Don’t only connect. Disconnecting matters too.
Bloodline Disciplines: Web
Like the Mekhet from whom they are derived, the Lynx take an additional point of aggravated damage whenever they suffer injuries from sunlight or fire.
In addition, the Lynx needto feel connected. Every Lynx must choose a particular network, and remain connected to that network at all times. The network must extend beyond the Lynx, but may be a network of friends, the Internet or a network of trading contacts. Anything that threatens to cut a Lynx off from his network might inspire a fear or anger frenzy, as described on p. 178 of Vampire: The Requiem. The Lynx suffers a –2 penalty to dice pools to resist a network-related frenzy. In such a frenzy, the Lynx tries desperately to protect his connection to the network.
The connection need not be currently active; a Lynx reliant on the Internet does not need to be surfing all the time. However, a Lynx does need to check his network every so often, to be sure that it is working. Lynx reliant on their friends might make calls or send text messages a couple of times every night, for example, while a trader would make at least one deal. Frenzy can strike whenever the Lynx believes that he has been cut off. Of course, as with the other possible sources of fear, the visceral reaction of terror comes not from the truth but from the perception of the truth.
Storytellers and players have quite a bit of latitude when describing a Lynx’s network. In general, a Lynx’s core network can be defined by a Merit such as Herd, Contacts or Allies. A Lynx must possess at least four dots in one of these Merits, to represent his network. If the Lynx loses one of these dots — or is in danger of losing one of these dots — he is immediately subject to a fear or anger frenzy.
Finally, a Lynx’s sensitivity to social networks renders him more vulnerable to the ties of blood. Kindred relatives attempting to affect a Lynx with powers subject to the +2 bonus for blood ties gain a +3 bonus, instead.
History and Culture:
The Lynx are the youngest bloodline affiliated with the Invictus. Indeed, it is a mere matter of months since the first Kindred of this bloodline’s third generation manifested the line’s distinctive powers, thus confirming that the Lynx truly is a bloodline — and not merely the quirk of a bizarre vampire. As a result, not all Kindred who know of the Lynx know that they are truly a bloodline, and those Kindred who recognize the name are a select, but growing, group.
The Lynx themselves never refer to themselves as a bloodline, insisting that they are a blood web, instead. As the line does contain a handful of Kindred who are not direct descendants of the founder, Martin Thomas, there is even some justification for the claim, as the lines of relationship do not all flow straight down. However, that is true of many bloodlines, and most Kindred refer to the Lynx in the normal way, regarding their insistence on different terminology as merely one more manifestation of the bloodline’s obsession.
That obsession is networks. Martin Thomas was fascinated by networks, particularly communications and commercial networks, even before his Embrace. He managed to map the physical connections in his local telephone network and was working on a map showing the connections between all local businesses. There were lines showing who bought from whom, who owed money to whom and which businesses banded together to lobby for changes. The shape of the network convinced Thomas that there was at least one player in the scene who had no public face at all. Thomas was careful to make no direct inquiries, concentrating instead on building up a picture from indirect evidence, because the possibility that this player was an outfit of organized crime had occurred to him.
The possibility that it was a vampire had not. Natasha Danilov, a Mekhet, realized that someone was snooping around her business connections and, suspecting an enemy, conducted her own investigations. When she found out that Thomas was independent, and apparently motivated by nothing but curiosity, she decided that he would make a valuable servant, and Embraced him.
The transition to undeath was a major shock to Thomas, and he was not the asset that Danilov had hoped for. He retreated from society, obsessing over the details of networks, trying to discover everything, but with no desire to doanything with the information. A few patient Kindred used him as a source of information, but it took so long to coax anything out of him that there was almost always a faster source for what they wanted to know.
The coming of the Internet changed everything. Thomas was involved almost from the beginning, unable to resist being involved in a worldwide network. In the days before the Web, there were newsgroups, and Thomas found himself fascinated by the social networks revealed in the postings. One day, he was unable to resist experimenting, and posted to a group.
Within a week he was hooked, posting to many newsgroups and spending the whole night posting and downloading over a slow modem. Within a month, he was well known on a number of groups, and after one poster noticed that he only ever posted at night, local time, he was nicknamed “the Vampire.”
As Thomas tells it, that was the critical moment. He realized that he was, indeed, a vampire, and could not hide by burying himself in networks. He emerged from his cocoon, re-entered the Danse Macabre and quickly made a name for himself as a purveyor of information. By the time he had gathered enough power to found his own bloodline, the World Wide Web had arrived, and he chose the name Lynx for his progeny. The lynx had, in legend, eyes so sharp it could see through walls, and networks are, of course, made of links. But the original motive was Lynx, an early web browser. Thomas always remained a bit of a geek.
All members of the bloodline share Thomas’ fascination with networks of all sorts (particularly electronic and commercial), although social and political networks have received more attention in recent years. Thomas himself is still highly active, maintaining electronic communication with all members of the bloodline, although young and unimportant Kindred do not hear from him very often. Those who meet him in person are generally surprised: Thomas is African American and big. He isn’t fat — he is tall and broad-boned, with the result that he looks like he should be a bouncer, not a networking geek.
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