One of the most horrifying powers available to Cainites, Vicissitude is the signature power of the Tzimisce and is almost unknown outside of the clan. With it an experienced crafter can sculpt the flesh and bone of a subject, making them a creature of alien beauty or gnarling them into a deformed monstrosity. Tzimisce use Vicissitude on themselves extensively, altering their appearances with their mood or changing their bodies to be as vile as their souls.
Vicissitude is similar in some respects to Protean, but springs from a much darker source. Whereas Protean merely enables a Cainite to emulate God's creatures, this twisted power allows a Tzimisce to defile and deform those creatures or him/herself for all manner of perverse ends. The most beautiful maiden or noble stallion can, with but a knead of the fingers or a flick of the wrist, be reduced to a hideous freak or a blob of deliquescent pus. The Fiends have certainly used Vicissitude's more grotesque side effects to cement their infamous reputation.
Note that while this Discipline permits powerful and horrific effects, the wielder must obtain skin-to-skin contact and must often physically sculpt the desired result. This even applies to the use of the power on oneself. Tzimisce skilled in Vicissitude are often inhumanely beautiful; those less skilled are simply inhuman.
Outside of Thaumaturgy, Vicissitude is the most versatile of the Disciplines, and is often used in tandem with extensive ghouling. Tzimisce tend to deform their servants into war-forms szlachta, which are optimized for combat through extensive bone plating, spiked forearms and other modifications. True masters of fleshcrafting are capable of fusing multiple victims together into mammoth killing machines known as vozhd, but such creations are incredibly rare. Vicissitude was also used to create the Blood Brothers bloodline, and their Discipline Sanguinus is a derivation of the Tzimisce art. While its effects are normally permanent, vampires of lower generation can heal fleshcrafting transformations over time. Likewise, the Clan Curse of the Nosferatu cannot be removed through use of Vicissitude.
The nature of Vicissitude is shrouded in mystery, with even the most elder Fiends only speculating as to its origins and true potential. More than just a Discipline, it seems to act as a virus that "infects" others through transmission of blood. It is assumed to be invented by the Tzimisce Antediluvian, with some speculating that Vicissitude itself is an extension of the Elder Tzimisce and that it continues to learn and experiment through those that fleshcraft. The Tzimisce themselves view the control over physical forms granted by the Discipline as proof of their superiority over mortals who are slaves to their bodies. Practitioners of the Path of Metamorphosis go a step further and consider Vicissitude the path to achieve individual evolution and transcendence through a somewhat scientific approach of research and experimentation. Voices in the Shadow Crusade believe that Vicissitude is instead connected to the Iryi Aretstikapha, who dwells in the qlippothic shells of anti-being and who reaches into the material world through the use of the discipline.
God's curse is reflected in Vicissitude in that it replaces the ability to nurture and care with the ability to rend and corrupt. Advanced users find that the discipline develops a certain degree of independent existence: Spontaneous flesh- and bone-crafting effects manifest from time to time, usually as a response to outside stimuli. A threatened Tzimisce might find herself growing claws, while one caressing a favored servant might find herself altering said servant to be more beautiful.
- Malleable Visage: A vampire with this power may alter their bodily parameters: height, build, voice, facial features, and skin tone, among other things. Such changes are cosmetic and minor in scope. They might, for example, resume their mortal coloration; make themselves resemble a Moor, Viking, or Saracen, or even copy the form of a web-fingered naiad or faerie noble.
- Fleshcraft: Alter muscle, fat, and cartilage
- Bone Craft: Alter bone
- Horrid Form: Transform into the war-form zulo; the transformation takes 2 turns to complete.
- Bloodform : Instantly transform into a pool of sentient vitae
- Inner Mastery : Alter internal processings of the body, even manipulating mental attributes or giving derangements.
- The Body Impolitic : Infuse parts of your body with your will to allow them to be severed from the trunk to do your bidding
- Body Arsenal: Transform the bones in your body into weapons
- Blood of Acid: Permanently make your vitae highly corrosive
- Chiropteran Marauder: Transform into a huge, flying bat
- Ecstatic Agony: Change the pain of wounds into pleasure
- Entrail Saraband: Turn your bowels into writhing tendrils
- Graft Life to Life: Attach the limbs of one person to another without it becoming useless
- Living Testudo: Use a victim as a living weapon and shield
- Plasmic Form: As Bloodform, except you can move and hold any shape as a pool
- Skin Trap: Peel off a layer of skin to use as a net
- Cocoon: Wrap yourself into an incredibly resilient shell
- Flesh Rot: Give a target a disease that eats away at their body
- Impaler's Fence: Cause a victim's spine to shoot up and down them
- Kraken's Kiss: Transform your face into a tentacle that can drain blood
- Transcend the Flesh: Expel foreign substances from your body or move through solid objects
- Liquefy the Mortal Coil: Turn victim body parts into blood.
- Bauble: Transform into an object no smaller than half your size
- Breath of the Dragon: Exhale a blast of flame
- Will over Form: Use Vicissitude without one's hands over a distance
- Sublimation of the Larval Flesh: Weave the flesh of target into a cocoon to transform it into a new form
- Oathbreaker: Transform your blood into a substance that can suborn foreign Blood Bonds for a limited period of time
- Blood of the Earth: Your Blood becomes a viscous substance that burns when it is exposed to air.
- Doppelgänger: Assume any shape
- Earth's Vast Haven: Dissolve your body into the earth
- Perfect Essence: Control your vitae more efficiently
- The Last Dracul: Assume a draconic form whose blood incinerates when it is in contact with air
In the Fifth Edition of Vampire, Vicissitude and the abilities Fleshcrafting and Horrid Form return as part of the Protean discipline as Level 2, 3, and 4 Amalgam Powers with Dominate 2, respectively. One with the Land (aka Meld with the Land) becomes a Level 5 Amalgam Power with Animalism 2, but requires Earth Meld.
In Dirty Secrets of the Black Hand, Vicissitude was said to be a parasite that originated in the Deep Umbra and was brought back by a Tzimisce named Andeleon. As a disease, it eats away at the body, mind, and soul of an infected individual until they are consumed and taken over by it, becoming a Souleater. Supposedly the Old Clan Tzimisce were the few Fiends able to isolate themselves and avoid becoming infected. The True Black Hand was devoted to wiping out the alien invasion, while at the same time keeping it a secret from the world.
The idea of Souleaters and Vicissitude as an alien plague received a great deal of criticism, and was a divisive element of canon. The Vampire Storytellers Handbook Revised stated the idea was merely the result of a "lunatic fringe" within the Old Clan Tzimisce, and to be disregarded. However, the Guide to the Sabbat reintroduced an optional rule with Vicissitude as a disease that can infect anyone that comes into contact with tainted blood. Infection is necessary for learning Vicissitude, and the degree to which one is afflicted influences the difficulty of learning levels of the Discipline. Instead of taking over a practitioner's mind, however, the disease makes it more likely those infected gain derangements.
In The Black Hand: A Guide to the Tal'Mahe'Ra, the Asakku are introduced, vampires who have been corrupted by something through excessive use of Vicissitude. Still, in an email to Jan Pieterzoon, Aisling Sturbridge mentions that a redacted party had found that claims of its virulence are unsubstantiated, and reiterated its potential as false propaganda to manipulate and fanaticize younger rank and file.<ref>
^ Level 1
|Changeling||Players Guide to the Sabbat||Pg. 112|
|Malleable Visage||Vampire: The Dark Ages||Pg. 172|
|Malleable Visage||Vampire: The Masquerade Revised Edition||Pg. 186|
|Malleable Visage||Dark Ages: Vampire Rulebook||Pg. 222|
^ Level 2
|Fleshcraft||Players Guide to the Sabbat||Pg. 112|
|Transmogrify the Mortal Clay||Vampire: The Dark Ages||Pg. 172|
|Fleshcraft||Vampire: The Masquerade Revised Edition||Pg. 186|
|Transmogrify the Mortal Clay||Dark Ages: Vampire Rulebook||Pg. 222|
^ Level 3
|Bonecraft||Players Guide to the Sabbat||Pg. 112|
|Rend the Osseous Frame||Vampire: The Dark Ages||Pg. 172|
|Bone Craft||Vampire: The Masquerade Revised Edition||Pg. 186|
|Rend the Osseous Frame||Dark Ages: Vampire Rulebook||Pg. 223|
^ Level 4
|Horrid Form||Players Guide to the Sabbat||Pg. 113|
|Awaken the Zulo Shape||Vampire: The Dark Ages||Pg. 173|
|Horrid Form||Vampire: The Masquerade Revised Edition||Pg. 187|
|Awaken the Zulo Shape||Dark Ages: Vampire Rulebook||Pg. 223|
^ Level 5
|Inner Essence||Players Guide to the Sabbat||Pg. 113|
|Ascendancy of the Sanguine Humor||Vampire: The Dark Ages||Pg. 173|
|Bloodform||Vampire: The Masquerade Revised Edition||Pg. 187|
|Ascendancy of the Sanguine Humor||Dark Ages: Vampire Rulebook||Pg. 223|
|Inner Mastery||Kindred of the Ebony Kingdom||Pg. 108-109|
|The Body Impolitic||Vampire Twentieth Anniversary Edition: The Dark Ages||Pg. 269|
^ Level 6
|Blood of Acid||Players Guide to the Sabbat||Pg. 113|
|Body Arsenal||Players Guide to the Sabbat||Pg. 113|
|Plasmic Form||Players Guide to the Sabbat||Pg. 113|
|Skin Trap||Clanbook: Tzimisce||Pg. 45|
|Chiropteran Marauder||Vampire: The Dark Ages||Pg. 173|
|Entrail Saraband||Libellus Sanguinis 1: Masters of the State||Pg. 65|
|Living Testudo||Libellus Sanguinis 1: Masters of the State||Pg. 65|
|Blood of Acid||Guide to the Sabbat||Pg. 123|
|Chiropteran Marauder||Guide to the Sabbat||Pg. 123|
|Chiropteran Marauder||Dark Ages: Vampire Rulebook||Pg. 223|
|Graft Life to Life||Players Guide to High Clans||Pg. 162|
|Ecstatic Agony||Lore of the Clans||Pg. 241|
^ Level 7
|Cocoon||Players Guide to the Sabbat||Pg. 113|
|Flesh Rot||Players Guide to the Sabbat||Pg. 113|
|Kraken's Kiss||Clanbook: Tzimisce||Pg. 45|
|Impaler's Fence||Libellus Sanguinis 1: Masters of the State||Pg. 65|
|Cocoon||Guide to the Sabbat||Pg. 124|
|Transcend the Flesh||Players Guide to High Clans||Pg. 162|
|Liquefy the Mortal Coil||Dark Ages Companion||Pg. 96|
|Blood of the Earth||Vampire Twentieth Anniversary Edition: The Dark Ages||Pg. 270|
|Kraken's Kiss||Lore of the Clans||Pg. 241|
^ Level 8
|Bauble||Players Guide to the Sabbat||Pg. 114|
|Breath of the Dragon||Players Guide to the Sabbat||Pg. 114|
|Breath of the Dragon||Guide to the Sabbat||Pg. 124|
|Will over Form||Players Guide to High Clans||Pg. 163|
|Sublimation of the Larval Flesh||Vampire Twentieth Anniversary Edition: The Dark Ages||Pg. 270|
|Oathbreaker||Anarchs Unbound||Pg. 111|
^ Level 9
|Doppelgänger||Players Guide to the Sabbat||Pg. 114|
|Meld with the Land||Players Guide to the Sabbat||Pg. 114|
|Earth's Vast Haven||Guide to the Sabbat||Pg. 125|
|Perfect Essence||Players Guide to High Clans||Pg. 163|
|The Last Dracul||Vampire Twentieth Anniversary Edition: The Dark Ages||Pg. 270|
^ Level 10
|Reform Body||Players Guide to the Sabbat||Pg. 114|
|Plot Device||Gehenna||Pg. 182|
|Vampire: The Masquerade Disciplines pre-V5:|
|Abombwe · Animalism · Auspex · Bardo · Celerity · Chimerstry · Daimonion · Dementation · Dominate · Flight · Fortitude · Melpominee · Mytherceria · Obeah · Obfuscate · Obtenebration · Potence · Presence · Protean · Quietus · Sanguinus · Serpentis · Spiritus · Temporis · Thanatosis · Valeren · Vicissitude · Visceratika|
|Blood Sorcery pre-V5:||Abyss Mysticism · Akhu · Thaumaturgical Countermagic · Dur-An-Ki · Mortis · Nahuallotl · Voudoun Necromancy · Western Necromancy · Ogham · Sadhana · Sihr · Thaumaturgy · Dark Thaumaturgy · Sielanic Thaumaturgy · Assamite Sorcery · Anarch Sorcery · Koldunic Sorcery · Setite Sorcery · Wanga|
|V5||Animalism · Auspex · Blood Sorcery · Celerity · Dominate · Fortitude · Obfuscate · Oblivion · Potence · Presence · Protean · Thin-Blood Alchemy|
|V5 Amalgams:||Chimerstry · Dementation · Obeah · Serpentis · Valeren · Vicissitude|
|Defunct:||Deimos · Kai · Kineticism · Maleficia · Nihilistics · Rift · Striga|