In Vampire: The Masquerade, a Discipline is the term used for one of the supernatural powers of Cainites. The origin of the Disciplines is unknown, but many believe they are gifts from Caine or Lilith, and a few Antediluvians are thought to have invented unique Disciplines that have been passed down through their childer. There are seventeen "main" Disciplines that are well known and relatively common, but there are also a variety of much rarer Disciplines practiced by bloodlines and Thin-Blooded vampires.
Aside from their immortality, ability to heal, and ability to improve their physical capabilities through expenditure of vitae, the Disciplines are what grant Cainites their supernatural power and enable them to participate in the Jyhad. Training in each Discipline provides several related powers such as superhuman senses, shapeshifting abilities or influence over the minds of others.
The majority of Disciplines consist of a sequence of powers which begin at a one-dot power and rise to a five-dot power. Discipline progression is fixed: every character who learns Auspex 2 learns the same power, cannot obtain it until they possess Auspex 1, and must learn it before gaining Auspex 3. The exceptions to this sequence are the various forms of blood sorcery, such as Thaumaturgy and Necromancy. These Disciplines consist of a main track that governs the maximum level of paths and rituals. However, each path is individually learned in the same manner as any other five-dot Discipline: one cannot learn the second level of the Path of Blood without first learning the first level.
Three Disciplines — Celerity, Fortitude and Potence — are commonly called the Physical Disciplines because they directly enhance a vampire's physical abilities. Dots up to five in these Disciplines do not provide new powers like the other disciplines do. Instead, every new level is a steady increase in one specific capacity: Celerity increases the number of extra actions a character can take per round by spending blood (and, in 20th Anniversary, increases dexterity); Fortitude adds dice to resist damage; and Potence grants automatic successes to feats of strength. At the Storyteller's discretion the Physical Disciplines may be learned by all Cainites without training.
Cainites of seventh or lower generation may learn Advanced Disciplines of six to ten dots, with the maximum rating of a Discipline restricted to 13 minus their generation. At such levels the potency of Discipline powers increase greatly, and characters no longer must follow a uniform progression but can choose from a variety of powers available at any one level or even invent their own powers that suit their tactics. Advanced Disciplines provide elders a great advantage over higher generation Cainites, but also lure younger vampires to commit diablerie.
Combination Disciplines break from the typical chains of separate powers and combine two or three Disciplines of various levels to create one specialized power. They are fairly rare and typically must be taught by someone who already knows the power, but are popular because they often add versatility to Disciplines a character possesses or address unique situations. In order to purchase a Combination Discipline you must have the prerequisite rank listed for each Discipline used; thus, to buy a Celerity 4/Potence 3 power you must already have Celerity 4 and Potence 3.
Disciplines by ClanEdit
Every clan has three in-clan Disciplines which they pick up more readily and do not require training to learn. Many clans also have signature Disciplines that are not widely known outside of their clan and are sometimes carefully guarded, though this varies from clan to clan. Unique Disciplines are not common in the Camarilla, which is largely a revisionist history issue; Camarilla vampires are the default characters for VtM and most of their Disciplines are classic vampiric powers. Conversely, the Sabbat and independent clans have powers which are not part of traditional vampire literature and were introduced later.