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Necromancy is both a Discipline and a school of blood magic devoted to the command of the souls of the dead. It’s similar to Thaumaturgy in that it has several “paths” and accompanying “rituals” rather than a strict linear progression of powers. The study of Necromancy is not widespread among the Kindred, and its practitioners — primarily the Giovanni — are shunned and despised for their foul practices (until those practices become useful, of course).

Over the centuries, the various schools of vampiric Necromancy have evolved and diversified from an earlier form of death magic, leaving several distinct paths of necromantic magic available to Cainites. Nearly all modern necromancers learn the Sepulchre Path first before extending their studies to other paths. The primary Necromancy path increases automatically as the character increases her overall Necromancy rating. Other paths must be bought separately, using the experience costs for secondary paths. 

Like Thaumaturgy, Necromancy has also spawned a series of rituals. While not nearly so immediate in effect as the basic powers of Necromancy, Necromantic rituals can have impressive long-term effects. Unsurprisingly, the elements of Necromantic ritual are things like long-buried corpses and hands from the cadavers of hanged men, so obtaining suitable materials can be quite difficult. See Rituals for a list.

System: A Cainite necromancer must learn at least three levels in his primary path before learning his first level in a secondary Necromancy path. He must then master the primary path (all five levels) before acquiring any knowledge of a third path.

As with Thaumaturgy, advancement in the primary path costs the normal experience amount, while study of additional Necromantic paths incurs an additional experience-point cost . Because Necromancy is not quite so rigid a study as Thaumaturgy is, the rolls required to use Necromantic powers can vary from path to path and even within individual paths. The commonly-learned Sepulchre Path is presented first, with the remaining paths presented in alphabetical order.

Paths Edit

The Sepulchre Path Edit

Through the Sepulchre path, the vampire can witness, summon, and command the spirits of the dead. At higher levels, the necromancer can force the ghost to remain in a particular place or object, or even damage wraiths directly. Since many other areas of Necromancy involve dealing with ghosts, this is the most common path for necromancers to start with.

Note: If a Kindred uses a Sepulchre Path power in the presence of something of great importance to the ghost the power affects, the chances for success in the summoning increase dramatically (reduce the difficulty by 2). This might be the bathtub in which the ghost’s mortal body was drowned, the rusted-out wreck of the car where the ghost’s physical body was trapped alive, or something unrelated to the ghost’s demise, such as a favorite book or a child-ghost’s beloved nursery.

• Witness of Death

Before it is possible to control the dead, one must perceive them. This power allows just that, attuning a vampire’s unliving senses to the presence of the incorporeal. Under its effects, a necromancer sees ghosts as translucent phantoms gliding among the living and hears their whispers and moans. She feels the spectral cold of their touch and smells their musty hint of decay. Yet one cannot mistake the dead for the living, as they lack true substance, and appear dimmer and less real than creatures of flesh and blood. When a vampire uses this power, her eyes flicker with pale blue fire that only the dead can see.

Ghosts resent being spied upon, and more powerful shades may use their own powers to inflict their displeasure on the incautious.

System: The player rolls Perception + Awareness (difficulty 5). Success allows the vampire to perceive ghosts as described for the rest of the scene (in the mortal world — seeing ghosts in the land of the dead requires Shroudsight). Failure has no special effect, but a botch means the vampire can see only the dead for the scene; everything else appears as shapeless, dim shadows. While the vampire’s other senses remain attuned to the living, he is all but blind in this state and suffers a +3 difficulty to most vision-based Perception rolls and attacks. Ghosts notice the glowing eyes of a vampire using this power only with a successful Perception + Alertness roll (difficulty 7).

•• Summon Soul

The power of Summon Soul allows a necromancer to call a ghost back from the Underworld, for conversational purposes only. In order to perform this feat (and indeed, most of the feats in this path), the vampire must meet certain conditions: 

• The necromancer must know the name of the wraith in question, though an image of the wraith obtained via Witness of Death (see above), Shroudsight , Auspex, or other supernatural perception will suffice.

• An object with which the wraith had some contact in life must be in the vicinity, though it need not be something of significant importance to the ghost’s living consciousness. A piece of the ghost’s corpse works well for this purpose (and even provides a -1 difficulty modifier). Certain types of ghosts cannot be summoned with this power. Vampires who achieved Golconda before their Final Deaths, or who were diablerized, are beyond the reach of this summons. Likewise, many ghosts of the dead cannot be called — they are destroyed, unable to return to the mortal plane, or lost in the eternal storm of the Underworld.

System: The player spends one blood point and rolls Manipulation + Occult (difficulty equal to 7 or the ghost’s Willpower, whichever is higher). The vampire must know the name of the ghost and have on hand an object the ghost had contact with in life. Provided that the target has died and become a ghost, success means the shade appears before the necromancer as described above. Not everyone becomes a ghost — it requires a strong will to persevere in the face of death, and souls that have found peace pass on to their eternal rewards.

Moreover, it is possible for the dead to suffer spiritual dissolution and destruction after they become ghosts. The Storyteller should consider all these factors when deciding whether a particular ghost exists for a vampire to summon.

Vampires know if their summons should have succeeded by a feeling of sudden, terrifying descent as they reach too far into the great Beyond, so this power can be used to determine whether a soul has endured beyond death. While a failure means the vampire wastes blood, a botch calls a spirit other than the one sought — usually a malevolent ghost known as a Spectre. Such a fiend torments the one who summoned it with every wicked power at its disposal.

Once a ghost is summoned, it may not deliberately move out of sight of the vampire, though it can take any other actions, including direct attack. The vampire’s player may spend a Willpower point to dismiss the ghost at any time (unless he rolled a botch). Otherwise, at the end of the scene, shadows engulf the spirit once more and return it to its original location.

••• Compel Soul

With this power, a vampire can command a ghost to do his bidding for a while. Compulsion of the soul is a perilous undertaking and, when used improperly, can endanger vampire and wraith alike.

System: The vampire locates and approaches the intended ghost or calls it to his presence with Summon Soul. As with the previous power, he must have the ghost’s name and an object it handled in life. His player then spends one blood point and rolls Manipulation + Occult in a resisted roll against the ghost’s Willpower (difficulty 6 for both rolls). 

If the vampire wins, the number of net successes determines the degree of control he has over the ghost (as described below). Moreover, the vampire’s control keeps ghosts that have been called with Summon Soul from returning to their original locations at the end of the scene. If the ghost wins, the vampire loses a number of Willpower points equal to the ghost’s net successes. On a tie, the roll becomes an extended contest that continues each turn until one side wins. If the vampire botches at any point, the ghost is immune to any use of the vampire’s Necromancy for the rest of the scene. If the ghost botches, it must obey as if the vampire’s player had rolled five net successes. 

 Successes Result

1 success The ghost must perform one simple  task for the vampire that does not  place it in certain danger. It must  attend to this task immediately,  although it can delay the  compulsion and pursue its own  business at a cost of one Willpower  point per scene. The ghost may not  attack the vampire until this task is complete. It is possible to issue the  task of answering one question, in  which case the ghost must answer  truthfully and to the best of  its knowledge.

2 successes The vampire may issue two orders  or ask two questions as outlined for  one success. Alternatively, the  vampire may demand a simple task  with a real possibility of danger, as  long as the danger is not certain. The  ghost may delay this compulsion with  Willpower.

3 successes The vampire may issue three orders  as outlined for one success.  Alternatively, he may demand the  ghost fulfill one difficult and  dangerous task or a simple assignment  that has an extended duration of up  to one month. The ghost may delay  such orders with Willpower.

4 successes The vampire may issue four orders,  as outlined for one success, or  assign two tasks, as for two successes.  Alternatively, the vampire may  command the ghost to perform one  complex assignment that puts the  ghost at extreme risk, or perform any  number of non-threatening tasks  as the vampire’s slave for up to one  month (or, if the necromancer spends  a permanent point of Willpower, for  a year and a day). It is possible for  ghosts to delay individual tasks, but not put off enslavement.

5+ successes The vampire may issue multiple  orders that have a sum complexity  or danger of five successes’ worth.  Instead, the vampire may order the  ghost to perform any one action that  it is capable of executing within one  month. Such a task can place the  ghost in immediate peril of destruction, or even force it to betray  and assault loved ones. It is not  possible for ghosts to delay a task of  this magnitude with Willpower —  they must obey.

•••• Haunting

Haunting binds a summoned ghost to a particular location or, in extreme cases, an object. The wraith cannot leave the area to which the necromancer binds it without risking destruction. 

System: The player spends one blood point while standing at the location for the haunting or touching the intended prison. She then has the ghost brought to her by whatever means she desires, though Summon Soul is quickest and most reliable. Her player then rolls Manipulation + Occult (difficulty is equal to the target’s current Willpower points if resisted, to a minimum of 4; otherwise it is 4). The difficulty rises by one if the vampire wishes to place the ghost in an object. As usual, the difficulty decreases by one if the necromancer has a part of the spirit’s corpse in addition to knowing its name (minimum difficulty 3). Each success binds the ghost within the location or object for one night. This duration extends to one week if the player spends a Willpower point or a year and a day for a dot of permanent Willpower. A wraith attempting to leave the area of a haunting must make an extended Willpower roll (difficulty 9, four cumulative successes necessary in a single scene) or take a level of aggravated damage for each roll. If the wraith runs out of health levels, it is hurled deep into the Underworld to face destruction.

••••• Torment

It is through the use of this power that powerful necromancers convince bound ghosts to behave — or else. 

Torment allows the vampire to strike a wraith as if he himself were in the lands of the dead, inflicting damage on the wraith’s ectoplasmic form. The vampire remains in the real world, however, so he cannot be struck in return.

System: The player rolls Stamina + Empathy (difficulty equal to the wraith’s current Willpower points), and the vampire reaches out to strike the wraith. Each success inflicts a level of lethal damage on the wraith. 

Should the wraith lose all health levels, it immediately vanishes into what appears to be a doorway to some hideous nightmare realm. Ghosts “destroyed” thus cannot reappear in or near the real world for a month.  

The Ash Path Edit

The Ash Path allows necromancers to peer into the lands of the dead, and even affect things there. Of the paths of Necromancy, the Ash Path is the most perilous to learn, because many of the path’s uses increase a necromancer’s vulnerability to wraiths.

• Shroudsight

Shroudsight allows a necromancer to see through the Shroud, the mystical barrier that separates the living world from the Underworld. By using this power, the vampire can spot ghostly buildings and items, the landscape of the so-called Shadowlands, and even wraiths themselves. However, an observant wraith may notice when a vampire suddenly starts staring at him, which can lead to unpleasant consequences.

System: A simple roll of Perception + Awareness (difficulty 7) allows a necromancer to utilize Shroudsight. The effects last for a scene.

•• Lifeless Tongues

Where Shroudsight allows a necromancer to see ghosts, Lifeless Tongues allows her to converse with them effortlessly. Once Lifeless Tongues is employed, the vampire can carry on a conversation with the denizens of the ghostly Underworld without spending blood or causing the wraiths to expend any effort.

System: To use Lifeless Tongues requires a roll of Perception + Occult (difficulty 6) and the expenditure of a Willpower point.

••• Dead Hand

Similar to the Sepulchre Path power Torment, Dead Hand allows a necromancer to reach across the Shroud and affect a ghostly object as if it were in the real world. Ghosts are solid to necromancers using this power, and can be attacked. Furthermore, the necromancer can pick up ghostly items, scale ghostly architecture (giving real-world bystanders the impression that he’s climbing on air!), and generally exist in two worlds.

On the other hand, a necromancer using Dead Hand is quite solid to the residents of the Underworld — and to whatever hostilities they might have.

System: The player spends a point of Willpower and makes a successful Wits + Occult roll (difficulty 7) to activate Dead Hand for one scene. For each additional scene the vampire wishes to remain in contact with the Underworld, he must spend a point of blood.

•••• Ex Nihilo

Ex Nihilo allows a necromancer to enter the Underworld physically. While in the lands of the dead, the vampire is essentially a particularly solid ghost. He maintains his normal number of health levels, but can be hurt only by things that inflict aggravated damage on ghosts (weapons forged from souls, certain ghostly powers, etc.). A vampire physically in the Underworld can pass through solid objects in the real world (at the cost of one health level) and remain “incorporeal” for a number of turns equal to her Stamina rating. On the other hand, vampires present in the Underworld are subject to all of the Underworld’s perils, including ultimate destruction. A vampire killed in the realm of the dead is gone forever, beyond even the reach of other necromancers.

System: Using Ex Nihilo takes a tremendous toll on the necromancer. To activate this power, the vampire must first draw a doorway with chalk or blood on any available surface. (The vampire may draw doors ahead of time for exactly this purpose.) The player must then expend two points of Willpower and two points of blood before making a Stamina + Occult roll (difficulty 8) as the vampire attempts to open the chalk door physically. If the roll succeeds, the door opens and the vampire steps through into the Underworld.

When the vampire wishes to return to the real world, he merely needs to concentrate (and the player spends another Willpower point and rolls Stamina + Occult, difficulty 6). At Storyteller discretion, a vampire who is too deeply immersed in the Underworld may need to journey to a place close to the lands of the living in order to cross over. Vampires who wander too far into the lands of the dead may be trapped there forever.

Vampires in the Underworld cannot feed upon ghosts without the use of another power; their only sustenance is the blood they bring with them.

••••• Shroud Mastery

Shroud Mastery offers the Kindred the ability to manipulate the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead. By doing so, a necromancer can make it easier for bound wraiths in his service to function, or make it nearly impossible for ghosts to contact the material world.

System: To exercise Shroud Mastery, the necromancer expends two points of Willpower, then states whether he is attempting to raise or lower the Shroud. The player then makes a Willpower roll (difficulty 9). Each success on the roll raises or lowers the difficulties of all nearby wraiths’ attempts to cross the Shroud in any way by one, to a maximum of 10 or a minimum of 3. The Shroud reverts to its normal strength at a rate of one point per hour thereafter.

The Bone Path Edit

The Bone Path is concerned primarily with corpsesand the methods by which dead souls can be restoredto the living world — temporarily or otherwise.

• Tremens

Tremens allows a necromancer to make the flesh of a corpse shift once. An arm might suddenly flop forward, a cadaver might sit up, or dead eyes might abruptly open. This sort of thing tends to have an impressive impact on people who aren’t expecting a departed relative to roll over in his coffin.

System: To use Tremens, the necromancer spends a single blood point, and the player must succeed on a Dexterity + Occult roll (difficulty 6). The more successes that are achieved, the more complicated an action can be effected in the corpse. One success allows for an instantaneous movement, such as a twitch, while five allow the vampire to set up specific conditions under which the body animates (“The next time someone enters the room, I want the corpse to sit up and open its eyes.”). Under no circumstances can Tremens cause a dead body to attack or cause damage.

•• Apprentice’s Brooms

With Apprentice’s Brooms, the necromancer can make a dead body rise and perform a simple function. For example, the corpse could be set to carrying heavy objects, digging, or just shambling from place to place. The cadavers thus animated do not attack or defend themselves if interfered with, but instead attempt to carry out their given instructions until such time as they’ve been rendered inanimate. Generally it takes dismemberment, flame, or something similar to destroy a corpse animated in this way.

System: A roll of Wits + Occult (difficulty 7) and the expenditure of a point of both blood and Willpower are all that is necessary to animate corpses with Apprentice’s Brooms. The number of corpses animated is equal to the number of successes achieved. The necromancer must then state the task to which he is setting his zombies. The cadavers turn themselves to their work until they finish the job (at which point they collapse) or something (including time) destroys them.

Corpses animated in this way have no initiative of their own, and are unable to make value judgments. They respond to very literal instruction. Thus, a zombie could be told “sweep this room every day until all the dust and cobwebs are gone” or “transcribe this manuscript” with an expectation of reasonable results, while a more open-ended command such as “fix this motorcycle” or “research this Necromantic ritual and write down the results” would be doomed to failure.

Bodies energized by this power continue to decay, albeit at a much slower rate than normal.

Zombie Statistics
Corpses animated by a necromancer of the Bone Path have Strength 3, Dexterity 2, Stamina 4, Brawl 2, and always act last in a turn (unless there are mitigating circumstances). They have zero Willpower points to spend, but resist attacks as if they have Willpower ratings of 10. All Mental and Social ratings are zero for a reanimated corpse, and zombies never attempt to dodge. Zombies’ dice pools are not affected by damage, except that caused by fire or the claws and teeth of supernatural creatures. Most zombies have 10 health levels, but they are incapable of healing any damage they suffer. They have no minds or personalities to affect, so they are immune to uses of powers such as Dominate and Presence. Unless otherwise noted, they likewise cannot be usurped from the control of the necromancer invoking them.

••• Shambling Hordes

Shambling Hordes creates obvious results: reanimated corpses with the ability to attack, albeit neither very well nor very quickly. Once primed by this power, the corpses wait — for years, if necessary — to fulfill the command given them. The orders might be to protect a certain site or simply to attack immediately, but they will be carried out until every last one of the decomposing monsters is destroyed.

System: The player spends a point of Willpower. The player then must succeed on a Wits + Occult roll (difficulty 8). Each success allows the vampire to raise another corpse from the grave, and costs one blood point. If the player cannot or chooses not to pay the blood point cost of additional zombies past a certain number, the extra successes are simply lost. Each zombie can follow one simple instruction, such as “Stay here and guard this graveyard against any intruders,” or “Kill them!” Note: Zombies created by Shambling Hordes will wait forever if need be to fulfill their functions. Long after the flesh has rotted off their mystically animated bones, the zombies will wait and wait and wait, still able to perform their duties.

•••• Soul Stealing

This power affects the living, not the dead. It does, however, temporarily turn a living soul into a sort of wraith, as it allows a necromancer to strip a soul from a living body. A mortal exiled from his body by this power becomes a wraith with a single tie to the real world: his now-empty body.

System: The player spends a point of Willpower and then makes a contested Willpower roll against the intended victim (difficulty 6). Successes indicate the number of hours during which the original soul is forced out of its housing. The body itself remains autonomically alive but catatonic.

This power can be used to create suitable hosts for Daemonic Possession. It has no effect on Kindred or other supernatural creatures (except ghouls) until such creatures are dead – in the case of vampires, this means Final Death.

••••• Daemonic Possession

Daemonic Possession lets a vampire insert a soul into a freshly dead body. This does not turn the reanimated corpse into anything other than a reanimated corpse, one that will irrevocably decay after a week, but it does give either a wraith or a free-floating soul (say, that of a vampire using Psychic Projection) a temporary home in the physical world.

System: The body in question must be no more than 30 minutes dead, and the new tenant must agree to inhabit it — a ghost or astral form cannot be forced into a new shell. However, most ghosts would gladly seize the opportunity. Should the vampire, for whatever reason, wish to insert a soul into another vampire’s corpse (before it crumbles to ash), the necromancer must achieve five successes on a resisted Willpower roll against the original owner of the body. Otherwise, the interloper is denied entrance.

Note: The soul can use whatever physical abilities (Athletics, Brawl, Potence) his new fleshy home possesses, and whatever mental abilities (Computer, Law, Presence) he already possessed. He cannot use the physical abilities of his old form, or the mental abilities of his new one.

The Cenotaph Path Edit

Practitioners of the Cenotaph Path are primarily concerned with discovering or forging links between the living world and the Shadowlands. It functions on the principle that a Kindred, already a corpse, is an unnatural bridge between the living and the dead, and the necromancer can use this to find other, similar linkages. The basic rudiments of the Cenotaph Path function easily enough once the Kindred learns to attune himself to these connections. Advanced mastery of the path usually entails some brief ritual to forge artificial connections, either through focusing unsavory passions or commanding this world and the Shadowlands together.

• A Touch of Death

Just as a necromancer may exert mastery over the Shadowlands, so too can some ghosts exert themselves in the mortal world. Whereas obvious displays of ghostly power such as bleeding walls or disembodied moans certainly won’t be mistaken, some ghostly abilities exert subtle effects that aren’t easily recognized.

A necromancer sensitized to the residue of the dead, though, can feel whether an object has been touched by a ghost or sense the recent passage of a wraith.

System: The necromancer simply touches a person or object that he suspects is a victim of ghostly influence. The player rolls Perception + Awareness (difficulty 6). If successful, the necromancer can determine whether a ghost has exerted any sort of power on the subject, or even crossed nearby, to the duration detailed below.

Successes Result

1 success Last turn; detect use of ghostly powers

2 successes Last three turns; detect use of ghostly powers

3 successes Last hour; detect ghost’s touch and use of ghostly powers

4 successes Last day; detect ghost’s touch and use of ghostly powers

5 successes Last week; detect nearby passage of ghost, ghost’s touch, and use of ghostly powers

On a failure, the necromancer receives no impressions. A botch reveals a misleading answer (an object may seem tinged with ghostly power when it’s not, or vice versa). Should the necromancer succeed in detection while touching an object or person that a ghost is possessing, he immediately becomes aware that the ghost is still inside. The impression gained in such a case is sufficient to count as an image of the spirit for purposes of the Sepulchre Path’s powers, so the Kindred may be able to (for example) immediately command a ghost to exit a person whom it possesses.

•• Reveal the Catene

Necromantic compulsions function much more effectively when the caster uses an object of significance to the ghost in question. Such fetters tie the dead to the living lands through their remembered importance — a favored recliner for relaxing, a reviled piece of art foisted off by hated relatives, or some object of similarly intense emotion. Many necromancers can detect such catene through the use of rituals (see Ritual of the Unearthed Fetter). With this power, though, the necromancer can determine a fetter with just a few moments of handling. The Kindred simply runs his hands over the object and concentrates on it. He quickly receives an impression of the item’s (or person’s) importance to wraiths, if any; should the wraith be one known to the necromancer, he immediately recognizes the object as a fetter to that (or those) ghost(s). Successful identification of a connected ghost is not exclusive; that is, if the vampire determines that the object is important to a given wraith, he can also determine if there are other ghosts tied to the item, though he must use the power again to gain their identities. Many necromancers use this power on objects already identified with A Touch of Death, in order to determine whether the ghost is trying to attune a given fetter or simply toying with the world of the living.

System: The necromancer holds and examines the object for at least three turns — if it’s an item, this means turning it over in his hands, running his fingers along it, or otherwise giving it a critical eye; with a person, this may require a more… invasive… examination.

The player then spends a blood point and rolls Perception + Occult (difficulty 7). If successful, the Kindred determines whether the object holds any significance to any ghost and, with three or more successes, the identity of at least one such ghost (which allows the Kindred to use the Sepulchre Path on that wraith, if desired). If the necromancer already knows any of the ghosts involved, their ties are revealed with their identity — so, if the necromancer already knows a wraith well enough to summon and compel it with other powers, successful identification of a fetter tells whether the object is tied to that ghost, in addition to any other impressions gained.

If a botch is scored, the necromancer can never successfully use this power on the item being examined.

••• Tread Upon the Grave

The extended awareness granted with the Cenotaph Path allows the necromancer to find locations where the Shadowlands and the living world come close. Often, the necromancer experiences a chill or shiver when stepping into an area where the Underworld lies near the living one. With practice, the vampire can tell exactly where such locations are.

Experienced necromancers learn that certain locations are susceptible to ghostly influence; these haunted areas often become homes of a sort for ghosts. A knowledgeable vampire can thus discover places where the dead are likely to congregate, the better to snare them with other Necromancy powers.

System: The player simply declares intent to sense the Shroud in an area and makes a Willpower roll (difficulty 8). Success reveals whether the location is highly attuned to the Shadowlands, about average (not particularly close to the world of the dead), or far removed from the realm of death. A failing attempt at using the power has no adverse effect, though it may be attempted only once per scene (so the necromancer must either wait for a time or move to a different area before attempting Tread Upon the Grave once more).

A botch stuns the necromancer into inaction for a full turn and costs him a temporary Willpower point, as he is overcome by shivers and a sense of overwhelming despair.

With three or more successes, the necromancer can determine whether the Shroud’s strength has been artificially altered in the area.

•••• Death Knell

Not all who die go on to become ghosts — many lack the drive to hang on after death or simply have no overwhelming needs that compel them to stick around. Normally, even necromancers have no way to sort those who might become ghosts from the masses who go on to whatever rewards await. Over time, though, a necromancer can become sensitized to the pull that occurs when a soul escapes from a body only to hover in wait, enslaved by its desires. The weight of desperation becomes like a tangible tug, and some necromancers savor this emotion even as they follow the sensation to find the new ghost.

Of course, actually discovering the new ghost can be problematic. The Kindred may need some means to see through the Shroud or may have to send other wraiths to look for the new unfortunate, especially if a large accident or massacre leaves too many corpses for the necromancer to easily discern and test names. System: Whenever someone dies and becomes a ghost within a half-mile or kilometer of the necromancer, she automatically senses the demise (though many choose to ignore this “always-on” power unless actively seeking someone). This power does not automatically pinpoint the location of the new ghost or identify it, but the player may spend one Willpower point and roll Perception + Occult (difficulty 7) for the necromancer to gain a vague sense of the distance and direction to the new wraith. With one success, the Kindred may sense a vague pull in a general direction; with three successes, the necromancer can sense the direction and guess distance to within a quarter-mile or half a kilometer. With five successes, the necromancer immediately senses the location of the new ghost to within one foot or 30 cm. A failure carries no penalty but a botched attempt sends the necromancer scurrying off in the wrong direction.

The Storyteller may rule that disturbances in the Underworld, intervening magic, or other similar phenomena cloud this sensation, simply to prevent overburdening a chronicle with constant ghost-hunting and dice rolling.

••••• Ephemeral Binding

The most puissant necromancers learn not only to sense the ties between living and dead, but to forge such ties themselves. The master of Ephemeral Binding turns an otherwise mundane object or person into a depository for his own necromantic energy. The undying Curse transforms the subject into a sort of linkage between the living and dead. The necromancer smears his blood on the item in question, which mystically absorbs the vitae and, in doing so, becomes a vessel to anchor a spirit.

System: The necromancer must coat an object with his blood (a full blood point’s worth); if the subject is a person, then that individual must ingest the vitae. The player marks off the blood point, spends a point of Willpower, and rolls Manipulation + Occult (difficulty 8). If successful, the item temporarily becomes a fetter to one wraith. If the Kindred already knows the name of the wraith or has a strong psychic impression, then the object can become a fetter at any range, even to a ghost who normally does not come near the living world (so long as the ghost still exists). Otherwise, the necromancer must be able to see or sense the ghost (with Witness of Death, Shroudsight, or other such means).

A fetter artificially created in this fashion functions for all necromantic and ghostly purposes as a normal fetter: It can be detected with other Necromancy powers, the vampire gains a bonus to Necromancy against the wraith attuned to it, and the ghost similarly finds exertion of its powers easier upon the subject (so the vampire might turn an unwitting ghoul into a consort for a wraith familiar with possession…). The ghost can sink into the fetter to heal; conversely, if the fetter is destroyed, the wraith is banished to some inaccessible region of the Underworld, perhaps never to return.

A fetter created with Ephemeral Binding lasts for one night per success scored. The expenditure of an additional point of Willpower increases this duration to a week per success, whereas spending a permanent dot of Willpower extends the duration to a year and a day. Botching with this power not only causes failure but also makes the ghost immediately aware of what the necromancer was trying to do. Most ghosts do not take kindly to meddling Kindred trying to make artificial chains for them.

The Corpse in the Monster Edit

[Cappadocians][Harbringers of Skulls]

This path enhances the necromantic understanding of the unliving form and allows the user to fully experience the corpse as a gateway between life and death. The path lets the vampire apply some of a corpse’s traits to a vampire, and she can enhance or reduce these traits at various levels of the power.

• Masque of Death

The character with this ability can assume a visage of death or inflict that shape on another vampire. The victim’s flesh becomes pallid and thin (if it is not already), and skin pulls tight against bone. This ability can be very useful, as it allows one to hide in plain sight in a tomb or crypt at any time (though the character remains as vulnerable to sunlight and fire as ever).

When a necromancer uses this power on another Kindred, the victim gains the same corpselike demeanor. In this sense, the ability works as something of a minor curse.

System: The player spends one blood point for the character to gain the form described. Those afflicted with the Masque of Death lose two points of Dexterity and Appearance (minimum of 1 in Dexterity and 0 in Appearance) for the duration of the power. The player also gets two extra dice to his Intimidation dice pool, should he wish to terrify any onlookers. Further, if the character remains perfectly still, observers must roll five successes on a Perception + Medicine roll (difficulty 7) to distinguish the character from a normal corpse. The player doesn’t need to roll anything to have the character stop moving — vampires have no autonomic functions.

If the user inflicts Masque of Death on another vampire, he must spend a blood point, touch the target, and then make a Stamina + Medicine roll (difficulty equal to the target’s Stamina + 3). The Masque of Death lasts until the next sunset, unless the character who created the masque wishes to extinguish its effects earlier.

•• Cold of the Grave

The dead feel no pain, though most undead do. With this ability, the character can temporarily take on the unfeeling semblance of the dead, in order to protect herself from physical and emotional harm. When assuming the Cold of the Grave, the vampire’s skin becomes unusually cold. When she speaks, her breath mists even in warm air — those with exceptional senses might even see a slight red tinge to the breath. The power brings a sense of lethargy over the character, as a mortal might feel under the influence of a mildly unpleasant disease. It becomes difficult to rouse oneself to action, and very little seems important enough to really worry about. A corpse has no worries, after all.

System: The player spends one Willpower point. For the remainder of the scene, the character takes no wound penalties, and the player gains an additional die to all dice pools that involve resisting emotional manipulation, such as Intimidation or Empathy. However, the player also loses a die from dice pools to emotionally manipulate others. The character is a cold fish to those she interacts with, and they do not respond readily to her. The Cold of the Grave does not protect the character against the depredations of the Beast. She may be emotionally cold on the surface, but if others taunt and anger her sufficiently, she is still subject to frenzy as normal.

••• Curse of Life

The Curse of Life inflicts some of the undesirable traits of the living upon the undead, removing their corpselike nature and creating a false life to remind them of the worst things about being alive. Targets of this power regain only the unpleasant aspects of life, as culled from the memory of the Discipline’s user. This may include mundane hunger and thirst, sweat and other excretions, the need to urinate and defecate, a decrease in sensory acuity, and a particular vulnerability to attacks that the character might normally shrug off.

System: The player spends one Willpower and rolls Intelligence + Medicine (difficulty 8) to affect a target within line of sight and no farther than 20 yards or meters from the character. If the roll succeeds, the target suffers the weaknesses of the living without gaining any benefit from that state. He does not become immune to sunlight or holy artifacts, for instance. However, he does become badly distracted by mundane needs, with the net result that his player suffers a +2 difficulty penalty to all rolls. He can ignore these distractions at the cost of one Willpower point per scene. Additionally, the victim cannot use blood to raise his Physical Attributes while this power is in effect, and Willpower cannot eliminate this penalty. The power remains in effect until the next sunset.

•••• Gift of the Corpse

This power, one of the most potent on the Corpse in the Monster path, enables a necromancer to ignore most of her race’s inherent weaknesses for a short time. A dead body is not particularly vulnerable to sunlight, holy artifacts, frenzy, or being staked through the heart, after all, and so it is with a vampire using the Gift of the Corpse. As with the Cold of the Grave, above, the character using this power takes on an even more deathlike mien. It lasts for less than a minute, typically, but that time may be enough to enable a character to charge through a burning building without fearing frenzy or instant death.

System: The player spends one Willpower and rolls Stamina + Occult (difficulty 8). For every success, the character can spend one turn in a state in which he is more akin to an animated corpse than a vampire. Holy artifacts and sanctified ground have no effect, and the character is immune to frenzy and Rötschreck. Sunlight does only bashing damage, and then only if bare skin is exposed on a clear day. Being staked through the heart is only as much of a danger as getting stabbed through his dead spleen would be. Fire harms him only as it would a mortal — causing lethal damage instead of aggravated.

Should the character end the power’s duration while exposed to any of the aforementioned harmful things, he immediately takes their full effect. If he is staked, he become immobilized; if he is on or near fire, he begins to take the damage a Cainite should take, and he must immediately roll against Rötschreck.

••••• Gift of Life

With the Gift of Life, the character can experience the best and most positive things about being alive. The overwhelming hunger for blood temporarily abates, allowing the character to consume and enjoy food and drink. She can also enjoy sex as she wishes, and the sun does not burn her. The Gift of Life comes with a dark, terrible cost, however. Its use is almost sure to result in the death of a mortal, as the vampire must expend an enormous quantity of vitae in order to initiate it. The Discipline’s effects last until the midnight after the character uses the power, so it is in her best interests to use it just after midnight.

System: The player spends 12 blood points, burning as much blood as possible each turn until she meets that level. She then rolls Stamina + Occult (difficulty 6) and needs only one success for the power to work. A botch has catastrophic effects. The character might be instantly killed or might inadvertently Embrace her victim, for example. If it takes longer than one turn to spend the necessary blood to enact this ability, it does not take effect until all 12 points have been spent. However, the blood must be spent continuously — the vampire cannot burn five, run off and feed, then burn seven more an hour later. On the other hand, she may feed as she activates the power — in one turn she might burn one blood point while drinking three. Since few Kindred above the Seventh Generation can easily expend such an amount of blood, the most efficient way to activate this power is to have a human nearby who can be sacrificed to power the transformation. After her transformation, the character gains many traits of an ordinary human. She is largely immune to the scorching effects of the sun (Fortitude difficulties to soak damage from direct sunlight are halved, and she takes no damage if she is sufficiently covered), and she can experience and enjoy many of the fine things about human life. She retains a few of her vampiric benefits, however. Fortitude and Auspex abilities remain in place if she has either of those Disciplines, and the Storyteller may allow her to retain other Disciplines as well if he deems them dramatically appropriate. She also retains a vampire’s benefits when it comes to handling bashing damage. However, she is still vulnerable to holy artifacts, human faith, and being staked. Her blood remains vitae, not human blood. Use of this ability — which creates a mockery of human life — may interfere with a character’s Path advancement, at the Storyteller’s discretion.

The vampire is no more vulnerable to fire than any other mortal while in this half-alive state, but she still suffers somewhat from the Beast. Frenzy and Rötschreck difficulties are halved (round up). She can remain active during the day without Humanity or Path-based dice pool caps, although she is certainly tired during the day, since that is not her usual time of activity. Her Beast exacts a dangerous retribution when her day of “life” is done. Although its influence is greatly suppressed during this power’s duration, the Beast has its way with the vampire for the next six nights, as all difficulties to resist frenzy increase by three. The wise necromancer hides herself away somewhere during that period, but, depending on morality and temperament, enforced isolation might drive her to frenzy on its own.

The Grave’s Decay Edit

[Cappadocians][Harbringers of Skulls]

This path is derived from the observation of the working of time on all things mortal. Stone crumbles and the corpse rots away to nothing, a process of endless fascination to the lost Cainites known as Cappadocians. Indeed, for the undying, the process of decay is a fascinating disease that afflicts everyone and everything save them. Under this path, a practitioner of Necromancy channels that force.

• Destroy the Husk

Cainites who kill their victims, rather than just feeding upon them, frequently find themselves in need of a quick way to dispose of a corpse. While there are many ways to make sure that a corpse is not found — feed it to a pack of hounds or weigh it down and throw it in a river — many of these methods do involve risk to the vampire and are not guaranteed to succeed. Destroy the Husk, by contrast, is foolproof. Use of this power simply turns one human corpse to a pile of about 30 pounds (13 kilograms) of unremarkable dust, roughly the size and shape of that body.

System: The player spends one blood point as the vampire drips her vitae onto the corpse. The player then rolls Intelligence + Medicine (difficulty 6). One success is all that is needed to render the corpse into dust, although the process takes a number of turns equal to five minus the successes.

•• Rigor Mortis

One of the first changes that comes over a dead body is rigidity; the corpse becomes stiff as a board, frozen in a single pose. The Cainite who wields Rigor Mortis is able to push a living or undead body to that frozen point using only his will and understanding of the forces of decay. She forces her target to become rigid and unable to move without enormous effort of will, as his very muscles betray him.

System: The player spends a point of Willpower and rolls Intelligence + Medicine (difficulty 7). Each success freezes the target in place for one turn. A failure simply indicates the loss of the Willpower point, while a botch renders the target immune to powers in the Grave’s Decay path for the next 24 hours. The target must be visible and within about 25 yards or meters for this ability to take effect. A frozen target is treated as though he has been staked (see p. 280). With a Willpower roll (difficulty 7) and two successes, the target can break out of the rigor on her turn. Failure causes her a level of bashing damage and means another turn wasted and frozen.

••• Wither

Reminiscent of some of the powers of Vicissitude, Wither allows a vampire to cripple an opponent’s limb. Whether the foe is living or undead, muscle shrivels away, skin peels, and bone becomes brittle. The target is unable to exert any noteworthy strength in the crippled limb. This injury lasts for far longer than most injuries trouble vampires, and in mortals it simply does not heal.

Wither doesn’t have to be used on a limb, although that is its usual purpose. It can also be used simply to affect the target’s face and hair, making him appear far older than his years. It could also be applied to a target’s eye or ear, killing the sense in that organ (and thus requiring two uses to permanently blind or deafen).

Wither cannot be used as an “instant-kill” power — necromancers cannot wither internal organs — but it can inflict a wide variety of injuries on a foe.

System: The player spends a Willpower point. The character chooses a limb on the target and then touches that limb. If the target is trying to avoid contact, the invoker’s player rolls Dexterity + Brawl to hit as normal. If the character succeeds in touching the intended limb, the target suffers two aggravated wounds. Unless the target soaks both wounds (such as with Fortitude), the struck limb is crippled and unusable until both of those wounds have healed. Kindred heal the wounds as they would any other aggravated wound. Mortals are incapable of healing aggravated wounds, so they suffer throughout their lives unless they are healed through supernatural means. A withered limb does not degenerate further, even on a mortal. The character may be crippled for life, but the limb won’t become infected or gangrenous.

The effects of the withering depend on the affected limb. A crippled arm has a Strength of 0, cannot benefit from Potence, and cannot carry anything heavier than about half a pound (200 grams). A crippled leg prevents the character from moving faster than a stuttering hop or dragging limp. The character suffers the effects of the Lame Flaw. A single withered eye or ear imposes a +1 difficulty to relevant Perception rolls. Losing both eyes or both ears imposes the effects of the Blind or Deaf Flaws. A withered tongue imposes the effects of the Mute Flaw, while a withered face reduces the target’s Appearance by one for each aggravated wound suffered.

•••• Corrupt the Undead Flesh

Corrupt the Undead Flesh blurs the line between life and undeath, turning an undead creature into something just living enough to carry and suffer from disease. The disease inflicts the target, causing lethargy, dizziness, loss of strength, clumsiness, and the inability to keep blood in his system. This pernicious influence is extremely virulent among mortals. They pick the disease up simply by spending a few hours near the victim. Other vampires have a harder time acquiring the disease. They must consume the victim’s blood to do so, but afterward, they suffer just as much as the original target — including passing the affliction on to others.

The disease fades after roughly a week.

System: The player chooses a target within her character’s line of sight and no more than 20 yards or meters away. She rolls Intelligence + Medicine (difficulty 6) and spends a point of Willpower. The victim’s player must roll Stamina (+ Fortitude, if appropriate) against a difficulty equal to the attacker’s Willpower. If the player scores more successes than the victim, he acquires a virulent disease immediately. The disease has the following effects:

• The victim’s Strength and Wits are halved (round down).

• The victim loses one point of Dexterity.

• The victim’s player must spend one additional blood point every evening for the vampire to rouse himself to consciousness. Mortals lose one health level per day instead.

• The victim’s player must roll Self-Control or Instinct each time the character feeds (difficulty 8). On a failure, the vampire cannot keep the blood he just ingested inside his body, and he vomits it up in great horrifying gouts of gore, losing any benefit the blood might have provided. Humans vomit up food.

Every evening at sunset, the victim has a chance to throw off the plague. The victim’s player rolls Stamina, with a difficulty equal to 10 minus the number of sunsets since acquiring the plague. On a successful roll, the character fights the disease to a standstill and begins to recover. He instantly regains his ability to manage blood, and he heals back one lost Attribute point per hour until all have returned.

••••• Dissolve the Flesh

This ability brings the Grave’s Decay path full circle, as it causes Destroy the Husk to apply to vampires. Dissolve the Flesh allows a necromancer to attempt to turn vampiric flesh to dust or ash, as though the target had been burned or left out in the sun.

System: The player spends two blood points and a Willpower point as the vampire extracts a quantity of her vitae charged with the power of the grave. If she drips it onto a single Kindred victim anytime within the next few turns (most of the blood must reach the victim, so flinging a few drops is ineffective), it causes whole chunks of the victim’s body to crumble to ash.

The player rolls Willpower against a difficulty of the victim’s Stamina + 3. For every success, the target takes one aggravated wound.

The undead flesh damaged by this power turns to dust (gone for the time being), and it must be regenerated painstakingly by the victim, should he survive. That dust doubtlessly has mystical properties that various sorcerers might be able to take advantage of. Every wound inflicted by this ability represents the loss of about one-eighth of the target’s weight; the Storyteller chooses where the loss comes from. (It might also be shed from all over, leaving the victim a bit gaunter or missing chunks of flesh.)

Regenerating body parts occurs naturally while healing aggravated wounds at the normal rate.

Path of Haunting Edit

As the Maeghar fell farther away from the world and into darkness, their powers of illusion and trickery were warped by the shadows of Oblivion. Slowly they kindled within themselves the dark spark that would grow into the Path of Haunting. Other necromancers may also learn Path of Haunting and, indeed, Clan Giovanni has created it on its own.

• Song of the Dead

The necromancer weaves death and silence into a haunting song that instills an obsession with death in her listener. The victim becomes sure that death stalks him and sees ill omens everywhere. This constant threat can eventually lead a mortal to suicide or drive a vampire into torpor.

System: The vampire chants to the victim while her player spends one blood point and rolls Manipulation + Occult (difficulty of the target’s current Willpower). A botch indicates the vampire affects herself as though she had gained successes equal to the number of 1s rolled. For a number of nights equal to the successes rolled, the target suffers depression and morbid anxiety. This fixation adds +2 to the difficulty of Social rolls (except those involving Intimidation) and +1 to the difficulty of all other non-reflexive rolls. If a target suffers the effects of this power for more continuous nights than his permanent Willpower, he loses a dot of permanent Willpower. This cycle continues after an interval of the new rating in days, with the victim losing a dot of permanent Willpower after each such iteration.

Once a character drops to zero permanent Willpower, he commits suicide (if living) or falls into torpor (if a vampire). If the power is interrupted for at least one night, the victim recovers his permanent Willpower at the rate of one dot per week. A vampire who falls into torpor from reaching zero Willpower awakens with his original rating.

•• Summon Wisp

Straddling two worlds, the necromancer does not truly exist. She is here, yet she is not. Reaching into herself, she infuses a spark of her own ephemeral nature with dark, necromantic energy. The result is a dancing light, which is as hypnotic as it is treacherous.

System: The player spends one blood point and rolls Charisma + Occult (difficulty 5) to conjure an orb of pale light that lasts one scene. The wisp can take any color the vampire chooses and has no substance or weight. It may fly as fast as the vampire can run, casting cold illumination as bright as a candle. Mortals who behold the wisp must roll Willpower (difficulty 4) and achieve more successes than the caster or fall into a mild trance, which adds +1 to the difficulty of all actions due to distraction. If the vampire’s successes are double the mortal’s, he follows the light without regard for any but the most obvious obstacles. He walks around trees and rocks, but falls prey to quicksand or a high parapet. Any loud noise or other distraction immediately breaks the reverie.

If the vampire’s player botches the conjuration roll, the wisp appears and acts with its own malevolent agenda. Such a creature is only a nuisance, but can display remarkable cunning in luring enemies to the vampire’s haven or giving away her position.

••• Harrowing

Even dreams offer no respite to the enemies of the necromancer. Restful sleep becomes pure terror as Song of the Dead continues to haunt the sleeper through nightmares.

System: The vampire makes eye contact with the victim, while her player spends one blood point and rolls Manipulation + Occult (difficulty of the target’s permanent Willpower). If successful, the victim feels a slight sense of unease. When he next sleeps, he suffers horrible nightmares about his own demise. Even though he cannot fully remember the content of his visions after he wakes, the emotional trauma prevents him from regaining Willpower.

In addition, his twisted déjà vu and unnatural paranoia give him the Nightmares and Eerie Presence Flaws for the day. A botch in casting this power inflicts the same terrible dreams on the vampire when she slumbers.

•••• Phantasms

The necromancer recognizes the passion of the dead as an illusion. Drawing upon her insight, she may turn these illusions to haunt the living.

System: The vampire envisions the desired apparition, while the player spends one blood point and rolls Manipulation + Occult (difficulty 7). These creations have no substance and cannot speak or perform complicated actions, though they emit a surreal cold. Each success allows the vampire to create one phenomenon, or add one characteristic or condition to another phantom. For example, three successes could animate shadows to shuffle and writhe (one success) and create an illusion of dripping gore that bursts into a spray of flies when someone draws close (one success for the gore and one success for the condition). This power may create apparitions anywhere in the caster’s line of sight. The Storyteller remains the final arbiter of what is or is not possible with this power.

A botch calls the attention of a malefic ghost, giving the vampire the Haunted Flaw for a number of nights equal to the 1s rolled.

••••• Torment

The distinction between life and death means nothing to the necromancer — it is another illusion, created for the comfort of the living. She may rend this veil and call upon malicious apparitions to haunt her victim.

System: The player spends one blood point and rolls Manipulation + Occult (difficulty 8). On a botch, the vampire permanently gains the Haunted Flaw, attracting the vilest and most hateful ghosts. If successful, the victim feels a sudden chill. The difficulty for ghosts to affect the target with any power decreases by one for every success rolled, to a minimum of difficulty 4. Malicious ghosts flock to the target, eagerly inflicting every horror at their disposal. The difficulty reduction diminishes by one every day at dawn until the victim returns to normal and the spectres lose interest. Multiple applications of this power may not be stacked to increase duration or intensity of effect. The statistics and powers of spectres are left to the Storyteller, but the experience should terrify the character utterly and may well result in derangements at the least.

Path of the Four Humors Edit

[Harbringers of Skulls][Lamiae]

Philosophically, the four humors represent different qualities, split along two axes: hot and cold, and wet and dry. Blood is hot and wet; phlegm is cold and wet; yellow bile is hot and dry; and black bile is cold and dry. Historically, when a mortal was out of sorts or ill, it was said that his humors were out of balance, and a philosopher or physician would try to heal him by bringing his humors back into balance. Ancient necromancers believed that in their undead forms, all four humors were held in a mystical stasis, and that they could tap into all four of them instead of merely tapping into blood in the form of vitae as other vampires did.

This antiquated path was primarily considered the knowledge of the Lamia bloodline, and certainly very few necromancers have learned this path without tutoring from a Lamia. Since the loss of the Lamia, elder necromancers have searched everywhere (both in this world and the next) for clues to its existence.

• Whispers to the Soul

The necromancer with this ability can let slip a little of her own undead bilious humor as she speaks to another being (whether mortal or Kindred). The wicked vapor slips into the target’s ear and whispers nightmares to the target throughout the day and night. The target has a harder time sleeping, and becomes irritable and distracted during his waking hours.

System: The character must whisper the target’s name (as she knows it) into his ear. The victim rolls Willpower (difficulty 8). If the roll fails, the victim suffers from nightmares and hears mad, wicked mutterings while awake, for a number of full days equal to the necromancer’s Manipulation. The victim loses one die from all dice pools while thus afflicted, and at the Storyteller’s discretion, the difficulty to resist Rötschreck may be increased by one at the same time.

•• Kiss of the Dark Mother

Kiss of the Dark Mother allows the necromancer who uses it to mix her vitae with black bile, turning it into a noxious poison. The necromancer forces it into her mouth as saliva might once have come; the vitae tastes acrid and bitter, as though it had been scorched. Once the necromancer coats her teeth and lips with it, she can inflict terrible damage with her bite.

System: The player spends one blood point; activating this power is a reflexive action, but it must be done before making a bite attack. If the bite hits, the aggravated damage inflicted by a single bite is doubled before soak is calculated. This power does not affect the character’s ability to drain blood from the target, nor does it increase the amount of damage done by blood loss. The necromancer’s bite remains potent until this ability is discharged by a successful hit or she spends one turn cleansing the dark blood from her mouth.

••• Dark Humors

The vampire can exude a coat of a particular humor onto her skin, causing all that touch it to experience the most intense form of that humor. After a necromancer has used this power, she generally feels the opposite of the sensation the humor usually conveys:

Using blood leaves her depressed and pessimistic; using yellow bile renders her calm and placid; using black bile leaves her optimistic; and using phlegm makes her aroused and angry.

System: The player spends two blood points. The necromancer chooses which humor she wishes to excrete. The humor can simply coat the skin — in which case touching the victim’s skin lets the humor take effect — or it can act as a poison if placed in a beverage (or in vitae). The victim must make a Stamina roll (difficulty 8) to resist the effects of the humor:

• Phlegm: Target becomes lethargic; all dice pools are reduced by two for the remainder of the scene.

• Blood (vitae): Target becomes prone to excessive bleeding, and any lethal or aggravated wounds he suffers deal an additional health level of damage on the turn after they originally occur. Vitae altered by Dark Humors will not turn a human into a ghoul if ingested, nor will it initiate a blood bond.

• Black Bile: Target suffers a number of health levels of damage equal to the necromancer’s Stamina. This damage is considered lethal and can be soaked (if the victim is normally capable of soaking such damage), though armor does not protect against it.

• Yellow Bile: Target becomes melancholic and is plagued with visions of death. He cannot spend Willpower for the remainder of the scene, and all Willpower rolls receive a +2 difficulty.

•••• Clutching the Shroud

Blood, the sanguine humor, was regarded by philosophers as being both hot and wet. Blood from a cold corpse has been transubstantiated into a dead form — a cold incarnation of a hot, wet element. This transformation of the living into death holds great power; the necromancer knows how to infuse her own being with the blood of a cold corpse and transform herself into something not wholly vampiric. Instead, the necromancer edges closer to being an animated corpse in fact as well as name. She grows distant and chill, as though possessed by the spirit of Death itself; she has to work to push her attention into the physical world.

System: The character must drink, and then spend, five blood points from a cold corpse (one dead for 24 hours or more, but generally less than three days). It will generally take at least two turns to consume that blood, and the power is not activated until the character can spend all of it. For example, if the character is Twelfth Generation, Clutching the Shroud takes at least seven turns total to activate (two to consume the blood and five to spend it).

After the power is active and for the rest of the scene, the necromancer gains several benefits. First, she receives two additional soak dice, which may be used to soak any sort of damage, even if the character does not possess Fortitude. Second, she gains a mystic sense of how far those in the area are from death — whether they are healthy or infirm, suffer from diseases, or are undead, ghouls, or mortals. Finally, a Manipulation + Occult roll lets her speak with ghosts freely. The difficulty for this roll depends on how attuned to death a locale is; a cemetery would be difficulty 5, while a cozy apartment might be difficulty 7. However, this ability makes the necromancer much more susceptible to the effects of powers used by ghosts, which means that she must act carefully.

••••• Black Breath

A necromancer who has mastered this path can harness the undead black bile that festers at the core of her being; she pulls that melancholy to her lungs and lets it mingle with her outgoing breath. She then exhales the dark mist, letting it engulf those nearby. The necromancer feels curiously lightheaded and optimistic after using this power, as she has forced some of her most depressed nature out into the world; those caught in the black vapors grow despairing and hopeless.

System: The player spends one Willpower and one blood point, and rolls Stamina + Athletics (difficulty 7). Black Breath allows the character to exhale a dark cloud of vapor that is five yards or meters in diameter per success rolled. Those caught in the mists may attempt a Dexterity + Athletics roll to escape it if they have an available action; otherwise, they may be overwhelmed by depression to the point of suicide. Those who cannot escape the mists must immediately roll Willpower (difficulty 8 for mortals, 7 for supernatural beings) and achieve more successes than the invoker did. Mortals who fail in this actively attempt to kill themselves on their next turn. They do not attempt such ludicrous suicides as praying for a lightning bolt or holding their breath; they use the most effective means at hand to end their own lives. If prevented from suicide, they attempt it again as soon as an opportunity presents itself. This impulse lasts for the rest of the scene, and the Storyteller may impose flare-ups over the next day or so at his discretion. Those who succeed on the Willpower roll still become enchanted with the prospect of death, whether mortal or Kindred, and lose two dice from all dice pools for the rest of the scene.

Kindred who fail the Willpower roll do not attempt suicide; as they are already dead, the malign influences of undead humors do not have as strong an effect on them. Instead, the affected vampire sinks into torpor. The duration of this torpor is based on the vampire’s Humanity or Path rating, just as if lethal wounds had forced him into it.

Vitreous Path Edit

[Nagaraja]

The Vitreous Path allows a necromancer to control and influence the energies pertaining to death. This extremely rare path manipulates entropy, a force that even most necromancers are uncomfortable harnessing. A development of the Nagaraja bloodline (although they sometimes call the path “Nihilistics”), the Vitreous Path makes a formidable complement to the necromantic craft, and those obsessed with mastery over death and souls — such as the Harbingers of Skulls — would certainly risk much to uncover this path’s secrets.

Like most necromancers, Nagaraja generally learn the Sepulchre Path before any others. The Vitreous Path is usually their second focus of study.

• Eyes of the Dead

The necromancer employing the Eyes of the Dead can see with the perceptions of the Restless Dead (called Deathsight). To such a manipulator of ghostly energies, the auras of surrounding beings give off telltale hints as to their health and even their ultimate fate; the necromancer can see the energies of death flowing through everyone, just as ghosts can. By looking at the entropic markings on a person’s body, the necromancer can gain rough knowledge of how far that person is from death, how soon that person is likely to die, and even what the cause of her death is likely to be. The information thus gained is not exact by any means, but it gives the necromancer an edge over those she scrutinizes.

System: The player rolls Perception + Occult, difficulty 6. One success lets a necromancer determine whether someone is injured, diseased, or dying, as well as whether the individual labors under any sort of curse or baleful magic.

Further, the vampire can divine the target’s eventual demise, depending on the successes scored. One success means the character can guess how long the target has to live to within a few weeks. Three successes means the character can estimate how long the target has to live and what the probable source of death will be, as the entropic markings show the wounds that will someday exist on that person. Five successes means the character can actually see where and when the event will occur by interpreting the black marks on the target’s soul.

This ability lasts for one scene, though the necromancer may choose to end the power early. It can be used to read the fate of only one target at a time. Storytellers should exercise judgment with this power, since the markings of death are typically unavoidable. He may decide to roll the dice himself, so that the player has no way of knowing whether her insight is correct.

•• Aura of Decay

The necromancer can strengthen the feeling of entropy around her to the point where it breaks down nonliving objects and machines. It can gnarl wood, rust metal, crack silicon chips, and erode plastic, glass, and dead organic material. This power has a range of one yard or meter from the necromancer’s body, but all those in the presence of the vampire can feel her corruption as an icy wind.

System: No roll is required, but this power does cost at least one blood point. Objects subjected to this Aura of Decay break down and become useless after being targeted. How the object gives out, as well as the exact mechanism of failure, is up to the Storyteller. Corrosion, metal fatigue, or sheer brittleness are all suitably likely for any given item’s demise, but the in-game effect of using a doomed item is as if the owning character rolled a botch. The speed at which an item breaks down depends on how many blood points are spent.

Blood Spent Time to Breakdown

One One week

Two One day

Three End of scene

Four Five turns

Five One turn

Note that since this power requires the expenditure of blood points, a character cannot cause an Aura of Decay while staked.

••• Soul Feast

Just as the necromancer can release entropic energies from within, she may also pull them into herself as a source of power. Soul Feasting allows the caster to either draw on the ambient death energies around her or to actively feed on a ghost, stealing the wraith’s substance and mystically transforming that energy into sustenance.

System: The player spends one Willpower point to allow the vampire to feed on the negative energies of the dead. If the character is drawing the energies from the atmosphere, she must be in a place where death has occurred within the hour or in a place where death is common, such as a cemetery, a morgue, or the scene of a recent murder. Generally, the necromancer can draw anywhere from one to four points of entropy from such a location, although the difficulty in using all Necromancy and similar deathly powers within the area increases by an equal amount for a number of nights equal to the points taken. The energies of such an area may only be drained once until the area’s entropy replenishes.

In cases when the necromancer feeds on a ghost, the vampire must actually attack the wraith as if feeding normally. Wraiths have up to 10 “blood points” that may be taken from them, and they become less and less substantial as their spirit essence drains away. The character is vulnerable to any attack the ghost might make, even those that do not normally affect the physical world; while feeding, the vampire is essentially in a half-state, existing in both the living lands and the Underworld simultaneously. The wraith so attacked is considered immobilized and cannot run or escape unless it can defeat the vampire in a resisted Willpower roll (difficulty 6 for both sides). This power may also be used in conjunction with Ash Path Necromancy, allowing the vampire to drain power (though not sustenance) from ghosts while traveling in the lands of the dead.

This soul energy may be used just like blood in every respect except for when the vampire rises for the night. It can activate Disciplines, heal wounds, boost Attributes, etc. Botching this power renders the vampire unable to feed through the Shroud for the rest of the night. However, she remains susceptible to the assaults of ghosts and spirits for several turns (generally, a number of turns equal to the amount of energy that could have been drawn from the area, or one turn if attacking a ghost) as she hovers between worlds, unable to function effectively in either.

•••• Breath of Thanatos

The Breath of Thanatos allows the necromancer to draw out entropic energy and focus it upon an area or person by taking a deep breath and then forcefully exhaling a fog of necromantic energy. This cloud of virulence is completely invisible to anyone without the ability to see the passing of entropy. The energy of this cloud is like a beacon for Spectres, and they are drawn to the entropic force like moths to a flame.

Once the energy is pulled from the necromancer’s body, she can either disperse it over a large area as a lure for Spectres, or use the mist for more sinister purposes. Channeled into an object or person, the deathmist inflicts the subject with a debilitating, wasting illness. Furthermore, the focused energies are tainted and eerie, and though generally invisible (except to powers such as Aura Perception), they tend to cause people and animals to feel uncomfortable around the victim.

System: The player spends one blood point and rolls Willpower (difficulty 8). Only one success is needed to draw out the Breath of Thanatos. If dispersed to summon Spectres, the energies cover roughly one-quarter of a mile (400 meters) in radius, centered around the necromancer. The range increases by an additional one-quarter mile or 400 meters for every additional blood point expended.

Spectres summoned with this power will ignore the summoning necromancer for the duration of the power unless provoked, but may well go out of their way to wreak havoc on anyone else in the vicinity. The necromancer can then use other Necromancy powers (such as those in the Sepulchre Path) to manipulate and affect these Spectres. Ghosts so targeted may then interact with the necromancer as normal, although the other Spectres in the area will continue to ignore both the vampire and the targeted ghost. This energy disperses after a scene, after which the Spectres leave to find new prey. Mechanics for Spectres can be found on.

If the cloud is directed toward a particular target, the necromancer must either touch the target or direct the stream of entropy using Dexterity + Occult (difficulty 7). A target laden with entropy suffers one (and only one) level of aggravated damage; this generally manifests as sudden illness or decay. The target’s social difficulties while interacting with those unfamiliar with the touch of death — most normal humans, as well as some supernatural creatures — increase by 2. Furthermore, supernatural perceptions indicate the target is tainted with decay, which can be dangerous. This form of taint lasts until sunrise; a victim already plagued by this power cannot be affected again until the previous fog of entropy has dispersed.

A botch on the roll to control this power indicates that the vampire has turned the energy upon himself, and suffers all the effects of the vitriolic breath. This inflicts the usual injury and may subject the necromancer to the possibly dangerous attention of provoked Spectres and other creatures from beyond the grave.

••••• Night Cry

The breath of entropic energy becomes a scream of pure chaos. The necromancer can issue an unearthly cry (heard both in the living world and in the Shadowlands). The howl pours icy oblivion into a target or group of targets — either sweeping away the inherent entropy or collecting that destruction and unleashing it.

System: The vampire chooses a number of targets within one yard or meter per dot of Necromancy and invokes Night Cry with a terrible scream. The player spends a Willpower point and a blood point for each target beyond the first. (In other words, she spends no blood if only going after one target, or one blood for two targets. Generational blood limits apply, and the vampire may not “pre-spend” blood prior to using Night Cry.)

The player then chooses whether the vampire will aid or harm the targets, and rolls Manipulation + Occult (difficulty 6). If she chooses to aid the target or targets, each success gives each affected target a -2 difficulty modifier to all of his actions for one turn per success. If she instead chooses harm, each success causes an aggravated wound to each target. Targets may be any kind of living creature, including supernatural ones. No matter the result, the Night Cry is heard on both sides of the Shroud, attracting the attention of anyone nearby. On a botch, the necromancy may summon unruly ghosts or Spectres, similar to Breath of Thanatos (although the ghosts are under no compulsion to ignore the necromancer…).

The Nightshade Path Edit

[Tal'Mahe'Ra][Bahari][Drakaina]

Developed by the Drakaina, this Path of Necromancy studies natural cycles, including the savage interplay of life and death. All life is a manifestation of entropy, a chaotic miracle punctuating Creation’s flow toward destruction. When rot claims a body, it impregnates the flesh with insects and lush plants, and its stench calls scavengers who sustain themselves with death’s bounty.

Vampires demonstrate how this process can be arrested and manipulated, for Kindred stand suspended at the moment of death, before nature blesses them with the power to decompose and feed living things. The black seed lies dormant within them, but they can encourage its growth in others, manipulating rot and staining life with the ghostly essence.

Although the Drakaina developed the Path, they don’t hoard it — it’s the Dark Mother’s gift, to share with all who worship her. Any Bahari necromancer may learn it from a Drakaina teacher. Lilin Nagaraja practice this Path in increasing numbers because it unifies the life and death principles in ways anticipated (but never realized) by their Idran forebears.

• Tend the Body Garden

Modern forensics makes it possible to determine time of death with remarkable accuracy — a frightening prospect for Kindred with bodies to hide. On the other hand, sometimes it’s better for people to find corpses before rot takes them. Presenting evidence that elder Kindred have suffered the Final Death is sometimes difficult to come by, as their bodies rapidly molder into nondescript ash. A necromancer with this power overcomes these difficulties.

She can speed up or slow the process of decay, turning a dead mortal into a bloated host for flies in seconds or nullifying the decay of Final Death.

System: The player spends one blood point as the vampire lets some of her blood drip on to a corpse, and rolls Wits + Occult (difficulty 6). Successes allow the vampire to accelerate or arrest decomposition as follows:

Successes Delay or Accelerate Rot by:

1 Up to one day

2 Up to one week

3 Up to one month

4 Up to one year

5+ Storyteller’s discretion

The vampire may use this power on mortals and animals as long as the remains have not been substantially scattered. It may be used on Kindred no longer than one turn after they’ve met Final Death. Corpses that recently belonged to the living change according to local conditions, so that one stored in a dry place might mummify, while another that rests on soil quickly sprouts plants and maggots. Living things that feed from the dead are quickened or held in stasis as the corpse is, provided they’re plants, fungi, or no larger than a scarab beetle. Kindred under Final Death wither and fall to dust without attracting such organisms.

•• Witch’s Fruit

Every plant relies on death to grow. Rotting things enrich the soil, and the trees, vines, and grasses drink up necrotic echoes along with vital nutrients. A necromancer can awaken this death aura by exposing their fruits to her blood. She awakens and concentrates their trace necrotic energies so that anyone who consumes them can sense and touch the Shadowlands.

System: The player spends a blood point while the vampire touches edible plant matter. No roll is required. The first living creature to eat this tainted meal falls into a waking, ambulatory trance for a scene, during which she may see into the Shadowlands, hear its denizens, and even touch and be touched by ghosts. The target may not make physical contact with buildings and other objects that were never alive, and may not be dragged into the Tempest or any other place that has no corresponding location in the living world. Tainted plant matter rots by the next sunrise and loses the ability to impart this state.

Witches’ fruits are mild hallucinogens. Twisted visions of ghosts and long-fallen buildings disorient mortals under their influence. This normally imposes +2 to difficulties to perform any actions except for Willpower rolls while affected. Creatures who are familiar with supernatural phenomena don’t suffer this penalty.

••• Raise the Green One

Tales of Kid, Osiris, and the Green Man all describe beings who were brought back from death and clothed in verdant color. Isis raised Osiris to become a symbol of rebirth and growth, and neopagans say Green Man iconography remembers the god who is slain by Winter and reborn in the Goddess’ womb. Nightshade necromancers channel these legends into the act of raising a corpse bound and strengthened by plant matter. Leaves cover its skin and strong vines supplement its rotted sinews. The living shell grants speed and self-preservation instincts not seen in other animated dead.

System: The player rolls Wits + Occult (difficulty 8). He spends one Willpower point and one blood point while concentrating on a corpse that lays upon or within fertile soil. If the roll succeeds, red-tinged vines, branches, and leaves envelop the corpse, and it rises to do the necromancer’s bidding. The necromancer may only raise the Green Ones one at a time, and may never have multiple Green Ones active at the same time.

Green Ones are stronger, faster, and possess better instincts than most zombies. Their traits are Strength 4, Dexterity 4, Stamina 4, Athletics 2, Brawl 3, and the equivalent of 2 dots of Fortitude, as their damp bodies resist injuries. Bashing damage inflicts half damage to a Green One. Like vampires, they suffer bashing damage from gunfire. Unlike ordinary zombies, they act in standard initiative order.

•••• Wails and Whispers

As the necromancer’s understanding deepens, she explores the wavering barrier between life and death. When she screams like a banshee, she can lure a soul to its demise, increasing the chance of a fatal injury. When she whispers like a mother to her child, she can fix a soul in the lands of the living, even when it occupies a body that should be dead.

System: The vampire concentrates on a target, screaming or whispering as her intentions dictate. (The target does not need to be able to hear the vampire.) The player spends one point of Willpower and rolls Wits + Occult (difficulty 8). If she wishes to lure her target closer to death, each success adds one level of lethal damage to the total inflicted by the next injury he suffers in that scene. If she wishes to prevent the target from dying, each success sets aside one level of damage (of any kind) from the next injury the target suffers during the scene, but this benefit only lasts until the end of the scene, after which the set aside damage returns. The target suffers injury but doesn’t feel its effects, up to and including death, until the scene ends and the damage returns. Note that the Storyteller can rule that very large amounts of damage may cause death due to total or near-total destruction of the body, regardless of this power’s effects.

••••• Chthonic Womb

At the apex of this Path, a necromancer combines murder and fertility to give birth to the ghost of a mortal she has slain. She drinks the victim’s blood to grab hold of his soul, and after dispatching him, traps it within her. At a later time, she may call it forth as a ghost to do her bidding.

System: The vampire must drink at least one point of a mortal victim’s blood, but may kill him using another method.

Another person or incident may cause the mortal’s demise, but the necromancer must make physical contact with him at the moment of death. At that point the player spends one point of Willpower and rolls Wits + Occult (difficulty 8). If the player succeeds, the soul occupies the vampire’s body in a dormant state for up to one month per success. (Aura Perception or similar powers will reveal the presence of the dormant soul, which might be mistaken for a form of possession.) The necromancer may store multiple souls this way, but “twins,” “triplets,” and more tax the “mother’s” energy. Each soul stored beyond the first drains one additional blood point when the vampire awakens each night.

At any point before the soul leaves her body, the vampire may summon it forth to manifest with either the traits of a recently deceased ghost or those it possessed in life, along with a recently deceased ghost’s supernatural abilities. It must perform three services for its “mother.” After that, the soul is free to move on to its ultimate destiny. If the ghost is commanded to perform any task that would traumatize a mortal (typically, those which would risk a Humanity check in a vampire with that trait at 7) it may, at the Storyteller’s discretion, treat the necromancer as a “fetter,” an object that the ghost fixates upon and uses as a tie to the living world. This gives the ghost the ability to haunt the necromancer until it is banished. The necromancer may always simply dismiss the soul when it appears, or even command it to leave her body while the soul still slumbers.

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