Vampires are dangerous predators who own almost every edge in a fight against a hunter, or even a group of hunters, in some cases. The Kindred possess terrifying physical superiority and unfathomable powers. The powers of the undead include the ability to rend the mind, sway the heart with a glance, and twist a hunter’s very perceptions of the world.
In the face of such terror, the mortals who defend the night sometimes invoke an ancient Latin proverb, numen lumen, which translates to “God is the light.” This has become a sacred mantra, a call to arms, for those who fight against the vampires. As a result, Numina has become the catch-all term for the mystical and psychic powers that seemingly ordinary people have learned or naturally developed to be that light in the world.
The origins of these powers may never be wholly known, but that hasn’t impeded the evolution of a number of different theories, each of which has been pieced together from speculative evidence garnered among hunter communities.
The Light of God theory proposes that Numina abilities are a sacred gift from the divine (though which exact incarnation of the divine differs according to the world’s faiths) to battle the darkness. Vampires are a plague upon the world, and the divine has tasked the wielders of Numina to lead humanity out of the darkness and into salvation.
A few hunters are convinced that those with Numina abilities bear the blood of angels and refer to them as Nephilim. Some believe that these chosen few carry out the literal word of God.
A number of scientists and researchers have proposed the Numen Theorem, which suggests that humanity is naturally evolving psychic abilities as a biological defense against vampires. This suggests that vampires are simply a previously unknown predator in an ecosystem that forces mankind to adapt to new circumstances.
Some individuals believe that vampirism is an advanced, complicated biological state and that the real battle should be to study Numina in order to discover a cure. Many supporters of the Numen Theorem often completely discount faith or occult interpretations of Numina as superstitions perpetrated by the vampires to prevent a full scientific study devoted to ridding the world of their presence through inoculation.
Whatever the truth, some chosen few in the World of Darkness are able to call upon powers greater than those of most mortals in their defense, and those secrets comprise this chapter. But what does that make their practitioners?
Numina and the Hunter
The last few years, if hunters can believe their own apocrypha, have seen a sharp increase in the discovery of people with elementary psychic abilities. Canny hunters suspect that a small number of “ordinary people” may be manifesting the supernatural acumen required to wield Numina. Hunters tend to be strong-willed folk willing to risk life and limb to kill vampires. It is hardly surprising that opinion is sharply and vocally divided about Numina.
Some hunters were quick to take advantage of such new weapons to give them any sort of edge. Life is dangerous enough in the shadows. Why refuse the aid of anyone or anything that can help you survive another night? Other hunters are quite vocal about their distrust of those who claim to control such supernatural powers. Ghouls enslave themselves to vampires for their strength and longevity. How are those who can perform Numina any better? Have you seen what sort of things they have to do to make their magic work? Who knows what sort of deals these strangers have made with monsters to acquire such powers?
Categorization, Classification, and Taxonomy of Numina
The few knowledgeable scholars on the subject of Numina have formulated a simple taxonomy to classify and categorize the diverse and unexplainable mystical and psychic Numina abilities. Numina seems to function in one of three classes, and each has a specialized moniker.
Hedge Magic (practiced by Hedge Magicians) is a traditional type of magic like that often described in folklore. It is formulaic, and it is invoked by those who command the talent through the performance of specific rituals.
Psychic Phenomena (practiced by Psychics) are evolved psychic powers developed through training and possibly mutations of the human mind.
True Faith (practiced by the Faithful) encompasses a host of abilities gained through a special connection with the divine.
Each class of Numina can be further broken down into Numina Paths. A Numina Path represents a focused area of ability centered around a specific theme, such as Pyrokinesis and fire. Like many Traits, Numina Paths are scored with a rating of 1 to 5. Each rank purchased indicates a new level of mastery for the character. For example, a score of 1 would indicate a novice ranking, while a score of 5 would represent a mastery of that Path. As a character increases her score in a Numina Path, she gains access to the powers listed next to the appropriate number of dots and, of course, retains access to the lesser abilities.
The method of acquiring a Numina Path is wholly dependent upon the Numina type to which it belongs and the agreed upon story conditions the player and Storyteller define together.
• Hedge Magic — family stories, occult library, mentor
• Psychic Phenomena — high Willpower, mental training, natural gift
• True Faith — acts of goodwill, devotion to faith, high Humanity
Not everyone who fits the characteristics described above manifests Numina, which are still rare, despite what those who believe their appearance to be increasing may think. Some individuals seem to have evolved these powers naturally, or perhaps with divine assistance. Others have mastered the powers of Numina in secret through years of training and study.
Players can purchase Numina with freebie points during character creation. They may later boost these abilities with experience points or, with Storyteller approval, diversify their talents with new Numina Paths/ratings. Rarely does a mortal possess more than a single type of Numina. The limitations of the mortal condition seem to make it impossible to learn all three types of Numina.
Numina powers are costly to learn, and some of them operate under very different and perhaps even opposing paradigms. Learning too much puts a strain on a character’s understanding of the world as a whole, and may damage the foundation of her sanity or physical well-being.
For example, gifted Psychic Midori Jones might possess Pyrokinesis and Psychometry (both Psychic Phenomena). Leah, her player, is interested in expanding her character’s powers, but the Storyteller decides that her options are limited by her character’s story and circumstances. True Faith requires a long and difficult epiphany. It isn’t something to be bought with experience points on a simple whim. However, Leah and her Storyteller decide that Midori might be able to learn a bit of Hedge Magic along the way to add to her abilities in the context of the story.
Entertainers have long thrilled audiences by sharing terrifying tales of gods and monsters. Parents still send their children to sleep nightly with thrilling tales of clever kids overcoming great obstacles.
Psychologists dismiss such fairy tales as a psychological mechanism for the release of hidden anxiety about the dangers of the world through a shared release of pathos. Monsters are merely antagonists in a story that represent an uncomfortable element of reality. A precious few know the truth. They have heard the stories and know them for what they really are: lessons on how to fight monsters. G.K. Chesterton once wrote that fairy tales are more than true, not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.
Hedge Magic is a loose collection of Numina Paths cobbled together from snippets of superstitions, old wives’ tales, and folklore. Practitioners of Hedge Magic believe in the lessons of these legends as fait accompli. A shared hearth lore across comparatively unenlightened human experience comprises the powers of these Numina Paths: They may have been called witchcraft, medicine, or juju in the myriad societies from which they’re drawn. Some practitioners employ this type of Numina to curse their enemies, to look into the future, to heal with a touch, or other such “folk” practices.
Hedge Magicians tend to be do-it-yourself individualists without a lot of obvious resources. Some are self-taught through personal research and experiments, studying old notes passed down from long dead ancestors. Others are the latest talent in a respected family tradition and belong to a community that supports their calling.
The symbology of Hedge Magic is often inelegant, and the execution is messy, but somehow, it works for the individuals who master it. Occultists are sometimes frustrated by Hedge Magic because they can’t quite figure out how it all comes together. The methodology is too flawed to manifest much power, but the collective expertise of generation after generation in these superstitions appears to have lent metaphysical validity to the practices of Hedge Magic.
Several Numen Theorem theorists believe that Hedge Magic is merely a psychological crutch used to explain an unknown latent psychic ability. For these skeptics (if they can be called such), it’s simply easier to explain such superstitions as “magic” than to accept the personal responsibility of controlling so much power.
Acquiring and Mastering Hedge Magic
Learning Hedge Magic is not a simple process. Hedge Magicians must accept superstitions and old wives’ tales as fact to give power to their Numina Paths. This requires a certain mental perspective that clashes with modern sensibilities. If you know that, with the proper gestures, you can curse an enemy, then you must also accept that the number 13 is unlucky, spilled salt must always be tossed over the shoulder, and a black cat should never be allowed to cross your path. Characters who disregard the truth of that hearth lore find that Hedge Magic becomes more and more difficult.
Storytellers are encouraged to monitor this attitude closely, raising the difficulties of cynical individuals who practice these Old Ways by 1 or more, where relevant. Hunters who would be Hedge Magicians must either learn from a mentor with the proper knowledge or spend a quantity of time piecing together bits of lore from books and legends. Many Hedge Magicians come from old families that believe strongly in their cultural identities and the wisdom of the hearth. Some families have proud legacies of opposing monsters and have specialized “fairy tales” of their own to remember the deeds of ancestors.
Hedge Magic and the Hunter Outlook
Hunters may view Hedge Magicians as well-meaning rustics who have a weird way with the world. Hedge Magic Numina Paths tend to be quite subtle, lacking overt manifestations, and the effects can often be explained away as coincidences or freak occurrences by determined nonbelievers.
Hedge Magicians can be quite obsessive with their superstitions and may have strange habits. Some Hedge Magic Numina Paths require unusual components that might include animal sacrifice, common items used in uncommon ways, and foul-smelling ingredients. Imagine a “Gypsy fortune-teller” who partakes of a shot of vodka with a drop of her subject’s blood in it or who brandishes a “bewitched dog’s paw” that points in the direction of danger. Such trappings can prove unsettling to those who subscribe to a more “modern” view of the world.
Those who understand the power of these Hedge Magicians may well look askance at them. What sort of deals have these poor bastards made with the Devil to master such creepy gifts? What secrets might they hide from hunters?
The Path of Curses
The curse is one of the most ancient and potent forms of Hedge Magic. It can take many forms, from the “evil eye” of the Mediterranean and the Middle East to the “jinx” of hoodoo to the “hex” of Eastern European folklore. Curses have been known to cause grave misfortune in a variety of forms: accidents, illnesses, and even death.
At the core of any curse is maleficent intent directed toward an enemy. The Hedge Magician focuses her will, her directed hatred, toward her target and releases that intent in the form of harmful energy. The curse quickly afflicts its victim’s life and slowly fades as the hateful energy dissipates.
The basic mechanic for cursing is simple. The Hedge Magician determines what level of curse she wants to inflict (within her ability), and then she spends one turn per level of severity gathering and honing her mystic hatred. Once the Hedge Magician is prepared, she discharges the curse in a cathartic fashion directly toward the target (who must be visible to her). Examples of a proper discharge include a scream, a dance, rending a puppet that represents her victim, or offensive gestures. The Hedge Magician’s player makes a Manipulation + Intimidation (difficulty 7) activation roll to determine if the curse is successful and the duration of the curse, as listed under Effects.
Each level of the Path of Curses allows for a greater range of misfortune to occur. Mechanically, a curse takes the form of penalties to difficulties and, eventually, dice pools. The Storyteller should apply the effects of a curse carefully to ensure that this Numina Path does not overwhelm the entire chronicle.
When mucking about with the threads of fate, however, a Hedge Magician runs the risk of entangling herself. Botching a curse will bring the effects back upon her three-fold, in which case, the curse intended for her enemy applies immediately to the Hedge Magician.
A Hedge Magician may attempt to banish any curse, even one of her own, but it isn’t easy. Her player must spend a Willpower point and roll Wits + Subterfuge (difficulty 9). Each level of success reduces the level of the curse inflicted by a single rating. If the roll botches, the Hedge Magician suffers from the very curse she attempted to banish for the remainder of the original duration of the curse, with no further chance at breaking it.
The Path of Curses eventually takes a toll upon the human soul. Practitioners rarely live happy lives, as the hate and anger required to fuel this Path tends to twist their insides. Mechanically, this often translates into a low Humanity score for characters who practice this Path. Storytellers are encouraged to require Humanity rolls for Hedge Magicians who have a high Humanity or who invoke curses more than once per month.
Roll: Manipulation + Intimidation (difficulty 7)
Cost: 1 Willpower
Duration: Varies (see below)
Path of Curses Levels
• The victim suffers brief inconveniences, such as dropping an object, saying something foolish, or having a motorcycle run over her foot. Mechanically, this is represented by the Storyteller adding a +1 difficulty to dice pools appropriate to the specified situation for the duration of the curse. For example, the injured foot might increase Athletics difficulties by 1, while saying something foolish might cause Etiquette difficulties to increase thus.
•• The victim suffers from a string of errors and bad luck that result in lasting injury or embarrassment, such as stepping on a nail, breaking an heirloom, or catching a minor disease. Mechanically, this is represented by the Storyteller increasing the difficulty of rolls appropriate to the curse by 2 for the duration of the curse.
••• The victim suffers severe accidents and misfortune. Typical effects might be broken bones, loss of income, or grievous illness. Mechanically, this is represented by the Storyteller increasing the difficulty of rolls appropriate to the curse by 3 for the duration of the curse.
•••• The victim suffers from major catastrophes and chronic illnesses. Mechanically, this is represented by the Storyteller increasing the difficulty of rolls appropriate to the curse by 3 for the duration of the curse. In addition, the victim subtracts one from associated dice pools during appropriate moments in the story.
••••• Curses inflicted at this level are nigh upon Biblical in scope. Nothing goes right for the victim for the duration of the curse. Her life is an exercise in misery, and may well be accompanied by plagues of locusts, being stricken barren, or causing despair in those she meets. Mechanically, this is represented by the Storyteller increasing the difficulty of rolls appropriate to the curse by 4 for the duration of the curse. In addition, the victim subtracts two from associated dice pools during appropriate moments in the story. Invoking a curse of this magnitude requires a Humanity roll for those Hedge Magicians of Humanity 4 or greater.
The duration of a specific curse is determined by the number of successes achieved during the activation roll.
One success The next action
Two successes One scene
Three successes One day
Four successes One week
Five successes One month
Six+ successes Up to one year, decided upon the activation of the curse
The Path of Divination
Many civilizations of the world believed that certain men and women communed with the divine and brought forth wisdom and warnings of the future. Divination as a word was inspired by the Latin word divinare, meaning “to be inspired by a god.” Countless examples span the length and breadth of human history, from the prophets of the God of Abrahamic faiths to the crones and wise women of pagan ways to the shamans and medicine men of the New World and beyond.
Hedge Magicians who practice this Numina Path have a unique method of communing with whatever metaphysical force they revere to glean insights into the future. Such methods are not always easy or quick, but they can be effective if the Hedge Magician interprets the signs correctly.
The Hedge Magician concentrates upon a single vexing decision or subject, and then she uses an external focus (see below) to read the patterns of chance and happenstance in the world around her. By looking at the web of destiny, she can peer upon its strands to see what may happen — or even what will probably happen, if the Magician is adept enough with her divination. The player makes an activation roll of Perception + Occult (difficulty 7) to determine what the character discerns.
Each success gained on the activation roll increases the level of clarity of the answer provided. A single success will result in a vague impression or muddle of possibilities, while five successes indicate with some clarity which option will yield the best result. A botch, however, will result in faulty information that may lead to danger or worse.
A Hedge Magician employing Divination may attempt to read another individual’s future, but she must do so in the presence of that individual. Difficulties on rolls to perform this sort of Divination increase by 1.
Forecasting the Future
Divining the future may be described as considering a panoply of outcomes without a certain map of what will be. Divination can yield concrete and specific details, but some element of the unknown always exists. Storytellers, take care. The Path of Divination has the potential to reveal more information to the players before the appropriate time comes for optimal dramatic significance.
Storytellers should attempt to reveal just enough information to whet the players’ appetites and offer guidance about possible scenarios that could lead to a better outcome. Offer choices, not concrete answers, and allow the players to make one. Storytellers are advised to focus on critical decision points that players can directly affect. It is important for players to have agency in the game and the ability to affect the outcome of a scenario, even if the odds are stacked against them. Revealing that an earthquake will kill thousands might be exciting, but unless the players can change the outcome, they may lose interest in the scenario. By comparison, if the hunters have the opportunity to save a number of victims by freeing them from a vampire, then the players suddenly have a cause for which they can fight.
The Path of Divination can highlight dramatic tension in the chronicle by providing indicators of the escalation. A few suggestive images that represent potential crisis points can evoke anticipation and keep players on the edge of their seats. Teasing the answer is almost always better than providing a clear mandate.
Tools of Divination
The tools used to focus Divination are many, but they all work equally well and according to the same principles, opening a conduit of sorts for the Magician to peer through and see the essence of destiny itself. A Magician might use cards, carved fetishes, coins, tea leaves at the bottom of a cup, or the entrails of a recently slain animal. She might peer into a crystal ball, a mirror, or a pool of water. She might pray with a saint, walk in the woods, or simply watch for omens. Whichever option the player chooses for the character says something about the cultural origin of her Divination ability, as well.
Roll: Perception + Occult (difficulty 7)
Modifiers: +1 difficulty to perform for Divination for others
Duration: A single revelation
Path of Divination Levels
• The Hedge Magician interprets signs or warnings about the state of her immediate circumstances, lowering the difficulty of her initiative rolls by 1. Each success achieved on the activation roll extends this ability by an hour.
•• The Hedge Magician eliminates possible negative outcomes by comparing them beforehand. A Hedge Magician may ask the Storyteller, who represents the guiding metaphysical entity, for information to help determine the best choice for a simple decision. The player asks a question such as “Should I join this stranger for a trip downtown?” The Storyteller then provides some amount of information in response that will help the player decide.
The Storyteller should consider a number of factors when answering such a question. What is the intent of the Hedge Magician asking the question? Is she asking which decision is safest? Is she looking for the quickest route to her goal? Which decision will have the greatest impact upon the current state of the chronicle? See “Forecasting the Future” above for more information on handling such matters.
Fate is not always kind to those who attempt to divine it. It might be that it is the character’s destiny to follow a stranger downtown where she will be attacked by a gang of ghouls, but that may be the path to determining the location of the vampire who commands them.
••• The Hedge Magician may sense patterns of chance allowing her to glean short-term information that follows specific decisions. A successful divination reveals information about the question as with the previous level, but it also provides insight into the next set of decisions required for other available options. This degree of divination yields hints about the future, but it also reveals one or more of the choices and consequences the character would face.
To return to the example question, “Should I join this stranger for a trip downtown?” the player learns vital information via this power. The player would know that, if the Hedge Magician travels with the stranger, she faces physical danger (remember, she will be attacked). If she overcomes the danger, a new path awaits her. And if she refuses to the join the stranger, that same danger will visit itself upon another. In this situation, the player has many options and some amount of information on each, but the information is imperfect. The player relies more on impressions than hard-and-fast truths — which is the nature of divination.
•••• The Hedge Magician is able to divine specific events in the future. These events are still not definite, but they are much more likely than the nebulous possibilities above. If the target of the divination changes her current behavior, these events become less likely. The details are still vague: “You will meet a man with whom you will share your heart,” rather than “You will meet a forceful man wearing green who shall become your lover.”
••••• The Hedge Magician gains the ability to sense clear and concrete details about the future and the ability to predict specific events with dependable certainty. She can now describe the man wearing green from the previous example in exact detail. In addition, she may know his name and intimate details about his life and future.
This level of the Path of Divination requires the expenditure of a Willpower point and then requires a successful activation roll of Perception + Occult (difficulty 8). The Storyteller may lower the difficulty by 1 to 3 if the caster has intimate knowledge of the subject, a prized possession of the target, or something personal of the target’s, such as a lock of hair or some blood.
The Hedge Magician may also communicate a subtle sense of the overall feel of her divination to that person by spending an additional point of Willpower. This might take the form of a sense of foreboding, if things are dangerous, or a sense of peacefulness, if things are going well. The recipient of this sensation will not recognize it as any sort of communication, but rather experience it as something internal like a “gut feeling,” as it were.
The Path of Healing
Healing the sick hasn’t always been the bailiwick of formally educated doctors armed with a battery of surgical implements and medical databases. Ancient cultures sent their sick and wounded to a spirit medium who communed with the divine and used that knowledge to soothe pain and heal illnesses. The role of the healer might change — be it priest, wise woman, or witch — but the function remained the same. Healers used a combination of physical remedies and spiritualism to heal those in their care and to keep the community in good health.
The modern Path of Healing is a fusion of magic and ancient curative techniques. Hedge Magicians who have mastered this Numina Path can break a fever in moments or heal traumatic wounds to the body through spiritual means. The Medicine Knowledge is required for this Path to be effective, along with cultural elements, such as meditation, prayer, singing, massage, or other techniques.
Healing can exhaust a Magician during the process, and such healers often suffer for their incredible sensitivity and compassion. Should the player botch the healing roll, the character catches the ailment or withstands sympathetic damage from wounds.
With Storyteller permission, a player may take the Path of Healing as a Psychic Numina Path instead of Hedge Magic.
Roll: Manipulation + Medicine (difficulty 7)
Modifiers: +1 difficulty to perform for healing oneself, +1 difficulty if the subject is unwilling, +2 difficulty to perform healing in a stressful environment (such as combat, while being interrogated, while trapped in a burning building, etc.)
Duration: Varies by effect (see below)
Path of Healing Levels
• Practitioners of the Path of Healing may examine patients with but a touch to instantly diagnose ailments, learn the nature of injuries, or discover genetic defects. Each success achieved on the activation roll provides additional relevant medical information.
•• A Hedge Magician with this level has a rudimentary control of her patient’s body and can stimulate the healing process. She can instantly cure sprains, severe headaches, flu, or minor infections without difficulty.
With the expenditure of a Willpower point and a successful roll by her player, the Hedge Magician can touch a patient to mitigate the pain of wounds or cure communicable diseases. Such illnesses include the common cold, flu, or even STDs. This level of the Path does not cure serious maladies such as cancer or heart problems, however.
Each success achieved on the activation roll negates any dice-pool penalty arising from wounds from which the subject suffers for 10 minutes.
••• The Hedge Magician is able to heal broken bones and alleviate chronic but non-life threatening illnesses (such as arthritis, kidney stones, or asthma) with a single touch. Bashing and lethal damage wounds heal twice as fast as they normally would with the healer’s ministrations, and without infection. The Hedge Magician can also induce a healing trance state to prevent bleed-outs or other medical trauma from killing a patient before proper surgery can be performed.
Using this power requires a successful roll and the expenditure of a Willpower point.
•••• The Hedge Magician can stop and heal almost any injury with a single touch.
With the expenditure of a Willpower point and a successful roll by her player, the Hedge Magician can instantly heal a single level of bashing or lethal damage on a patient. Each additional success gained from the activation roll heals one additional level of bashing or lethal damage. Healing lethal damage in this manner comes at a price, however. For each level of lethal damage healed, the Hedge Magician suffers from a dizzying migraine for an hour that causes all dice-pool rolls made for the Magician during that time to incur +1 to their difficulties. The player may spend an additional Willpower to ignore this effect for a scene, however.
••••• The human body holds no mysteries to a Hedge Magician who has mastered this level of the Path of Healing. She can cure chronic and acute illnesses (such as cancer, AIDS, or strokes), remove genetic defects, or cleanse chemical addictions.
Such treatment is difficult for the Hedge Magician and requires that the patient be under constant care for some time. The exact length of the treatment and other requirements should be determined by the Storyteller, but they should generally be one quarter the standard recovery times for such cases.
Such sympathy comes at a cost to the body, and the Hedge Magician may suffer a +1 to +2 difficulty increase to all non-Healing related dice pools during the period of convalescence, as determined by the Storyteller. This need not be applicable for all uses of this power, only those that involve healing of the most debilitating of diseases or the most crippling of dependencies.
In addition, the Hedge Magician can overcome the effects of supernatural trauma upon the body. With the expenditure of a Willpower point and a successful Manipulation + Medicine roll (difficulty 8) by her player, a practitioner can instantly heal aggravated damage on a subject. Each success gained on the activation roll heals one level of aggravated damage.
The cost for healing such damage similarly comes at a price, however. For every level of aggravated damage healed, the Hedge Magician suffers a level of painful sympathetic bashing damage. The sympathetic damage cannot be healed via applications of this Path (whether by the Hedge Magician suffering the sympathetic damage or another healer).
The Path of Alchemy
Alchemy is a form of Hedge Magic whose main function (at least to the Arcanum) is to purify the soul. All other effects that alchemy is known for are merely stepping stones to that ultimate goal — after all, one must master transmutation to master purification. Enough Arcanists perform and strive to master this that they’ve formed the College of the Great Art.
Ultimately, the aim of Alchemy is to purify the soul to the point where one becomes immortal — not through any one formula, but from a lifetime of trials. Every time an alchemist perfects a formula, he takes a step closer down that road. Alchemists that master the Path of Alchemy can create elixirs or powers that grant effects, and imbue metals with various strange properties.
As Alchemy is an arcane science, it takes material and time to execute a formula. A laboratory is necessary, though as an alchemist becomes more skilled, he needs fewer things to create minor transmutations. Each level of effect takes one to three days to craft, which includes gathering and preparing reagents, heating and cooling compounds, and tending to the experiment while it slowly works. A large, well-stocked laboratory (such as the one in the Foundation House) may cut this time down to no less than one day per level of effect.
Concoctions (elixirs and powders) are good for a single use and a single purpose. A character may only be under the effects of a single concoction within a twenty-four hour period, unless she also has the Occult Ability. In that case, she knows enough about her body’s interactions with pure and altered substances, and can be under the effects of a number of concoctions equal to her dots in Occult in a given twenty-four hour period. Similar effects (such as multiple healing potions) do not stack upon one another.
Metals can also be imbued with powers, as purification leaves room in the material for other effects to be placed within. Metals last longer than concoctions, but are generally less powerful.
The potency (or “shelf-life” as younger alchemists call it) is determined by the number of successes on the activation roll.
Roll: Intelligence + Occult (Difficulty 8)
Modifiers: +1 if using a well-stocked laboratory, +1 if the stars are right
Path of Alchemy Levels
• The Alchemist can create minor elixirs and powders, including simple poisons, tranquilizers, anesthetics, stimulants, and lesser healing concoctions. A healing elixir reduces the die pool penalty due to injuries by 1 (minimum 0), and halves the healing time for bashing and lethal damage currently taken.
The Arcanum’s spies have others uses for these creations: liquids that erase short-term memory, powders that counteract the intoxicating effects of alcohol, elixirs that aids in restful sleep with no memories of dreams, etc. (Many Templars offer their resources and services in exchange for a peaceful night’s rest.) As always, whether an alchemical effect can be attempted is up to the Storyteller.
One-dot effects cost no Willpower to create.
•• The Alchemist better understands how reagents interplay, crafting stronger effects that harmonize with the body and mind. This includes powders that grant symbolic visions in dreams (possibly of the future or of some unknown aspect of what’s at hand), liquids that allow one to go an entire week with only one hour of sleep a night, and elixirs that can alter physical elements (such as skin, hair, or eye color) for a few hours.
A two-dot healing elixir works as the one-dot version, but also heals two bashing or lethal levels immediately. Along with this, the Alchemist can devise an elixir that can enhance a user’s natural abilities for a given situation. She chooses the Ability and Specialization when creating the effect, such as Empathy and Insight (for reading the emotions) or Subterfuge and Charm (for personal magnetism). The user gains that Specialty; if he already has that Specialty, he instead gets +2 dice when that Specialty comes into play (in addition to 10s counting as two successes). This lasts for a number of hours equal to the number of successes on the activation roll.
Two-dot effects cost no Willpower to create.
••• The Alchemist’s abilities with concoctions are proficient enough to grant superhuman abilities. Different formulae can grant the drinker a specific Psychic Numina for the remainder of the scene. Such formulae are usually baroque or call for bizarre components; one alchemist uses the remains of a burnt Cuban cigar, ash and all, mixed with the filament of an old light bulb that died in Canada as the base for a Pyrokinesis elixir. The Alchemist can only create effects that are of fewer dots than her dots in Alchemy, and the drinker must pay any Willpower costs associated with the effect.
The Alchemist can also imbue metals with strange properties, removing impurities and bringing out elements of the platonic ideal. Among other uses, the alchemy can cause small weapons (daggers or a handful of bullets) to do aggravated damage against supernatural creatures. Metals can be imbued with some two-dot Alchemy effects as well.
Three-dot effects cost 1 Willpower to create.
At this rank, the Alchemist can create a normal onedot concoction far easier, only needing a small travel kit (along with the appropriate materials). This lowers the time needed to gather materials to one day, at most two for effects that require rare ingredients. These effects cost no Willpower to create.
•••• The Alchemist has mastered all lesser forms of Alchemy. More powerful versions of lesser formulae can be created, as well as concoctions that temporarily increase an Ability or Attribute by one or two dots. Formulae that grant one dot last until the end of the scene; those that grant two dots (either in the same Ability or Attribute or to separate ones) last for one turn. Such formulae are esoteric, as the Alchemist delves into substances that represent platonic ideals and emotional purity as much as physical purity.
More than a few Arcanists have gone to fetch strange things for such formulae, such as urine from those who are nearly blackout drunk as a component for a powder that grants the user a dot of Manipulation for the rest of the scene.
Four-dot effects cost 1 Willpower to create. Two-dot effects can be extended to a full scene at a cost of 2 Willpower.
At this rank, the Alchemist can also create a normal two-dot concoction with a travel kit. This lowers the time needed to gather materials to one day, at most two for effects that require rare ingredients. (And for one-dot effects, lowers the time needed to gather material to a day at most.) These effects cost no Willpower to create.
••••• Along with more dramatic versions of lower formulae, the master of Alchemy can create transcendent effects that grant vast abilities on par with the supernatural creatures Arcanists observe and catalog. Nearly all such formulae require some piece of a creature as a catalyst. These typically last for one turn per success, and cannot exceed the second level of the Discipline or other power in question. Elixirs of vampiric Disciplines require at least five blood points of vampiric vitae.
The Alchemist can create a regenerative powder which, when in the blood stream (usually by applying it to a messy wound) stitches the user together. He regenerates one level of damage every other turn until the end of the session.
Five-dot effects cost 1 Willpower to create, along with their egregious material components.
At this rank, the Alchemist can also create a normal three-dot concoction with a travel kit. Any three-dot metallic effects last longer, as though she rolled an additional success.
Duration of Concoctions
The duration of the potency of an elixir or powder depends on the level of successes earned during the activation roll. After this time, the concoction becomes inert, and (depending on what was used to create it) dangerous to drink. If the concoction is left out to open air for more half an hour or more, it becomes inert.
• One Day
•• One Week
••• One Month
•••• Three Months
••••• Six Months
Duration of Metals
The duration of the potency of an alchemical effect on a metal depends on the level of successes earned during the activation roll. Note that if the metal is severely altered or destroyed, the effect ends. Metals fade back to their impure states quicker than sealed concoctions.
• Two Hours
•• One Day
••• Three Days
•••• One Week
••••• Six Months
Is all sorcery evil? Or is there a magic brought about with the assistance of good spirits? This debate echoes through the halls of the Society of Leopold, as it has for centuries. Some of the debaters have gone on to the fire and stake. It is said the practice of Theurgy came into the Society during the Renaissance, when Christian scholars rediscovered the ancient arts of alchemy and magic. However, its roots stretch further back into Jewish mysticism and the teachings of Esoteric Christianity — to heighten one’s spiritual nature, to speak to one’s Higher Self, one’s Inner God, in order to better fathom the wisdoms of God — to hear and to see and to speak the mysteries that the fleshy ear, jellied eye, and tongue of clay could not.
Yet many are the Inquisitors who take an ill view of Theurgy, proclaiming it is no different than Goety (magic that invokes evil spirits). To entertain the notion of “good” magic, they argue, is to begin down the slippery slope of temptation. These critics call Theurgists “Simonites,” after the magus whom Saint Peter defeated. The advocates of Theurgy maintain it is but another means of invoking Heaven.
Treat Theurgy as Hedge Magic, using the rules listed in pp. 71-72, but the superstitions and sacrifices powering this Numina will follow the idioms of the Christian Church. Theurgists often invoke the name of the Archangel Raziel, “The Keeper of Secrets,” “The Angel of Mysteries,” who, it is written, stands close to the throne of God and put down all of the secrets of the universe into a book. It is rumored that fragments of this tome, the famous Sefer Raziel HaMalach, are locked away in the vaults of the Vatican.
An Inquisitor might refer to any Numina with Christian trappings as “Theurgy,” though the Society has its own names for the Paths. For example, the Path of Healing, the Path of Divination, and Pyrokinesis are known as Via Medicamenti, Via Oraculi, and Via Ignis respectively.
When using Astral Projection, an Inquisitor might pray to Raziel and actually feel the angel pull away the shroud to the higher mysteries.
A Theurgist may purchase the following Numina Paths along with any others presented(with Storyteller permission).
Via Geniorum is one of the Ways that is most distrusted by Theurgy’s critics; Theurgists who practice this Via deal with the realm of spirits and the demonic. They argue that all creatures are ultimately under the call of heaven, including spirits and demons. These Theurgists believe that there is an entire spectrum of Spirits who allied neither with Heaven nor Hell, yet can be commanded by the power of Heaven. This Way grants the practitioner power over non-human spiritual entities (demons, elementals, etc.).
Knowledge of a spirit’s true name grants one power over it. A true name is not the title that the spirit commonly goes by, but a more complex, primal invocation. The world warps and flutters when true names are spoken.
They are jealously guarded secrets, requiring extended research rolls, Intelligence + Occult (difficulty 9), and a good occult library to decipher. Every success grants a “syllable” of the name. The simplest of spirits might have a single syllable true name, but more powerful demons will have many more (up to the discretion of the Storyteller). A Theurgist may try and trick a spirit into divulging its true name. True name syllables are often a form of currency amongst spirits and occultists, who tend to hoard them.
Roll: Varies (see below)
Modifiers: -2 difficulty if the Theurgist knows the spirit’s true name
Cost: 1 Willpower
Duration: Varies (see below)
Via Geniorum Levels
• Ritual of Revelation: The Theurgist does not peer into the spirit world so much as command nearby supernal beings to reveal themselves. On a successful Charisma + Occult roll (difficulty 8), the Theurgist can see all spirits in the immediate area (including those possessing physical bodies).
•• Ritual of Protection: On a successful Wits + Occult roll (difficulty 7), the Theurgist may draw protective sigils into handheld objects or in a small circle around her. Extended ritual rolls can make larger circles or more completely protected locations, with 10 successes being enough to protect a small house. Spirits cannot harass or enter a person or location, thus protected, without succeeding in a Willpower roll (difficulty 9). Protection lasts for one month or until the sigil is disturbed (a carved sigil is much harder to disrupt than one drawn in chalk).
••• Ritual of Dismissal: The Theurgist can send a spirit back to its native realm. This via requires a Charisma + Occult roll (difficulty 9). The number of success needed, in an extended ritual, vary widely based on the power of the spirit (and left to the Storyteller’s judgment).
•••• Ritual of Summoning: The Theurgist can now summon spirit entities. This via requires a Charisma + Occult roll (difficulty 9). The number of success needed, in an extended ritual, vary widely based on the power of the spirit (and left to the Storyteller’s judgment). A summoned spirit must remain in the Theurgist’s presence for a scene or until it has answered three questions (it cannot be made to reveal its true name in this manner).
Further interaction relies on Social rolls, sacrifices, or other powers. A botched roll summons an enraged spirit who likely attacks the unlucky Theurgist.
••••• Ritual of Binding: The Theurgist can now force a spirit into servitude. This via requires a Manipulation + Occult roll (Difficulty 9). The number of success needed, in an extended ritual, vary widely based on the power of the spirit (and left to the Storyteller’s judgment). A bound spirit may be asked to do a specific action (“Attack that vampire!”) or an ongoing action (“Watch over me.”) lasting until the next sunrise or sunset.
The Via Necromantiae is Theurgy designed to contact or banish the dead. This Via resembles in parts those of the Via Geniorum, but it is, nonetheless, distinct.
Roll: Varies (see below)
Modifiers: -1 difficulty if Theurgist has an object important to the ghost in life
Cost: 1 Willpower
Duration: Varies (see below)
Via Necromantiae Levels
• Ritual of Wakening: The Theurgist may command a recently deceased cadaver to awaken. On a successful Charisma + Occult roll (difficulty 7), the corpse will sit up and answer the Theurgist’s questions, to the best of its ability, for one minute per success. Every twenty-four hours the cadaver has been dead adds one to the difficulty. A cadaver more than three days dead cannot be wakened.
•• Ritual of Warding: Theurgists may protect an area from ghostly intrusion. With a successful Wits + Occult roll (difficulty 7), the Theurgist may block ghosts from entering a room-sized area. Each success indicates one week of successful warding.
••• Ritual of Communication: Theurgists may contact the dead by making a Charisma + Occult roll (difficulty 10). That difficulty drops, cumulatively, if any of the following criteria are met: Theurgist possesses an object important to the ghost in life (-1), a person important to the ghost is present (-1), the ritual is conducted in the ghost’s former home (-1), the ritual is conducted in a place where the veil between the Underworld and the world of the living is thin (-2). Maintaining contact with the dead is difficult. Each success rolled allows the Theurgist one minute of communication. The time period can be doubled for another point of Willpower.
•••• Ritual of Expulsion: Theurgists may expel a haunting ghost. This requires a Charisma + Occult roll (difficulty of the ghost’s Willpower + 3, maximum of 9); this is a sustained roll, requiring a number of successes equal to twice the ghost’s Willpower. Simply initiating the banishing costs 1 Willpower, but no more Willpower is required for the remainder of the struggle.
••••• Ritual of Vivification: The Theurgist can now urge a cadaver to rise. This via requires a Manipulation + Occult roll (difficulty 8). Every success animates the corpse for one week, and that time can be doubled for another point of Willpower. Animated cadavers will not have much in the way of personality or intelligence, but can follow simple directions.
Psychics are people with the ability to perceive forces hidden from mundane senses through extrasensory perception, who may then use their minds to manipulate these supernatural elements. Some people are just born with unusual gifts or raw talent that leads to the discovery of these paranormal abilities, such as telepathy, telekinesis, and clairvoyance. Psychic Numina Paths thus involve the mind perceiving and altering the material world.
Reported instances of true Psychic Phenomena were once quite rare, but the last few years have been marked by a remarkable spike in psychic activity. Many of these new Psychics seem completely unaware that they possess unusual abilities.
Popular culture is flooded with ghost-hunting reality shows and blog accounts that explore urban legends and investigate reported poltergeists. Some of these are actual hauntings by ghosts, but a sizeable number of these incidents are actually caused by the residents of the homes creating the “poltergeists” with their undiscovered psychic powers. Of course, no small number of them are false, or purveyed by charlatans, as well….
The origin of psychic abilities has yet to be properly scientifically explored. Currently, little concrete information exists regarding how or why these powers develop. A number of scientists and researchers who have discovered Psychic Numina have proposed the Numen Theorem, which suggests that humanity is naturally evolving psychic abilities as a biological defense against predatory supernatural creatures. Psychics are merely the first step in this new evolution of the human species.
Acquiring and Mastering Psychic Numina
Psychics are born with or develop a special gift that allows them access to areas of the brain that perform Psychic Numina. Many hunters possess a latent lowlevel awareness that helped them realize that there were monsters in the world. A number of parapsychologists who support the Numen Theorem believe that all humans possess the potential to access Psychic Numina with the proper training, and that hunters mark the sea change at which mankind moves from realizing it’s not alone in the night to being able to do something about it.
Psychics learn to focus their will and train themselves via often-grueling mental regimens to use Psychic Numina Paths. Practitioners of Psychic Numina often rely upon the Awareness Ability, along with regular exercise and good diet, to keep their minds healthy. Psychics who fail to maintain proper balance in their lives may suffer from exhaustion or, indeed, may develop mental aberrations.
Storytellers may find it thematic to bestow new Flaws upon Psychic characters who exceed the limits of their endurance.
Hunters who would be Psychics must acquire either a mentor with the proper knowledge or spend an extended period attempting to develop their mental abilities under controlled conditions. Some parapsychologists now train fledgling Psychics in an attempt to learn more about the new phenomenon. The occasional “latent Psychic” emerges untrained from the shadowed corners of the World of Darkness, but without learning proper control techniques, he may well be considered one of the monsters….
Psychic Numina and the Hunter Outlook
Hunters tend to be more paranoid than other mortals, and hanging around someone who might read your mind isn’t a comforting situation. How can you keep secrets from freaks who can simply touch something and thereby learn everything about it? What happens if they lose control and start a fire? If vampires and Psychics are real, who’s to say that it won’t play out like Scanners?
These fears often lead hunters to develop their own proactive defenses against Psychics in order to protect themselves. Or a hunter may take an alternate path and try to develop Psychic Numina herself in order to gain an understanding of the unknown. Of course, that still involves a level of trust that many hunters are unwilling to grant practitioners of the paranormal.
Countless people have reported out-of-body experiences during near-death situations. Spiritual pilgrims worldwide have reported strange ascents to a higher plane during mediation in which they claim to have physically seen their body from the outside. A number of parapsychologists have theorized that this phenomenon is a latent experience with Astral Projection.
Astral Projection is the ability to separate the consciousness from the physical body and then explore the realm of pure thought — the astral plane. This strange plane of existence is believed to overlay the material world and is thought by some Psychics to be populated by angels, ghosts, living memories, or other immaterial beings. The nature of the denizens of the astral plane is as yet unknown, but it is clear that some of them are malicious and unkind.
The astral traveler must mediate for a turn, after which she leaves her physical body in a sleeping state as her spirit travels freely through the astral plane. Astral travelers move very quickly, traveling at the speed of thought.
The disembodied traveler is connected to her body by an ephemeral silver cord. Other astral creatures can touch this cord, and if the cord is severed, the traveler’s consciousness becomes trapped in the astral plane.
The Astral Projection Numina Path is a bit different from the Psychic Projection Auspex power, but the destination is the same.
Entities may talk, touch, and even engage in combat upon the astral plane. Since they have no physical bodies, characters using Astral Projection or otherwise dwelling therein substitute their Physical Traits for Mental and Social Traits. (Wits replaces Dexterity, Manipulation supplants Strength, and Intelligence substitutes for Stamina.) Due to his lack of a physical body, the only way to harm an astral traveler is to cut his silver cord, which is represented by the astral traveler’s Willpower score in Health Levels. For more information on psychic combat.
Duration: Based on successes
Astral Projection Levels
• The Psychic has a rudimentary awareness of the astral plane, though she cannot yet travel to it. She can shift her senses toward the astral realm, where she can see astral travelers and communicate with them. She must first concentrate for a turn to allow her mind to adjust to the competing images, after which the Psychic sees the astral realm overlaid upon the normal physical world.
•• With the expenditure of a Willpower point and a successful Perception + Awareness roll (difficulty 8) by her player, the Psychic can leave her body for brief periods of time and travel to the astral realm. Each success on the activation roll allows one minute of astral travel. If the Psychic wishes to push herself, her player may spend a Willpower point to extend the character’s time by an additional minute. When this time has elapsed, the Psychic snaps back to her physical body, unless something strange and dire has happened.
••• With the expenditure of a Willpower point by her player, the Psychic can manifest her astral form in the material world. In this manner, a Psychic can manifest on the other side of the world from where her physical body resides, using the great speed of astral travel to visit faraway locales in the form of thought. An astral traveler appears as a blurry and translucent ghost version of her usual physical appearance. A manifest astral traveler cannot touch or affect the material world, but she can be seen by non-Psychics and may speak in soft whispers.
•••• At this level of prowess, the Psychic may travel deep into the astral plane for lengthy periods of time. With the expenditure of a Willpower point and a successful Perception + Awareness roll (difficulty 8) by her player, the Psychic can visit the astral realm for one hour per success. If the Psychic wishes to push herself, her player may spend a Willpower point to extend the character’s time by an additional hour.
••••• With the expenditure of a Willpower point and a successful Manipulation + Awareness roll (difficulty 8) by her player, a Psychic can mask her presence in the astral plane (including her silver cord) from other astral travelers. Suspicious rival Psychics and native astral entities might sense the presence of something strange, at the Storyteller’s discretion, but they won’t be able to identify the source of the irritation unless their players achieve more successes on a Perception + Awareness roll than the activation roll made for the hidden astral traveler.
Computers were once the sequestered tools of wealthy corporations and the academic elite, but advances in technology gradually made them affordable to the rest of the world. Tonight, innumerable residents of the World of Darkness have mobile devices in their pockets that are more powerful than the early computers that took mankind to the moon. Indeed, there are now more laptops, cell phones, and personal electronic devices than there are people in the world, and their invisible signals blanket the air, saturating the night with numinous data.
Cyberkinesis is the ability to read, understand, and control these electronic devices without a direct interface. Scattered reports of this relatively new Numina Path first appeared in the late 80s; as the public consciousness came to accept computers, more and more Psychics developed this talent. Vampires fear these cyberkinetics, who wield power over the technology the undead use, and who are able to read their emails from a distance and track them via the GPS on their smart phones.
Roll: Manipulation + Technology (difficulty 7)
Duration: Generally instantaneous
• This level of Cyberkinesis allows the cyberkinetic to project his perceptions into an electronic device, enabling an understanding of its purpose, the principles of its functioning, and its means of operation. The cyberkinetic must touch the device, and his player must succeed at the activation roll. The number of successes on that roll indicates how well the cyberkinetic understands the device, from a general grasp (one success) to a holistic understanding of it, its processor architecture, its power supplies, and its data structures (five successes).
•• The cyberkinetic has an innate understanding of the weaknesses of electronic devices. Just by touching a device, he can force its power supply to surge, causing interruption or even destroying the device. It only requires his player to spend a Willpower point and succeed on the activation roll. This power cannot be used to directly damage a person (though the destruction of a car’s fuel injection control chip can potentially later cause a serious car crash, for example). The number of successes achieved on the activation roll determines the degree of damage done to the device. A single success results in a brownout but leaves the device unharmed. Three successes shut the device down, requiring a manual or remote restart. Five successes indicate a total shutdown and a burnt-out power supply that must be replaced before powering on again is possible. Note that many complex computer systems, such as large-scale networks and remote clouds, can’t be shut down entirely by the failure of a single device.
••• The cyberkinetic can telepathically read, encrypt, and decrypt electronic communication with amazing speed and accuracy. With a successful activation roll made by his player, the Psychic may access, encrypt, or decrypt (but not change) any data saved on a device merely by touching it. If the cyberkinetic encrypts the data, the number of successes achieved on the activation roll is applied as a penalty to the difficulty of anyone else attempting to read said data.
•••• The cyberkinetic can mentally access any devices within his line of sight. This is not a form of telekinesis in which the Psychic is wielding the controls. Rather, the cyberkinetic accesses the device by using a psychic version of radio waves similar to WiFi to infiltrate the device and control it from within. When connected to a device via this power, the cyberkinetic can employ any of the other levels of Cyberkinesis without having to make physical contact.
••••• Through his player spending a Willpower point and succeeding at the activation roll, the cyberkinetic can operate any computer or computer-assisted device he touches or has accessed via sight (as above). The cyberkinetic can activate any function of the device: running apps, browsing files, sending data to networks, opening a mechanical lock, etc. Note that any advanced or secure functions will have to be resolved via other methods, whether in the form of other applications of Cyberkinesis or just simply knowing the password.
Each success on the activation roll allows for 10 minutes of control over the targeted device. Devices that are taken out of eyesight range or physical contact, as appropriate, simply disconnect from the cyberkinetic. If the device is destroyed while being controlled, the cyberkinetic suffers five levels of bashing damage as synaptic shock.
Some parapsychologists theorize that emotions are expressed by the human brain as a form of energy that can be absorbed by objects or places. Psychometry is the ability to read this emotional residue, called psychic resonance, and then interpret it and extrapolate information about the events and people connected to the object. Strong emotions linger, and they can be read by those with the special perception to feel and understand the psychic imprint. Places or objects exposed to these strong emotional signatures hold flashes of information that a psychometrist can read by touch.
The Psychic must touch the object, and then her player must make a Perception + Empathy roll (difficulty 7) for the character to read its psychic resonance. Successes achieved on the activation roll determine the level of details received as per the effects chart, below. On a botch, the Psychic may become lost in a dreamlike reverie or may be harrowed by a flood of hostile emotions.
An object with a particularly strong resonance may make it easier to find information about its owner, and the Storyteller may elect to lower the difficulty of roll to do so.
Although a toothbrush may have DNA from its owner, for example, it is unlikely to be significant since it is thrown out every three months. A locket with a family photo, on the other hand, is likely to be much more important to its owner. The information discovered will depend on how the owner feels about the object and what it might mean to him. A wedding ring might reveal the location of the owner or flash to instances of the owner violating his wedding vows.
Roll: Perception + Empathy (difficulty 7)
Modifiers: Per the significance of the item or the severity of the psychic resonance, as described above
Cost: 1 Willpower
Duration: Generally N/A, but higher levels yield ten minutes or one hour per success for an active connection Psychometry Levels
• The Psychic may read the psychic resonance of an object or place to learn about the identity of the owner of the object or the most significant visitor to the place.
•• The Psychic may learn about everything that occurred near the object or place within the last 24 hours.
••• The Psychic can discover and understand the complete history of the object or place. She can witness key events that occurred in the vicinity of the object or place.
•••• The Psychic can attune herself to an object, allowing her to align her vision to the location of the owner of the object. She can then watch the owner of the object anywhere in the world for 10 minutes per success on the activation roll (as influenced by the effects below).
••••• The Psychic may follow the psychic resonance to the owner of an object. She then learns the direction and distance of the owner of the object, anywhere in the physical or astral world (informed by the clarity of the effects, as indicated below). This connection lasts for an hour per success on the activation roll.
The number of successes achieved on the Psychometry activation roll determines the clarity of the information the Psychic receives.
One success The Psychic feels vague impressions and perceives cloudy imagery, but these lack concrete details.
Two successes The details are blurry, as though viewing them via a poorly scrambled television signal. A Psychic might see a man with dark hair, but not his specific eye color or other details.
Three successes The Psychic perceives the information as if from a distant vantage. Most of the details are difficult to discern, but others stand out in sharp clarity.
Four successes The Psychic receives a detailed view of the people, places, and events associated with the vision. She may speed up or slow down events. If she concentrates, she can pause things as though watching a movie and study the scenario.
Five successes The Psychic has complete and utter control over her visions. She can stop, start, review, and observe from any angle.
Pyrokinesis is the ability to conjure fire via a glance. The pyrokinetic must see his target and then concentrate to conjure flame at that location. The number of successes on the activation roll determines the accuracy of where the Psychic places the flame. If the target is a sentient creature, she may attempt to dodge the blast with an opposed Dexterity + Athletics roll against the number of successes on the activation roll.
Fire conjured by the Path of Pyrokinesis must be released for it to have any effect. Thus, the pyrokinetic might summon forth a palm of flame, but so long as he holds it, he suffers no damage, and the fire casts no light other than being itself visible. Once the flame has been released, however, it burns normally, and the Psychic has no control over it. A pyrokinetic is not immune to his own flame once it is released; he burns as easily as anyone else. Botches with Pyrokinesis tend to be singularly spectacular, as the Psychic self immolates or sends flame shooting wildly about.
The Storyteller may increase the difficulty of the activation roll given any circumstances affecting the target of the flame. Setting fire to a wet log, for example, would indicate an increase of +1 to the difficulty, while igniting asbestos or water would increase the difficulty by 3.
Psychics with Pyrokinesis often live with the constant fear that their control will slip and fire will consume everything around them. Indeed, some pyrokinetics have woken to discover that they have set fire to their homes during particularly violent nightmares.
Roll: Manipulation + Awareness
Modifiers: By target, as above
Cost: 1 Willpower
Duration: Once ignited, pyrokinetic fire becomes normal fire, and it behaves as described on page 297 of V20
• Candle (difficulty 3 to soak, one health level of aggravated damage per turn)
•• Palm of Flame (difficulty 4 to soak, one health level of aggravated damage per turn)
••• Campfire (difficulty 5 to soak, two health levels of aggravated damage per turn)
•••• Bonfire (difficulty 7 to soak, two health levels of Aggravated damage per turn)
••••• Inferno (difficulty 9 to soak, three health levels of Aggravated damage per turn)
Telekinesis is the ability to move things without touch, solely though the power of the mind. Objects under the Psychic’s telekinetic control may be manipulated as though she were personally holding them: They may be lifted, spun, juggled, and even thrown. Some Psychics, ignorant of their special abilities, unknowingly unleash their telekinetic power, evoking the poltergeist phenomena of many of hauntings.
A Psychic must be able to see her target and then concentrate to manipulate the object. Each success on the activation roll allows for one turn of telekinetic manipulation of an object. Five or more successes on the activation roll means that the Psychic can control the object for the duration of the scene.
The Psychic may attempt to maintain control after her period of control ceases. Doing so requires a new activation roll without the expenditure of an additional Willpower point. Failure means that the Psychic must make a completely new attempt the following turn. A botch means that the Psychic loses control and exhausts herself for the scene, her player being unable to spend Willpower for the character for its remainder.
If this power is being used to manipulate a sentient being, the player of the target may attempt for his character to resist through an opposed Willpower roll each turn the control is exercised. If the Psychic has mastered the fourth level of this Path, she can completely immobilize the target should the opposed Willpower roll succeed.
If the Psychic attempts to wrest an object from someone’s grasp, this requires a contested roll pitting the telekinetic’s psychic strength versus the target’s Strength Attribute.
Thrown objects may be dodged by an opposed Dexterity + Athletics versus the successes generated from the initial activation roll. Damage done from thrown objects is bashing or lethal (depending on the object thrown and Storyteller discretion), and it can be modulated by the Psychic up to her level of mastery of Telekinesis. For example, a Psychic with three levels of Telekinesis wishes to throw a rock at her enemy. The Storyteller decides that a rock does bashing damage. The player may decide to do up to three levels of bashing damage to the Psychic’s enemy should she succeed on the roll, assuming the target is unable to dodge.
Roll: Wits + Awareness
Cost: 1 Willpower
Duration: Based on successes and any contest from an unwilling target
• One pound/one-half kilogram
•• 20 pounds/10 kilograms
••• 200 pounds/100 kilograms
•••• 500 pounds/250 kilograms
••••• 1,000 pounds/500 kilograms
One success one turn
Two successes two turns
Three successes three turns
Four successes four turns
Five successes five turns
Rather than telepathy or direct control, Animal Psi
is the ability to communicate with animals, reading
their emotional state and intent, and asking them to
do things. The animal doesn’t have to agree, but the
psychic has a much better chance of getting an animal
to follow her instructions than almost anyone else. At
each level, the psychic can both better understand what
an animal is thinking, and can issue short commands
to the animal.
Talking to animals is a surprisingly useful talent
for an intelligence agent. In cities, a talented psychic
can send a pigeon or seagull to track a target, use rats
to get into locked apartments, and talk to foxes and
raccoons to discover what happened before the psychic
arrived. Most psychics with this numen keep a number
of tame, trained animals — from cats and dogs to rats
and parrots — who are used to their abilities. This
power only works when the user can clearly see and
hear the animal she is communicating with.
Animal Psi works best on higher mammals — creatures
believed to possess nearly human-level intelligence, such as
chimpanzees and dolphins — and trained lower mammals,
such as dogs, cats, rats, and horses.
To affect other animals the psychic must take a penalty
to his Animal Psi dots per the table below — with Animal
Psi ••, he can read the current emotions of a higher
mammal, but only read the basic intent of a wild lower
THE HUNTERS HUNTED II 135
Penalty Animal Type
0 Higher mammals, trained lower mammals
-1 Wild lower mammals, trained birds (reduce
penalty to 0 at Animal Psi •••)
-2 Wild birds, trained reptiles
-3 Wild reptiles
-4 Any other animal
Roll: Perception + Animal Ken (difficulty 7)
Modifiers: Per type of animal, as described above
Duration: Can communicate for one minute per success.
Animal Psi Levels
• Read Basic Intent/Communication: The user can
read an animal’s basic intent, such as knowing whether
it will attack or flee, and can both talk to the animal and
understand what the animal “says” in return.
•• Read Current Emotions/Simple Command: The
psychic can read an animal’s current emotional state, such as
knowing whether an animal is attacking out of anger or hatred
or hunger. The psychic may also give a simple command that
the animal is compelled to follow, which can be no more than
six words long.
••• Read Wants and Needs/Complex Command:
The psychic can read an animal’s wants and needs without
needing to ask, knowing that an animal wants him to
follow or to stay away. The psychic can also give a complex
command, usually in the form of two simple commands
strung together (“Follow that man, and then come back to
me.”) The animal will continue to follow the commands
for the duration of the power.
•••• Anticipate Instincts/Borrow Memories: The
psychic can anticipate an animal’s complex instincts,
knowing how it will react in response to events that haven’t
yet occurred. He may also borrow the animal’s memories,
finding out what the animal has seen, heard, or smelled
over the past six hours.
••••• Mental Communion: The psychic can send
his senses along with the animal, nudging the animal
to go where he wants it to, and perceiving with all of its
senses — a dog’s sense of smell, or a hunting bird’s eyesight.
When using this power, the psychic is entirely unaware
of his surroundings.
Some people’s psychic potential only manifests itself as
a cloud of mental static. Though this talent has no effect
on most people, it prevents other psychics from using
their talents. Psychics with this talent can damp it down
by concentrating, but cannot turn it off completely. It
doesn’t have any effect on the mental Disciplines of the
Kindred, or the spiritual Gifts of the Garou. A psychic
with Anti-Psi cannot possess any other Psychic Numina.
Anti-Psi is a rare talent, for the only way to discover it is
by being around other psychics. Project: WINTERGREEN
discovered twelve people with this power before it was
shut down. It inducted four of them into the NSA, and
discovered that the SAD already employed two more.
Duration: Anti-psi is permanently active. Users can damp
their power down to the one-dot level, but add +2 to the difficulty
of all Mental actions due to their intense concentration.
• The cloud extends out to a five-yard/five-meter radius
around the user. Anyone in the cloud subtracts one die
from all Psychic Phenomena dice pools.
•• The cloud extends out to a ten-yard/ten-meter radius
around the user. Anyone in the cloud subtracts two dice
from all Psychic Phenomena dice pools.
••• The cloud extends out to a fifteen-yard/fifteenmeter
radius around the user. Anyone in the cloud subtracts
four dice from all Psychic Phenomena dice pools.
•••• The cloud extends out to a twenty-yard/twentymeter
radius around the user. Anyone in the cloud subtracts
six dice from all Psychic Phenomena dice pools.
••••• The cloud extends out to a twenty-five yard/
twenty-five meter radius around the user. Anyone in the
cloud subtracts eight dice from all Psychic Phenomena
Faith is a sacred trust in the divine usually manifested in the form of a religion. Millions of people enrich their lives through this sacred trust, but only a blessed few have been personally touched by the divine. True Faith is a combination of this trust and a divine favor that brings about a profound conviction that can protect an individual against the depredations of the evil, the corrupt, and the profane — such as the Kindred.
The blessings of True Faith are very rare. Devoted worshippers of every faith exist, but only a scant few have this robust holy connection. Official religious investments are not required to possess True Faith; characters with True Faith are not required to be priests, rabbi, or clerics to be chosen. Indeed, many men of the cloth themselves aren’t so favored as to be able to command True Faith.
Characters with True Faith have the ability to perform miracles. Some believe that the presence of these special people is a sign that, whatever higher powers exist, they have not forsaken the world.
The Light of God theory proposes that those with True Faith are ordinary mortals who have been chosen by the divine to protect the world. A few theorists believe that they are Nephilim, mortal descendants of angels or other higher beings.
Acquiring True Faith
True Faith is a gift of the divine. Characters with True Faith are chosen to bear that gift for a specific purpose. It is recommended that players interested in True Faith Numina have a discussion with the Storyteller about the background and potential story for their characters. A player should select a religion or creed that fits with the character’s background and story.
The manifestation of True Faith often requires that the Faithful individual suffer through a crisis, a “dark night of the soul” in which the universe seems to test her belief and resolve. Many of the Faithful have spent long periods of contemplation considering the many facets of their faith as it applies to the world, considering how best to follow the tenets of their faith. Should one of the Faithful fail to follow the mandates of her faith (as determined by the Storyteller), her player must make a Conscience roll at a difficulty of 9 to resist the wavering of the character’s True Faith and the concurrent loss of a level in the Numina. A character who flagrantly disregards the core beliefs of her faith finds that her connection to the divine becomes more and more distant.
Regaining faith is much harder once an individual has lost it. This can be an intense storytelling experience for a hunter, as the character experiences a true crisis of faith and must work diligently and piously to return to the good graces of the divine. Whether gaining, losing, or regaining True Faith, such a story element should be treated as a strong dramatic turning point in a character’s development.
In addition, Storytellers are encouraged to handle True Faith with care. On the one hand, the close relationship of True Faith with real-world religions requires respectful treatment of the faiths in representation. At the same time, the reduction of the ways of higher powers to an abstract system of dice rolls and “powers” can undermine the gravity of what the Numina represents.
No character may begin a chronicle with more than one level of the True Faith Numina.
Increasing True Faith
True Faith is increased by acts of devotion toward the character’s revered higher power or cause. Additional points are awarded only at the Storyteller’s discretion, based on appropriate behavior and deeds. The Storyteller should closely consider the Faithful’s actions during the course of the story and inform the player when he believes that it is appropriate that next level be purchased.
Systems for True Faith
Unlike the other Numina Paths, True Faith only has a single Path.
True Faith grants the believers special benefits:
• Each level of True Faith grants an extra point of Willpower.
• Each point of True Faith acts as a die of divine protection to resist the effects of Numina, vampire Disciplines, or other supernatural powers. When a character would be affected by a Kindred Discipline or other power, her player may spend a point of Willpower and roll the character’s True Faith rating as a dice pool against a difficulty of 7. Successes earned on this roll subtract successes from the activation roll of the power in question. This protection affects only powers that would directly affect the character, and only if a dice roll is required to determine their degree of success.
It offers no protection against passive or indirect uses of powers such as Aura Perception or Fortitude.
The True Faith Numina, like any other, has a rating of 1 to 5. Exactly what protection is afforded to the individual depends on this rating, as described below.
At their discretion, Storytellers may wish to amend or alter these benefits to reflect the intervention of higher powers as it illustrates the themes of their own chronicles.
True Faith Levels
• Any character with True Faith may attempt to repel vampires, ghosts, and other supernatural creatures by brandishing a holy symbol or uttering prayers. The player of the Faithful spends a Willpower point and rolls her character’s True Faith rating against a difficulty equal to the creature’s permanent Willpower.
The successes garnered indicate the number of turns that the creature must flee from the character while she invokes the protection of prayer or the holy symbol. If the activation roll yields no successes, a supernatural creature need not step back, but may not advance. A botch indicates that it may advance unhindered. If the religious symbol is placed against a vampire’s body, each success causes a level of aggravated damage, burning into the creature’s flesh.
•• The Faithful may sense the presence of a vampire. She need not consciously try to detect the vampire’s presence, but she must be in peaceful, quiet surroundings, perhaps alone in thought, praying, reading a religious book, meditating, etc. The Faithful will not sense the vampire if she is preoccupied (e.g., arguing) or in a crowded, noisy place (jostled by a mob, in the midst of a party, etc.). This ability doesn’t light up the vampire like a beacon; the Storyteller reveals the presence of the vampire only when the Faithful’s attention would indicate such. Note that the character doesn’t know exactly what she senses through her faith. All she knows is that something sinister is nearby.
••• The Faithful is immune to Chimerstry, Dementation, Dominate, Obfuscate, and other supernatural effects that confound the mind.
•••• The Faithful may not be turned into a ghoul. She is unaffected by Presence and other supernatural effects that manipulate emotions.
••••• The mere presence of the Faithful may fill a vampire or other supernatural creature with self-loathing, disgust, terror, or even physical pain. The player of any vampire who hears the Faithful pray or preach, or who is touched by the Faithful, must make a successful Rötschreck roll (difficulty 9) to resist having the Kindred flee immediately and for the duration of the scene. A vampire who is unable to flee is reduced to a gibbering wreck, flailing on the floor, screaming, sobbing, or begging for mercy.
Miracles of True Faith
A miracle is an instance of direct divine intervention. The Faithful often pray to the divine as a form of worship and meditation. On rare and inspiring occasions, the divine answers a prayer in the form of a miracle. Such miracles should be rare, never more than one in a story, and always dramatic.
The Storyteller should examine the motivation of the character invoking the miracle. The divine likely doesn’t care if the Faithful wants to drive a luxury car, win the lottery, or even survive an encounter with a random vampire. Every religion has martyrs, and death is sometimes in the divine plan. Prayers that are selfless and seek to help or inspire others have the best chance of being answered. No hard-and-fast system for invoking miracles exists — it’s simply a dramatic reminder that Faithful individuals bear a divine duty and can occasionally serve as conduits for their greater power’s will in the world.
Miracles are impossible to define mechanically, as they should be specifically tailored to the situation. Some examples include:
• Helping a barren woman be able to bear a child
• Curing a terrible and painful disease, such as cancer
• Helping someone trapped under a collapsed building
• Finding yourself at the side of a friend in desperate need