character attacks normally in combat, but the claws inflict Strength + 1 aggravated damage. Other supernaturals cannot soak this damage, although a power such as Fortitude may be used. Additionally, the difficulties of all climbing rolls are reduced by two.
One of the most prized powers the Gangrel possess, Earth Meld enables the vampire to become one with the earth. The immortal literally sinks into the bare ground, transmuting his substance to bond with the earth.
Though a vampire can immerse himself fully into the ground, he cannot move around within it. Further, it is impossible to meld into earth through another substance. Wood slats, blacktop, even artificial turf blocks Earth Meld's effectiveness - of course, it's a relatively simple matter for a vampire at this level of power to grow claws and rip apart enough of the flooring to expose the raw soil beneath.
By interring himself in the ground, the vampire gains full protection from daylight when outdoors. It is also the method of choice for those Kindred who wish to sleep away the centuries; these vampires lock themselves in the earth's embrace, gaining strength and power as they rest. Superstitious and paranoid Kindred whisper that thousands of Ancients sleep within the ground and will awaken on the night of Gehenna.
While so interred, the vampire is in a transitional state between flesh and earth. His physical presence exists between the physical world and the astral plane. As such, the vampire is difficult to sense, even through supernatural means. However, a disruption to the soil that the immortal occupies, or to his presence on the astral realm, returns him immediately to the physical world (and to full wakefulness), showering dirt outward as his body displaces the soil.
System: No roll is necessary, although the character must spend a blood point. Subsuming into the earth is automatic and takes a turn to complete. The character falls into a state one step above torpor during this time, sensing his surroundings only distantly. The player must make a Humanity roll (difficulty 6) for the character to rouse himself in response to danger prior to his desired time of emergence.
Since the character is in an in-between state, any attempts to locate him (catching his scent, scanning for his aura, traveling astrally) are very difficult. Astral individuals cannot affect the vampire directly, instead meeting with a kind of spongy resistance as their hands pass through him. Similarly, digging in the material world encounters incredibly hard-packed earth, virtually as dense as stone.
Attempts at violence upon the submerged vampire from either side return him to his physical nature, expelling the soil with which he bonded in a blinding spray (all Perception-based rolls are at +2 difficulty for the turn). The character himself subtracts two from his initiative for the first turn after his restoration, due to momentary disorientation. Once expelled from the earth, the vampire may act normally.