The following list of Umbrae should not be taken as comprehensive; the Darkness has many ways to distort its servants. Each Umbra confers a benefit, balanced by a drawback.
If an Umbra opposes another supernatural power, the character’s dice pool for the Clash of Wills equals his Shadows.
The character’s shadow develops a mind of its own and serves them as a familiar. The shadow is treated as an ephemeral being (though not of the types in the Chronicles of Darkness book) with the following traits.
The shadow cannot speak. Its default shape is a silhouette of the character. It moves by crawling along the ground or across the walls, but always remains attached to the character’s feet. It regains 1 Essence per day from its attachment to the character, and 1 Essence when the character does something that can create Taint. If damaged to the point of losing all its Corpus, the shadow hibernates in the character’s body, invisible to everyone.
Drawback: The character has a shadow that commits petty sins and impertinences unless strictly watched, or (if the thing was discorporated) casts no shadow at all, which will draw notice.
The character’s skin turns cold, as if they have poor circulation. They are now immune to all penalties from extreme cold, and will not suffer damage from it, no matter how low the temperature gets.
Drawback: The sun’s touch is now painful against their chilled skin. Being in direct sunlight is now an extreme environment for the character [CofD 97] at a level equal to their current Shadows, to a maximum of 4. Strong suncream and clothing that wraps one’s whole body serve as survival gear against sunlight, reducing the effective level.
Corruption of BloodEdit
The character’s blood, spittle and sweat are laced with necrotic fluids. He need only touch someone barehanded to inflict a moderate Sick Tilt [CofD 286]; if he injures someone with his natural weapons (even bashing damage) he inflicts a grave Sick Tilt. Moreover, when the Sick Tilt ends (or immediately, outside of combat) an infectee must roll Stamina + Resolve, penalized by the character’s Shadows (for a moderate sickness) or his Shadows + Stamina (for a grave one) once an hour to avoid taking lethal damage equal to the character’s Shadows, a number of times equal to the character’s Stamina.
Drawback: The character’s fluids are always necrotic. He cannot touch anyone without infecting them.
Faceless in the CrowdEdit
The Darkness begins to subsume the character’s identity. People just ignore them. All individuals are at -3 to even notice them, and must roll Intelligence + Composure each time they want to remember them, failure producing a description of “Well... he... I think it was a he... was sort of tall? Maybe?” Mechanical and electronic records are not affected.
Drawback: This applies to all rolls to notice or remember the character ... not just their present life, but their past deeds, before they gained this Umbra. Childhood friends forget their names, old acquaintances don’t recognize their faces, neighbors are startled on noticing them in a home they’ve owned for years.
Grip Onto Your FearEdit
The flimsiest Darkspawn’s grip can become the unheeding grasp of death once it locks its palm around you, and woe to the ones who panic, for the darkness feeds off of their despair. When the character is in a grapple, he gains a +2 bonus to the Hold and Restrain moves. Against an opponent with the Shaken Condition, the bonus is +3. In actions that involve gripping an object, the character gains a +1 bonus, and attempts to remove an object from his grasp take a -1 penalty.
Drawback: The character’s hands, while normal to the eye, are repulsive to the touch. His palm could always be sticky with sweat, rough as if covered in wood chips or cold as ice. Only thick gloves can stop the sensation of disgust in those he touches. In any Social rolls against a person the character has ever put a hand on, he suffers a -2 penalty; in social maneuvers against such people, the character must open one extra Door.
Hollow as a ShadowEdit
The character becomes hollow and empty within, with effort they can twist themselves to become hollow and empty without as well. The character may shift into or out of Twilight. They roll Stamina + Composure as an instant action to shift between the two states. It is not uncommon for Darkspawn with this Umbra to forget how to become solid.
Drawback: When you’re hollow you’re hollow. The character always feels unsubstantial, like they have little to offer and don’t belong. In any stressful social situation where others are not directly paying attention to them, such as preparing to enter an interview room, the character must roll Composure; on a failure they shift into Twilight and must remain there for the rest of the scene.
Hunger Means NothingEdit
The character is immune to deprivation from dehydration or hunger. They no longer need to eat, nor drink; though they can, they gain no benefit from it, nor do they taste anything.
Drawback: Quite apart from the fact that they can never eat again, the character wastes away. They reduce their Health by one box, and look too thin, like a cancer patient, or (some more cynical Princesses might remark) a top fashion model.
Light is DarkEdit
The character’s eyes transform; he now sees by the absence of light. Complete darkness is for him what bright light is for normal people, and he suffers no penalty from low light.
Drawback: Contrariwise, bright light is to him what complete darkness is for normal people - the character is blind when directly illuminated, and takes penalties for any task that requires looking at things that give off light. Characters with this Umbra are forced into a largely nocturnal existence.
Miasma of MadnessEdit
The character exudes a colorless, odorless mist with a radius of Presence + Shadows. Anyone breathing in the mist must make a Resolve + Composure roll or spend a Willpower point to prevent the mist from clouding their mind. Any one affected suffers from the Insane Tilt [CofD 285] for the rest of the scene.
Drawback: The character is not immune to the mist. They must make the same roll or spend a Willpower point every scene, or gain the Insane Tilt.
The character can eat anything, up to and including broken glass, and will suffer no more than one point of bashing damage as the “food” goes down. Anything less resilient than metal will be digested; things undigested will be passed, again causing no more than 1 point of bashing damage. They also receive one dot of the Hardy Merit for free, ignoring the normal prerequisites for it.
Drawback: Of course, with such a universal diet, one can always have... preferences. In this case, whenever they are hungry or thirsty, the character must succeed on a (Resolve + Composure) roll or else spend 1 Willpower not to eat any rotting meat or drink any stagnant, dirty water they see. They suffer a penalty on this roll equal to the Size of the rotting meat. Darkspawn with this Umbra almost always have Grotesque Bulk, and tend to make themselves larders of hung corpses (which need not be human; the first sign may well be all the pets going missing) in case they get peckish.
Scuttling Spider’s SenseEdit
The character becomes hypersensitive to sounds and changes in air-pressure, so sensitive that they gain a limited kind of precognition. Any ranged attacks on the character take a penalty equal to the lower of his Wits or Dexterity.
Drawback: People move constantly in a hundred small ways, every twitch, every breath could be a threat and the character can’t keep up with all of them. When in the same room with more people than their Composure the character starts to get panicky. After Resolve minutes he takes the Terrified Condition, with other people as the source of his fear. Other creatures of the Darkness don’t trigger this blind panic and are never the source of the Condition (though objectively they’re far more likely to be dangerous to the character!)
Sound of SilenceEdit
The character’s hearing becomes exceptionally acute. They gain +3 to all hearing-based Perception rolls.
Drawback: So acute, in fact, that they are deafened by their own voice. They cannot speak above the level of a soft whisper. This, as might be guessed, makes day-to-day life rather hard. They cannot drive a motorcycle, or attend concerts while in this state. Should they go to a supermarket, they must use the self-checkout, to avoid clamorous small talk with the girl at the checkout counter.
Subsumed by Another ShadowEdit
Whenever the character comes within (Willpower + number of Umbrae) yards of a Darkspawn, he reflexively and automatically rolls Presence + Resolve, contested by the Resolve + Composure of the Darkspawn. The character makes this roll separately for each Darkspawn he meets, but no more often than once a scene. If the character gets more successes, the Darkspawn believes him to be its natural superior, and will seek to protect him as best it can, and gratify what it thinks are his desires. It will continue to do so until it has been separated from the character for (Willpower + number of Umbrae) hours; after that, it forgets the character’s existence.
The character can try to give his servant an order as an instant action; the dice pool is Presence + Composure, and the order can have no more than (successes) conditions (so, “Break the light” is one, while “Break the light outside” is two.) By default, a Darkspawn servant will also use all its powers/abilities to prevent others from seeing it, but it will break cover if an order requires it. The one order it won’t obey is to leave and not return.
Drawback: Of course, most people don’t really want vicious Darkness-beasts following them around. Darkspawn servants consistently assume that their master wants them to do harm, and will kill or wreck anything that seems to be an obstacle, or even inconvenience, for him. Any expression of dislike for somebody, even for a trivial reason (being pushed aside by a passing stranger, say) might inspire the Darkspawn to deliver his severed head to the character’s doorstep. In addition, most Darkspawn aren’t the prettiest of things, and being followed by monsters that don’t seem to show themselves to others is quite nasty on the psyche.
Darkspawn that possess this Umbrae are immune to its effects; they are not going to serve another, and will often attack anyone or anything else which possesses it. Moreover, they seem prone to retaining a worrying cunning quite unlike human intelligence; the limited use of language (enough to call out “help me” in a normal voice while trying to lure someone in), tactics (send weaker ones to make a noise outside while it and the stronger ones it controls come in through the roof), and the ability to control other Darkspawn make them notably more dangerous, especially since there is no way, on sight, to tell them apart.
Devious cunning becomes easy for the character, as the nothingness and antipathy for form of the Darkness enters through the mouth. All Manipulation-based rolls, except for activation of supernatural powers, are at +1; this is increased to +3 if the character is lying.
Drawback: Correspondingly, forthright openness becomes hard. All Presence-based rolls, again except for activation of supernatural powers, lose the 10-again quality; on a dramatic failure, targets become convinced that the character is lying to them.
Tainted Allure of ViceEdit
There is something... fascinating about the character which calls to mortal souls; a sick, degrading allure to its presence which draws others closer. The character gains the Striking Looks •• Merit [CofD 54] as the entire way they move, speak, act becomes attractive, even if they do not change much physically. Darkspawn with this Umbra retain some allure and do not become ugly, instead gaining a beauteous depravity in their inhumanity.
Drawback: ... and it brings out the worst in others, for it is a guilty pleasure that wracks at the soul. At the time of purchase, the character chooses a Vice (Cruel, Treacherous, and Violent work well here.) As soon as the bonus dice from the Umbra apply to a Social roll against a person, that person gains the Vice-Ridden Condition with the chosen Vice (if that is already their Vice, there is no effect). The Vice gives Willpower only if indulging it harms, subjugates, or degrades the character in some way; for nearly everyone this behavior will be a breaking point. In packs of Darkspawn, ones with this Umbra are right at the bottom of the pack, because they suffer the indignities of their “peers” just as much as they had in life.
The character’s fingers are quicker and more nimble, subtly guiding the character in dark deeds. All Dexterity-based rolls to get into places without being detected, bypass security systems, or make a convincing forgery gain the 8-again quality.
Drawback: The character is always the first to be suspected of any wrong doing, even if he made a clean getaway or is innocent.