Thaumaturgy encompasses blood magic and other sorcerous arts available to Kindred. The Tremere Clan is best known for their possession (and jealous hoarding) of this Discipline. The Tremere created Thaumaturgy by combining mortal wizardry with the power of vampiric vitae, and as a result it is a versatile and powerful Discipline. Although there are whispers of the existence of Tremere antitribu in the Sabbat, other Clans in the Sword of Caine have also researched and developed access to such mystical might. Nevertheless, the Tremere of the Camarilla remain this Discipline’s masters.
Like Necromancy, the practice of Thaumaturgy is divided into paths and rituals. Thaumaturgical paths are applications of the vampire’s knowledge of blood magic, allowing her to create effects on a whim. Rituals are more formulaic in nature, most akin to ancient magical “spells.” Because so many different paths and rituals are available to the arcane Tremere, one never knows what to expect when confronted with a practitioner of this Discipline.
When a character first learns Thaumaturgy, the player selects a path for the character. That path is considered the character’s primary path, and she automatically receives one dot in it, as well as one Level One ritual. Thereafter, whenever the character increases her level in Thaumaturgy, her rating in the primary path increases by one as well. Additional rituals are learned separately, as part of a story; players need not pay experience points for their characters to learn rituals up to the level equal to their overall rating in Thaumaturgy, though they must find someone to teach the rituals in question. Path ratings never exceed 5, though the overall Thaumaturgy score may. If a character reaches a rating of 5 in her primary path and increases her Thaumaturgy score afterward, she may allocate her “free” path dot to a different path. Many Kindred fear crossing the practitioners of Thaumaturgy. It is a very potent and mutable Discipline, and almost anything the Kindred wishes may be accomplished through its magic.
Paths define the types of magic a vampire can perform. A vampire typically learns his primary path from his sire, though it is not unknown for some vampires to study under many different tutors.
As mentioned before, the first path a character learns is considered her primary path and increases automatically as the character advances in the Discipline itself. Secondary paths may be learned once the character has acquired two or more dots in her primary path, and they must be raised separately with experience points. Furthermore, a character’s rating in her primary path must always be at least one dot higher than any of her secondary paths until she has mastered her primary path. Once the character has achieved the fifth level of her primary path, secondary paths may be increased to that level.
Each time the character invokes one of the powers of a Thaumaturgical path, the thaumaturge’s player must spend a blood point and make a Willpower roll against a difficulty equal to the power’s level +3. Only one success is required to invoke a path’s effect — path levels, not successes, govern the power of blood magic. Failure on this roll indicates that the magic fails. A botch causes some kind of loss or catastrophic backfire, such as losing a Willpower point (or dot!), spontaneous combustion, or accidentally letting a living statue run rampant. Thaumaturgy is an unforgiving art. Various Sects and Clans have different access to each path, but unless the Storyteller decides otherwise, it is assumed the Tremere have some access to all of them.
(“Having access” does not mean the same thing as “easily gained,” especially within the Tremere power structure.)
The paths start with one of the most common (The Path of Blood), and thereafter are presented in alphabetical order. (The unusual “path” of Thaumaturgical Countermagic is also presented, although it is considered a separate Discipline).
The Path of Blood
Almost every Tremere studies the Path of Blood as her primary path. It encompasses some of the most fundamental principles of Thaumaturgy, based as it is on the manipulation of Kindred vitae. If a player wishes to select another path as her character’s primary path, the Storyteller may require additional reasoning (though choosing a different path is by no means unheard of).
• A Taste for Blood
This power was developed as a means of testing a foe’s might — an extremely important ability in the tumultuous early nights of Clan Tremere. By merely touching the blood of his subject, the caster may determine how much vitae remains in the subject and, if the subject is a vampire, how recently he has fed, his approximate Generation and, with three or more successes, whether he has ever committed diablerie.
System: The number of successes achieved on the roll determines how much information the thaumaturge gleans and how accurate it is.
•• Blood Rage
This power allows a vampire to force another Kindred to expend blood against his will. The caster must touch her subject for this power to work, though only the lightest contact is necessary. A vampire affected by this power might feel a physical rush as the thaumaturge heightens his Physical Attributes, might find himself suddenly looking more human, or may even find himself on the brink of frenzy as his stores of vitae are mystically depleted.
System: Each success forces the subject to spend one blood point immediately in the way the caster desires (which must go towards some logical expenditure the target vampire could make, such as increasing Physical Attributes or powering Disciplines). Note that blood points forcibly spent in this manner may exceed the normal “per turn” maximum indicated by the victim’s Generation. Each success gained also increases the subject’s difficulty to resist frenzy by one. The thaumaturge may not use Blood Rage on herself to circumvent generational limits.
••• Blood of Potency
The thaumaturge gains such control over his own blood that he may effectively “concentrate” it, making it more powerful for a short time. In effect, he may temporarily lower his own Generation with this power. This power may be used only once per night.
System: One success on the Willpower roll allows the character to lower his Generation by one step for one hour. Each additional success grants the Kindred either one step down in Generation or one hour of effect. Successes earned must be spent both to decrease the vampire’s Generation and to maintain the change (this power cannot be activated again until the original application wears off). If the vampire is diablerized while this power is in effect, it wears off immediately and the diablerist gains power appropriate to the caster’s actual Generation. Furthermore, any mortals Embraced by the thaumaturge are born to the Generation appropriate to their sire’s original Generation (e.g., a Tenth-Generation Tremere who has reduced his effective Generation to Eighth still produces Eleventh-Generation childer). Once the effect wears off, any blood over the character’s blood pool maximum dilutes, leaving the character at his regular blood pool maximum. Thus, if a Twelfth-Generation Tremere (maximum blood pool of 11) decreased his Generation to Ninth (maximum blood pool 14), ingested 14 blood points, and had this much vitae in his system when the power wore off, his blood pool would immediately drop to 11.
•••• Theft of Vitae
A thaumaturge using this power siphons vitae from her subject. She need never come in contact with the subject — blood literally streams out in a physical torrent from the subject to the Kindred (though it is often mystically absorbed and need not enter through the mouth).
System: The number of successes determines how many blood points the caster transfers from the subject. The subject must be visible to the thaumaturge and within 50 feet (15 meters). Using this power prevents the caster from being blood-bound, but otherwise counts as if the vampire ingested the blood herself. This power is spectacularly obvious, and Camarilla princes justifiably consider its public use a breach of the Masquerade.
••••• Cauldron of Blood
A thaumaturge using this power boils her subject’s blood in his veins like water on a stove. The Kindred must touch her subject, and it is this contact that simmers the subject’s blood. This power is always fatal to mortals, and causes great damage to even the mightiest vampires.
System: The number of successes gained determines how many blood points are brought to boil. The subject suffers one health level of aggravated damage for each point boiled (individuals with Fortitude may soak this damage using only their Fortitude dice). A single success kills any mortal, though some ghouls with access to Fortitude are said to have survived after soaking all of the aggravated damage.
This path allows a vampire limited control over and communion with inanimate objects. Elemental Mastery can only be used to affect the unliving — a vampire could not cause a tree to walk by using Animate the Unmoving, for instance. Thaumaturges who seek mastery over living things generally study paths such as The Green Path.
• Elemental Strength
The vampire can draw upon the strength and resilience of the earth, or of the objects around him, to increase his physical prowess without the need for large amounts of blood.
System: The player allocates a total of three temporary bonus dots between the character’s Strength and Stamina. The number of successes on the roll to activate the power is the number of turns these dots remain. The player may spend a Willpower point to increase this duration by one turn. This power cannot be “stacked” — one application must expire before the next can be made.
•• Wooden Tongues
A vampire may speak, albeit in limited fashion, with the spirit of any inanimate object. The conversation may not be incredibly interesting, as most rocks and chairs have limited concern for what occurs around them, but the vampire can get at least a general impression of what the subject has “experienced.” Note that events which are significant to a vampire may not be the same events that interest a lawn gnome.
System: The number of successes dictates the amount and relevance of the information that the character receives. One success may yield a boulder’s memory of a forest fire, while three may indicate that it remembers a shadowy figure running past, and five will cause the rock to relate a precise description of a local Gangrel.
••• Animate the Unmoving
Objects affected by this power move as the vampire using it dictates. An object cannot take an action that would be completely inconceivable for something with its form — for instance, a door could not leap from its hinges and carry someone across a street. However, seemingly solid objects can become flexible within reason: Barstools can run with their legs, guns can twist out of their owners’ hands or fire while holstered, and humanoid statues can move like normal humans.
System: This power requires the expenditure of a Willpower point with less than four successes on the roll. Each use of this power animates one object no larger than human-sized; the caster may simultaneously control a number of animate objects equal to his Intelligence rating. Objects animated by this power stay animated as long as they are within the caster’s line of sight or up to an hour, although the thaumaturge can take other actions during that time.
•••• Elemental Form
The vampire can take the shape of any inanimate object of a mass roughly equal to her own. A desk, a statue, or a bicycle would be feasible, but a house or a pen would be beyond this power’s capacity.
System: The number of successes determines how completely the character takes the shape she wishes to counterfeit. At least three successes are required for the character to use her senses or Disciplines while in her altered form. This power lasts for the remainder of the night, although the character may return to her normal form at will.
••••• Summon Elemental
A vampire may summon one of the traditional spirits of the elements: a salamander (fire), a sylph (air), a gnome (earth), or an undine (water). Some thaumaturges claim to have contacted elemental spirits of glass, electricity, blood, and even atomic energy, but such reports remain unconfirmed (even as their authors are summoned to Vienna for questioning). The caster may choose what type of elemental he wishes to summon and command.
System: The character must be near some quantity of the classical element corresponding to the spirit he wishes to invoke. The spirit invoked may or may not actually follow the caster’s instructions once summoned, but generally will at least pay rough attention to what it’s being told to do. The number of successes gained on the Willpower roll determines the power level of the elemental.
The elemental has three dots in all Physical and Mental Attributes. One dot may be added to one of the elemental’s Physical Attributes for each success gained by the caster on the initial roll. The Storyteller should determine the elemental’s Abilities, attacks, and damage, and any special powers it has related to its element.
Once the elemental has been summoned, the thaumaturge must exert control over it. The more powerful the elemental, the more difficult a task this is. The player rolls Manipulation + Occult (difficulty of the number of successes scored on the casting roll + 4), and the number of successes determines the degree of control:
Botch The elemental immediately attacks the thaumaturge.
Failure The elemental goes free and may attack anyone or leave the scene at the Storyteller’s discretion.
1 success The elemental does not attack its summoner.
2 successes The elemental behaves favorably toward the summoner and may perform a service in exchange for
payment (determined by the Storyteller).
3 successes The elemental performs one service, within reason.
4 successes The elemental performs any one task for the caster that does not jeopardize
its own existence.
5 successes The elemental performs any task that the caster sets for it, even one that may take several nights to complete or that places its existence at risk.
The Green Path
The Green Path deals with the manipulation of plant matter of all sorts. Anything more complex than an algae bloom can theoretically be controlled through the appropriate application of this path. Ferns, roses, dandelions, and even ancient redwoods are all valid targets for this path’s powers, and living and dead plant matter are equally affected. While not as immediately impressive as some other more widely practiced paths, the Green Path (sometimes disparagingly referred to as “Botanical Mastery”) is as subtle and powerful as the natural world which it affects.
• Herbal Wisdom
With a touch, a vampire can commune with the spirit of a plant. Conversations held in this manner are often cryptic but rewarding — the wisdom and experience of the spirits of some trees surpasses that of the oracles of legend. Crabgrass, on the other hand, rarely has much insight to offer, but might reveal the appearance of the last person who trod upon it.
System: The number of successes rolled determines the amount of information that can be gained from the contact. Depending on the precise information that the vampire seeks, the Storyteller might require the player to roll Intelligence + Occult in order to interpret the results of the communication.
1 success Fleeting cryptic impressions
2 successes One or two clear images
3 successes A concise answer to a simple query
4 successes A detailed response to one or more complex questions
5 successes The sum total of the plant-spirit’s knowledge on a given subject
•• Speed the Season’s Passing
This power allows a thaumaturge to accelerate a plant’s growth, causing roses to bloom in a matter of minutes or trees to shoot up from saplings overnight. Alternately, she can speed a plant’s death and decay, withering grass and crumbling wooden stakes with but a touch.
System: The character touches the target plant. The player rolls normally, and the number of successes determines the amount of growth or decay. One success gives the plant a brief growth spurt or simulates the effects of harsh weather, while three noticeably enlarge or wither it. With five successes, a full-grown plant springs from a seed or crumbles to dust in a few minutes, and a tree sprouts fruit or begins decaying almost instantaneously. If this power is used in combat, three successes are needed to render a wooden weapon completely useless. Two successes suffice to weaken it, while five cause it to disintegrate in the wielder’s hand.
••• Dance of Vines
The thaumaturge can animate a mass of vegetation up to his own size, using it for utilitarian or combat purposes with equal ease. Leaves can walk along a desktop, ivy can act as a scribe, and jungle creepers can strangle opponents. Intruders should beware of Tremere workshops that harbor potted rowan saplings.
System: Any total amount of vegetation with a mass less than or equal to the character’s own may be animated through this power. The plants stay active for one turn per success scored on the roll, and are under the complete control of the character. If used for combat purposes, the plants have Strength and Dexterity ratings each equal to half the character’s Willpower (rounded down) and Brawl ratings one lower than that of the character.
Dance of Vines cannot make plants uproot themselves and go stomping about. Even the most energetic vegetation is incapable of pulling out of the soil and walking under the effect of this power. However, 200 pounds (100 kilograms) of kudzu can cover a considerable area all by itself….
•••• Verdant Haven
This power weaves a temporary shelter out of a sufficient amount of plant matter. In addition to providing physical protection from the elements (and even sunlight), the Verdant Haven also establishes a mystical barrier which is nearly impassable to anyone the caster wishes to exclude. A Verdant Haven appears as a six-foot-tall (twometer- tall) hemisphere of interlocked branches, leaves, and vines with no discernible opening, and even to the casual observer it appears to be an unnatural construction.
Verdant Havens are rumored to have supernatural healing properties, hut no Kindred have reported experiencing such benefits from a stay in one.
System: A character must be standing in a heavily vegetated area to use this power. The Verdant Haven springs up around the character over the course of three turns. Once the haven is established, anyone wishing to enter the haven without the caster’s permission must achieve more than the caster’s original number of successes on a single roll of Wits + Survival (difficulty equal to the caster’s Willpower). The haven lasts until the next sunset, or until the caster dispels or leaves it. If the caster scored four or more successes, the haven is impenetrable to sunlight unless physically breached.
••••• Awaken the Forest Giants
Entire trees can be animated by a master of the Green Path. Ancient oaks can be temporarily given the gift of movement, pulling their roots from the soil and shaking the ground with their steps. While not as versatile as elementals or other summoned spirits, trees brought to ponderous life via this power display awesome strength and resilience.
System: The character touches the tree to be animated. The player spends a blood point and rolls normally. If the roll succeeds, the player must spend a blood point for every success. The tree stays animated for one turn per success rolled; once this time expires, the tree puts its roots down wherever it stands and cannot be animated again until the next night. While animated, the tree follows the character’s verbal commands to the best of its ability. An animated tree has Strength and Stamina equal to the caster’s Thaumaturgy rating, Dexterity 2, and a Brawl rating equal to the caster’s own. It is immune to bashing damage, and all lethal damage dice pools are halved due to its size.
Once the animating energy leaves a tree, it puts down roots immediately, regardless of what it is currently standing on. A tree re-establishing itself in the soil can punch through concrete and asphalt to find nourishing dirt and water underneath, meaning that it is entirely possible for a sycamore to root itself in the middle of a road without any warning.
Hands of Destruction
This Path is practiced most commonly by the various thaumaturges of the Sabbat. Though it is not widely seen outside that Sect, a few Camarilla Tremere have managed to learn the secrets of this path over the centuries. The Hands of Destruction has an infamous history, and some Tremere refuse to practice it due to rumors that it is demonic in origin.
This power accelerates the decrepitude of its target, causing it to wither, rot, or otherwise break down. The target must be inanimate, though dead organic matter can be affected.
System: If the roll is successful, the inanimate object touched by the thaumaturge ages 10 years for every minute the Kindred touches it. If the vampire breaks physical contact and wishes to age the object again, another blood point must be spent and another roll must be made. This power does not affect vampires.
•• Gnarl Wood
This power warps and bends wooden objects. Though the wood is otherwise undamaged, this power often leaves the objects completely useless. This power may also be used to swell or contract wood, in addition to bending it into unwholesome shapes. Unlike other powers of this path, Gnarl Wood requires merely a glance rather than physical contact.
System: Fifty pounds or twenty-five kilograms of visible wood may be gnarled for each blood point spent on this power (the thaumaturge may expend as much blood as she likes on this power, up to her per-turn generational maximum). It is also possible to warp multiple visible objects — like all the stakes a team of vampire-hunters wields.
••• Acidic Touch
The vampire secretes a bilious, acidic fluid from any portion of his body. The viscous acid corrodes metal, destroys wood, and causes horrendous chemical burns to living tissue.
System: The player spends one blood point to create the acid — the blood literally transmutes into the volatile secretion. One blood point creates enough acid to burn through a quarter-inch or half a centimeter of steel plate or three inches (seven centimeters) of wood. The damage from an acid-augmented hand-to-hand attack is aggravated and costs one blood point per turn to use.
A thaumaturge is immune to her own acidic touch.
This power withers a victim’s limb, leaving only a desiccated, almost mummified husk of bone and skin. The effects are instantaneous; in mortals, they are also irreversible.
System: The victim may resist the effects of Atrophy by scoring three or more successes on a Stamina + Athletics roll (difficulty 8). Failure means the limb is permanently and completely crippled. Partial resistance is possible: One success indicates that the difficulty of any roll involving the use of the arm increases by two, though these effects are still permanent with regard to mortals. Two successes signify that difficulties increase by one. Vampires afflicted by this power may spend five blood points to rejuvenate atrophied limbs. Mortals are permanently crippled. This power affects only limbs or parts of limbs (arms, legs, hands); it does not work on victims’ heads, torsos, etc.
••••• Turn to Dust
This fearsome power accelerates decrepitude in its victims. Mortals literally age at the mere touch of a skilled thaumaturge, gaining decades in moments.
System: Each success on the roll ages the victim by 10 years. A potential victim may resist with a Stamina + Courage roll (difficulty 8), but must accumulate more successes than the caster’s activation roll — it’s an all-or-nothing affair. If the victim succeeds, he does not age at all. If he does not acquire more successes than the thaumaturge, he ages the full amount. Obviously, this power, while it affects vampires, has no detrimental effect on them (they’re immortal). At most, a Kindred victim grows paler and withers slightly (-1 to Appearance) for one night.
The Lure of Flames
This path grants the thaumaturge the ability to conjure forth mystical flames — small fires at first, but skilled magicians may create great conflagrations. Fire created by this path is not “natural.” In fact, many vampires believe the flames to be conjured from Hell itself.
The Lure of Flames is greatly feared, as fire is one of the surest ways to bring Final Death upon a vampire.
Fire conjured by The Lure of Flames must be released for it to have any effect. Thus, a “palm of flame” does not burn the vampire’s hand and cause an aggravated wound (nor does it cause the caster to frenzy) — it merely produces light. Once the flame has been released, however, it burns normally and the character has no control over it.
System: The number of successes determines how accurately the vampire places the flame in his desired location (declared before the roll is made). One success is all that is necessary to conjure a flame in one’s hand, while five successes place a flame anywhere in the Kindred’s line of sight. Less successes mean that the flame appears somewhere at the Storyteller’s discretion — as a rough rule of thumb, the thaumaturge can accurately place a flame within 10 yards or meters of themselves per success.
Individual descriptions are not provided for each level of this path — fire is fire, after all (including potentially causing frenzy in other vampires witnessing it). The chart below describes the path level required to generate a specific amount of flame. To soak the damage at all, a vampire must have the Fortitude Discipline. Fire under the caster’s control does not harm the vampire or cause him to frenzy, but fires started as a result of the unnatural flame affect the thaumaturge normally.
• Candle (difficulty 3 to soak, one health level of aggravated damage/ turn)
•• Palm of flame (difficulty 4 to soak, one health level of aggravated damage/turn)
••• Campfire (difficulty 5 to soak, two health levels of aggravated damage/turn)
•••• Bonfire (difficulty 7 to soak, two health levels of aggravated damage/ turn)
••••• Inferno (difficulty 9 to soak, three health levels of aggravated damage/ turn)
Vampires are rarely associated with the ocean in most mythologies, and most Kindred have nothing to do with water in large quantities simply because they have no reason to do so. Nevertheless, Neptune’s Might has enjoyed a small, but devoted, following for centuries among Camarilla thaumaturges. This path is based primarily around the manipulation of standing water, although some of its more disturbing effects depart from this principle.
Once a character reaches the third level of Neptune’s Might, the player may choose to specialize in either fresh water or salt water. Such specialization lowers all Neptune’s Might difficulties by one when dealing with the chosen medium but raises them by one when deal ing with the opposite. Blood is considered neither fresh nor salty for this purpose, and difficulties in manipulating it are unaffected.
• Eyes of the Sea
The thaumaturge may peer into a body of water and view events that have transpired on, in, or around it from the water’s perspective. Some older practitioners of this art claim that the vampire communes with the spirits of the waters when using this power; younger Kindred scoff at such claims.
System: The number of successes rolled determines how far into the past the character can look.
1 success One day
2 successes One week
3 successes One month
4 successes One year
5 successes 10 years
The Storyteller may require a Perception + Occult roll for the character to discern very small details in the transmitted images. This power can only he used on standing water; lakes and puddles qualify, but oceans, rivers, sewers, and wine glasses do not.
•• Prison of Water
The thaumaturge can command a sufficiently large quantity of water to animate itself and imprison a subject. This power requires a significant amount of fluid to be fully effective, although even a few gallons can be used to shape chains of animated water.
System: The number of successes scored on the roll is the number of successes the victim must score on a Strength roll (difficulty 8; Potence can add to this roll) to break free. A subject may be held in only one prison at a time, although the caster is free to invoke multiple uses of this power upon separate victims and may dissolve these prisons at will. If a sufficient quantity of water (at least a bathtub’s worth) is not present, the difficulty of the Willpower roll to activate this power is raised by one.
••• Blood to Water
The thaumaturge has now attained enough power over water that she can transmute other liquids to this basic element. The most commonly seen use of this power is as an assault; with but a touch, the victim’s blood transforms to water, weakening vampires and killing mortals in moments.
System: The character must touch her intended victim. The player rolls Willpower normally. Each success converts one of the victim’s blood points to water. One success kills a mortal within minutes. Vampires who lose blood points to this power also suffer dice pool penalties as if they had received an equivalent number of health levels of injury. The water left in the target’s system by this attack evaporates out at a rate of one blood point’s worth per hour, but the lost blood does not return.
At the Storyteller’s discretion, other liquids may be turned to water with this power (the difficulty for such an action is reduced by one unless the substance is particularly dangerous or magical in nature). The character must still touch the substance or its container to use this power.
•••• Flowing Wall
Tales of vampires’ inability to cross running water may have derived in part from garbled accounts of this power in action. The thaumaturge can animate water to an even greater degree than is possible with the use of Prison of Water, commanding it to rise up to form a barrier impassable to almost any being.
System: The character touches the surface of a standing body of water; the player spends three Willpower points and the normal required blood point and rolls normally. Successes are applied to both width and height of the wall; each success “buys” 10 feet/three meters in one dimension. The wall may be placed anywhere within the character’s line of sight, and must be formed in a straight line. The wall lasts until the next sunrise. It cannot be climbed, though it can be flown over. To pass through the barrier, any supernatural being (including beings trying to pass the wall on other levels of existence, such as ghosts) must score at least three successes on a single Willpower roll (difficulty 9).
At this level of mastery, the thaumaturge can directly attack living and unliving targets by removing the water from their bodies. Victims killed by this power leave behind hideous mummified corpses. This power can also be used for less aggressive purposes, such as drying out wet clothes — or evaporating puddles to keep other practitioners of this path from using them.
System: This power can be used on any target in the character’s line of sight. The player rolls normally; the victim resists with a roll of Stamina + Fortitude (difficulty 9). Each success gained by the caster translates into one health level of lethal damage inflicted on the victim. This injury cannot be soaked (the resistance roll replaces soak for this attack) but can be healed normally. Vampires lose blood points instead of health levels, though if a vampire has no blood points this attack inflicts health level loss as it would against a mortal. The victim of this attack must also roll Courage (difficulty equal to the number of successes scored by the caster + 3) to be able to act on the turn following the attack; failure means he is overcome with agony and can do nothing.
Movement of the Mind
This path gives the thaumaturge the ability to move objects telekinetically through the mystic power of blood. At higher levels, even flight is possible (but be careful who sees you…). Objects under the character’s control may be manipulated as if she held them — they may be lifted, spun, juggled, or even “thrown,” though creating enough force to inflict actual damage requires mastery of at least the fourth level of this path. Some casters skilled in this path even use it to guard their havens, animating swords, axes, and firearms to ward off intruders. This path may frighten and disconcert onlookers.
System: The number of successes indicates the duration of the caster’s control over the object (or subject). Each success allows one turn of manipulation, though the Kindred may attempt to maintain control after this time by making a new roll (she need not spend additional blood to maintain control). If the roll is successful, control is maintained. If a thaumaturge loses or relaxes control over an object and later manipulates it again, her player must spend another blood point, as a new attempt is being made. Five or more successes on the initial roll means the vampire can control the object for duration of the scene.
If this power is used to manipulate a living being, the subject may attempt to resist. In this case, the caster and the subject make opposed Willpower rolls each turn the control is exercised. Like The Lure of Flames, individual power levels are not provided for this path — consult the chart below to see how much weight a thaumaturge may control. Once a Kindred reaches a rating of 3, she may levitate herself and “fly” at approximately running speed, no matter how much she weighs, though the weight restrictions apply if she manipulates other objects or subjects. Once a Kindred achieves 4, she may “throw” objects at a Strength equal to her level of mastery of this path.
• One pound/one-half kilogram
•• 20 pounds/10 kilograms
••• 200 pounds/100 kilograms
•••• 500 pounds/250 kilograms
••••• 1000 pounds/500 kilograms
The Path of Conjuring
Invoking objects “out of thin air” has been a staple of occult and supernatural legend since long before the rise of the Tremere. This Thaumaturgical path enables powerful conjurations limited only by the mind of the practitioner.
Objects summoned via this path bear two distinct characteristics. They are uniformly “generic” in that each object summoned, if summoned again, would look exactly as it did at first. For example, a knife would be precisely the same knife if created twice; the two would be indistinguishable. Even a specific knife — the one a character’s father used to threaten her — would appear identical every time it was conjured. A rat would have repeated “tiled” patterns over its fur, and a garbage can would have a completely uniform fluted texture over its surface. Additionally, conjured objects bear no flaws: Weapons have no dents or scratches, tools have no distinguishing marks, and cellphones all look like they just came out of their packaging.
The limit on the size of conjured objects appears to be that of the conjurer: nothing larger than the thaumaturge can be created. The conjurer must also have some degree of familiarity with the object he wishes to call forth. Simply working from a picture or imagination calls for a higher difficulty, while objects with which the character is intimately familiar (such as the knife described above) may actually lower the difficulty, at the Storyteller’s discretion.
When a player rolls to conjure something, the successes gained on the roll indicate the quality of the summoned object. One success yields a shoddy, imperfect creation, while five successes garner the caster a nearly perfect replica.
• Summon the Simple Form
At this level of mastery, the conjurer may create simple, inanimate objects. The object cannot have any moving parts and may not be made of multiple materials. For example, the conjurer may summon a steel baton, a lead pipe, a wooden stake, or a chunk of granite.
System: Each turn the conjurer wishes to keep the object in existence, another Willpower point must be spent or the object vanishes.
At this level, the conjurer no longer needs to pay Willpower costs to keep an object in existence. The object is permanent, though simple objects are still all that may be created.
System: The player must invest three blood points in an object to make it real.
••• Magic of the Smith
The Kindred may now conjure complex objects of multiple components and with moving parts. For example, the thaumaturge can create guns, bicycles, chainsaws, or cellphones.
System: Objects created via Magic of the Smith are automatically permanent and cost five blood points to conjure. Particularly complex items often require a Knowledge roll (Crafts, Science, Technology, etc.) in addition to the basic roll.
•••• Reverse Conjuration
This power allows the conjurer to “banish” into nonexistence any object previously called forth via this path.
System: This is an extended success roll. The conjurer must accumulate as many successes as the original caster received when creating the object in question. This can also be used by the thaumaturge to banish object she created herself with this Path.
••••• Power Over Life
This power cannot create true life, though it can summon forth impressive simulacra. Creatures (and people) summoned with this power lack the free will to act on their own, mindlessly following the simple instructions of their conjurer instead. People created in this way can be subject to the use of the Dominate power Possession, if desired.
System: The player spends 10 blood points. Imperfect and impermanent, creatures summoned via this path are too complex to exist for long. Within a week after their conjuration, the simulacra vanish into insubstantiality.
The Path of Corruption
The origins of this path are hotly debated among those who are familiar with its intricacies. One theory holds that its secrets were taught to the Tremere by demons and that use of it brings the practitioner dangerously close to the infernal powers. A second opinion has been advanced that the Path of Corruption is a holdover from the days when Clan Tremere was still mortal. The third theory, and the most disturbing to the Tremere, is that the path originated with the Followers of Set, and that knowledge of its workings was sold to the Tremere for an unspecified price. This last rumor is vehemently denied by the Tremere, which automatically makes it a favorite topic of discussion when the matter comes up.
The Path of Corruption is primarily a mentally and spiritually oriented path centered on influencing the psyches of other individuals. It can be used neither to issue commands like Dominate nor to change emotions in the moment like Presence. Rather, it produces a gradual and subtle twisting of the subject’s actions, morals, and thought processes. This path deals intimately with deception and dark desires, and those who work through it must understand the hidden places of the heart. Accordingly, no character may have a higher rating in the Path of Corruption than he has in Subterfuge.
The vampire can interrupt a subject’s thought processes, forcing the victim to reverse his current course of action. An Archon may be caused to execute a prisoner she was about to exonerate and release; a mortal lover might switch from gentle and caring to sadistic and demanding in the middle of an encounter. The results of Contradict are never precisely known to the thaumaturge in advance, but they always take the form of a more negative action than the subject had originally intended to perform.
System: This power may be used on any subject within the character’s line of sight. The player rolls as per normal. The target rolls Perception + Subterfuge (difficulty equal to the number of successes scored by the caster + 2). Two successes allow the subject to real ize that she is being influenced by some outside source.
Three successes let her pinpoint the source of the effect. Four successes give her a moment of hesitation, neither performing her original action nor its inverse, while five allow her to carry through with the original action.
The Storyteller dictates what the subject’s precise reaction to this power is. Contradict cannot be used in combat or to affect other actions (at the Storyteller’s discretion) that are mainly physical and reflexive.
This power follows the same principle as does Contradict, the release of a subject’s dark, self-destructive side. However, Subvert’s effects are longer-lasting than the momentary flare of Contradiction. Under the influence of this power, victims act on their own suppressed temptations, pursuing agendas that their morals or self-control would forbid them to follow under normal circumstances.
System: This power requires the character to make eye contact with the intended victim. The player rolls normally. The target resists with a roll of Perception + Subterfuge (difficulty equal to the target’s Manipulation + Subterfuge). If the thaumaturge scores more successes, the victim becomes inclined to follow a repressed, shameful desire for the length of time described below.
1 success Five minutes
2 successes One hour
3 successes One night
4 successes Three nights
5 successes One week
The Storyteller determines the precise desire or agenda that the victim follows. It should be in keeping with the Psychological Flaws that she possesses or with the negative aspects of her Nature (for example, a Loner desiring isolation to such an extent that she becomes violent if forced to attend a social function). The subject should not become fixated on following this new agenda at all times, but should occasionally be forced to spend a Willpower point if the opportunity to succumb arises and she wishes to resist the impulse.
“Divide and conquer” is a maxim that is well-understood by the Tremere, and Dissociate is a powerful tool with which to divide the Clan’s enemies. This power is used to break the social ties of interpersonal relationships. Even the most passionate affair or the oldest friendship can be cooled through use of Dissociate, and weaker personal ties can be destroyed altogether.
System: The character must touch the target. The player rolls normally. The target resists with a Willpower roll (difficulty of the thaumaturge’s Manipulation + Empathy). The victim loses three dice from all Social rolls for a period of time determined by the number of successes gained by the caster:
1 success Five minutes
2 successes One hour
3 successes One night
4 successes Three nights
5 successes One week
This penalty applies to all rolls that rely on Social Attributes, even those required for the use of Disciplines. If this power is used on a character who has participated in the Vaulderie or a similar ritual, that character’s Vinculum ratings are reduced by three for the duration of Dissociate’s effect.
Dissociate’s primary effect falls under roleplaying rather than game mechanics. Victims of this power should be played as withdrawn, suspicious, and emotionally distant. The Storyteller should feel free to require a Willpower point expenditure for a player who does not follow these guidelines.
This power is a much stronger and more potentially damaging form of Subvert. Addiction creates just that in the victim. By simply exposing the target to a particular sensation, substance, or action, the caster creates a powerful psychological dependence. Many thaumaturges ensure that their victims become addicted to substances or thrills that only the mystic can provide, thus creating both a source of income and potential blackmail material.
System: The subject must encounter or be exposed to the sensation, substance, or action to which the character wants to addict him. The thaumaturge then touches his target. The player rolls normally; the victim resists with a Self-Control/Instinct roll (difficulty equal to the number of successes scored by the caster + 3). Failure gives the subject an instant addiction to that object.
An addicted character must get his fix at least once a night. Every night that he goes without satisfying his desire imposes a cumulative penalty of one die on all of his dice pools (to a minimum pool of one die). The victim must roll Self-Control/Instinct (difficulty 8) every time he is confronted with the object of his addiction and wishes to keep from indulging. Addiction lasts for a number of weeks equal to the thaumaturge’s Manipulation score.
An individual may try to break the effects of Addiction. This requires an extended Self-Control/Instinct roll (difficulty of the caster’s Manipulation + Subterfuge), with one roll made per night. The addict must accumulate a number of successes equal to three times the number of successes scored by the caster. The victim may not indulge in his addiction over the time needed to accumulate these successes. If he does so, all accumulated successes are lost and he must begin anew on the next night. Note that the Self-Control/Instinct dice pool is reduced every night that the victim goes without feeding his addiction.
Many former pawns of Clan Tremere claim to have felt a strange sensation similar to depression when not in the presence of their masters. This is usually attributed to the blood bond, but is sometimes the result of the vampire’s mastery of Dependence. The final power of the Path of Corruption enables the vampire to tie her victim’s soul to her own, engendering feelings of lethargy and helplessness when the victim is not in her presence or acting to further her desires.
System: The character engages the target in conversation. The player rolls normally. The victim rolls Self-Control/Instinct (difficulty equals the number of successes scored by the caster + 3). Failure means that the victim’s psyche has been subtly bonded to that of the thaumaturge for one night per success rolled by the caster.
A bonded victim is no less likely to attack his controller, and feels no particular positive emotions toward her. However, he is psychologically addicted to her presence, and suffers a one-die penalty to all rolls when he is not around her or performing tasks for her. Additionally, he is much less resistant to her commands, and his dice pools are halved when he attempts to resist her Dominate, Presence (or other mental or emotional control powers), or mundane Social rolls. Finally, he is unable to regain Willpower when he is not in the thaumaturge’s presence.
The Path of Mars
Those rare Sabbat who have retained Thaumaturgical talents have turned their focus to the assistance of the Sect in times of war. This path has proven useful, turning the tides of several confrontations with elder vampires. The path adopts a very martial stance, whereas other blood magics tend to have subtler, less violent effects.
It is rumored that some Camarilla Tremere have learned this path, but very few of them have the right temperament to wield this path effectively.
• War Cry
A vampire on the attack can focus his will, making him less susceptible to battle fear or the powers of the undead. The vampire shouts a primal scream to start the effect, though some thaumaturges have been known to paint their faces or cut themselves open instead.
System: For the duration of one scene, the vampire adds one to his Courage Trait. Additionally, for the purposes of hostile effects, his Willpower is considered to be one higher (though this bonus applies only to the Trait itself, not the Willpower pool). A character may only gain the benefits of War Cry once per scene.
•• Strike True
The vampire makes a single attack, guided by the unholy power of her Blood. This attack strikes its foe infallibly.
System: By invoking this power, the player need not roll to see if the vampire’s attack hits — it does, automatically. Only Melee or Brawl attacks may be made in this manner. These attacks are considered to be one-success attacks; they offer no additional damage dice. Also, they may be dodged, blocked, or parried normally, and the defender needs only one success (as the attacks’ number of success is assumed to be one). Strike True has no effect if attempted on multiple attacks (dice pool splits) in a single turn from one character.
••• Wind Dance
The thaumaturge invokes the power of the winds, moving in a blur. She gains a preternatural edge in avoiding her enemies’ blows, moving out of their way before the enemy has a chance to throw them. System: The player can dodge any number of attacks with her full dice pool in a single turn. This advantage applies only to dodges — if the character wishes to attack and dodge, the player must still split her dice pool. This power lasts for one scene.
•••• Fearless Heart
The vampire temporarily augments his abilities as a warrior. Through the mystical powers of blood magic, the character becomes a potent fighting force.
System: Fearless Heart grants the vampire an extra point in each of the Physical Attributes (Strength, Dexterity, and Stamina). These Traits may not exceed their generational maximums, though the player may use blood points to push the character’s Traits even higher. The effects last for one scene, and a character may gain its benefits only once per scene. The vampire must spend two hours in a calm and restful state following the use of Fearless Heart, or lose a blood point every 15 minutes until he rests.
••••• Comrades at Arms
This ability extends the power of the previous abilities in the path. It allows any of the earlier effects to be applied to a group such as a pack or War Party.
System: The player chooses one of the lower-level powers in the path, invoking it as normal. Afterward, he touches another character and (if the roll for Comrades at Arms is successful) bestows the benefit on her as well. The same power may be delivered to any number of packmates, as long as the rolls for Comrades at Arms are successful and the thaumaturge pays the appropriate blood costs.
The Path of Technomancy
The newest path to be accepted by the Tremere hierarchy as part of the Clan’s official body of knowledge, the Path of Technomancy is a relatively recent innovation, developed in the latter half of the 20th century. The path focuses on the control of electronic devices, from cellphones to laptops, and its proponents maintain that it is a prime example of the versatility of Thaumaturgy with regards to a changing world. More conservative Tremere, however, state that mixing Tremere magic with mortal science borders on treason or even blasphemy, and some European Regents have gone so far as to declare knowledge of Technomancy grounds for expulsion from their chantries. The Inner Council did approve the introduction of the path into the Clan’s grimoires, but has yet to voice any opinion on the conservative opposition to Technomancy.
Mortals are constantly developing new innovations, and any vampire who would work Technomancy must be able to understand that upon which he practices his magic. The most basic power of this path allows the thaumaturge to project his perceptions into a device, granting him a temporary understanding of its purpose, the principles of its functioning, and its means of operation. This does not grant permanent knowledge, only a momentary flash of insight which fades within minutes.
System: A character must touch the device in order to apply this power. The number of successes rolled determines how well the character understands this particular piece of equipment. One success allows a basic knowledge (on/off and simple functions), while three successes grant competence in operating the device, and five successes show the character the full range of the device’s potential. The knowledge lasts for a number of minutes equal to the character’s Intelligence.
This power can also be used to understand a nonphysical technological innovation — generally a piece of software — at +2 difficulty. The character must touch the computer on which the software is installed — simply holding the flash drive or CD-ROM is not enough. Software applied remotely to a device (such as through an app store) also cannot be analyzed until it is installed.
It is usually easier to destroy than to create, and sensitive electronics are no exception to this rule. Burnout is used to cause a device’s power supply (either internal or external) to surge, damaging or destroying the target. Burnout cannot be used to directly injure another individual, although the sudden destruction of a pacemaker or a car’s fuel injection control chip can certainly create a health hazard.
System: A character can use this power at a range of up to 10 times her Willpower in yards or meters, although a +1 difficulty is applied if she is not touching the target item. The number of successes determines the extent of the damage:
1 success Momentary interruption of operation (one turn), but no permanent damage.
2 successes Significant loss of function; +1 difficulty to use using the device for the rest of the scene.
3 successes The device breaks and is inoperable until repaired.
4 successes Even after repairs, the device’s capabilities are diminished (permanent +1 difficulty to use).
5 successes The equipment is a total write-off; completely unsalvageable.
Large enough systems, such as a server cluster or a passenger aircraft, impose a +2 to +4 difficulty (at Storyteller discretion) to affect with this power. Additionally, some systems, such as military and banking networks, may be protected against power surges and spikes, and thus possess one to five dice (Storyteller discretion again) to roll to resist this power. Each success on this roll (difficulty 6) takes away one success from the Thaumaturgy roll.
Burnout may be used to destroy electronic data storage, in which case three successes destroy all information on the target item, and five erase it beyond any hope of non-magical recovery.
Electronic security is a paramount concern of governments and corporations alike. Those thaumaturges who are techno-savvy enough to understand the issues at stake have become quite enamored of this power, which allows them to scramble a device’s controls mystically, making it inaccessible to anyone else. Encrypt/ Decrypt also works on electronic media; a DVD under the influence of this power displays just snow and static if played back without the owner’s approval. Some neonates have taken to calling this power “DRM.”
System: The character touches the device or data container that he wishes to encrypt. The player rolls normally. The number of successes scored is applied as a difficulty modifier for anyone who attempts to use the protected equipment or access the scrambled information without the assistance of the character. The caster can dispel the effect at any time by touching the target item and spending a point of Willpower.
This power may also be used to counter another thaumaturge’s use of Encrypt/Decrypt. The player rolls at +1 difficulty; each success negates one of the “owner’s.” The effects of Encrypt/Decrypt last for a number of weeks equal to the character’s permanent Willpower rating.
•••• Remote Access
With this power, a skilled thaumaturge can bypass the need for physical contact to operate a device. This is not a form of telekinesis; the vampire does not manipulate the item’s controls, but rather touches it directly with the power of his mind.
System: This power may be used on any electronic device within the character’s line of sight. The number of successes rolled is the maximum number of dice from any relevant Ability that the character may use while remotely controlling the device. (For instance, if Fritz has Technology 5 and scores three successes while using Remote Access on a keypad lock, he can only apply three dots of his Technology rating to any rolls that he makes through any use of the power.) Remote Access lasts for a number of turns equal to the number of successes rolled, and can only be used on one item at a time.
If an item is destroyed while under the effects of Remote Access, the character takes five dice of bashing damage due to the shock of having his perceptions rudely shunted back into his own body.
A progressive derivation of Remote Access, Telecommute allows a thaumaturge to project her consciousness into the Internet, sending her mind through network connections as fast as they can transfer her. While immersed in the network, she can use any other Technomancy power on the devices with which she makes contact.
System: The character touches any form of communications device: a cellphone, 3G-equipped netbook, Wi-Fi tablet, or anything else that is connected directly or indirectly to the Internet. The player rolls normally and spends a Willpower point. Telecommute lasts for five minutes per success rolled, and may be extended by 10 minutes with the expenditure of another Willpower point. The number of successes indicates the maximum range that the character can project her consciousness away from her body:
1 success 25 miles/40 kilometers
2 successes 250 miles/400 kilometers
3 successes 1000 miles/1500 kilometers
4 successes 5000 miles/8000 kilometers
5 successes Anywhere in the world
While in the network, the character can apply any other Path of Technomancy power to any device or data with which she comes in contact. A loss of connection, either through the destruction of a part of the network or simply a loss of cell signal, hurls her consciousness back to her body and inflicts eight dice of bashing damage.
A character traveling through the Internet by means of this power can use her Path of Technomancy powers at a normal difficulty. Using any other abilities or powers while engaged thus is done at a +2 difficulty.
The Path of the Father’s Vengeance
This path, based loosely on a powerful thaumaturge’s interpretations of the Book of Nod, devotes itself to delivering justice to the race of Cainites. Each power supposedly has some precedent in the parables of the ancient book, and focuses on teaching the lessons of Caine via the power of blood magic. Use of this path is hotly debated in the Sabbat, as some consider it tantamount to claiming to hold Caine’s right over all vampires oneself.
Camarilla vampires don’t have the same knowledge of the Book of Nod that the Sabbat do, but the path is not entirely unheard of in Tremere chantries. The power of this path comes not only from the magic of blood, but also incantation of verses from the Book of Nod. For any of these powers to take effect, the caster must speak the actual condemnation. For example, to invoke the third-level power, the caster must state plainly to his target that she may eat only ashes.
The subject must generally be able to hear the caster for these powers to take effect, though writing them and showing them to the subject will do. These powers apply to vampires only. They do not affect mortals, ghouls, or any other supernatural creatures.
• Zillah’s Litany
Zillah, the wife of Caine, unknowingly drank from her husband and sire three times, thus becoming bond ed to him. This power reveals existing blood bonds and Vinculi to the thaumaturge.
System: If the subject has any blood bonds or Vinculi to other vampires, this power reveals them to the caster. Although the caster may not know the vampires in question, this power does reveal the names and gives rough psychic impressions of the individuals in question.
•• The Crone’s Pride
This power inflicts the curse of the crone, who bound Caine to her as he fled his wife’s spurning. Hideously ugly, the crone had to resort to trickery to get others to help or serve her.
System: This power reduces the target’s Appearance to zero. All Social rolls during this time generally fail, unless the character attempts to intimidate or browbeat the subject. This power lasts for one night.
••• Feast of Ashes
Primarily used against wanton or excessive vampires, this power temporarily removes a vampire’s dependency on blood. While some would say this negates the Curse of Caine, it reduces the vampire to little more than a wretched scavenger, as he must consume literal ashes, though he gains little sustenance from them.
System: The victim of this power can no longer consume blood, vomiting it up as he would mortal food or drink. Instead, the victim can eat only ashes, and the “blood points” he gains from this may be used only to rise each night. Ashen “blood points” may not be used to power Disciplines, raise Attributes, or feed ghouls (though actual blood points in the character’s body at the time this power is invoked may still be used for such). One blood point’s worth of ash is roughly one pint or half-liter, and any ash will do — cigarette ash, campfire leftovers, or vampire corpses destroyed by fire or sunlight. This power lasts for one week.
•••• Uriel’s Disfavor
This power invokes the darkness of the Angel of Death. All but the dimmest of light causes the subject excruciating pain, and some artificial forms of bright light may even damage the vampire. Uriel delivered God’s curse on Caine, shielding him in the blackness of his wings.
System: The presence of any light makes the subject uncomfortable, and bright light of any kind — flash lights, headlights, etc. — inflict one health level of aggravated damage on the character for every turn he remains under its direct focus. Most vampires who suffer this curse elect to sleep for the duration, hiding away in the darkness of their havens until they can walk again among the living without pain. This power lasts for one week.
Many Sabbat rightfully fear this power, though very few have ever seen it used. It levies a punishment for breaking one of Caine’s greatest commandments — the ban against diablerie. As most Sabbat attain their power and station through some measure of diablerie, they must reconcile their beliefs with the admonitions of Caine, and this power engenders a great sense of humility.
System: When this power takes effect, the subject immediately reverts to her original Generation. This change may entail losing points in certain Traits due to generational maximums. This power lasts for one week, after which any Traits reduced to higher-Generation maximums return to normal. It takes three turns to speak the full verse that implements this power’s effects.
This is less of a path than it is a separate Discipline, as the power to resist Thaumaturgy can be taught independently of Thaumaturgy, even to those Kindred who are incapable of mastering the simplest ritual. Though the techniques of Thaumaturgical Countermagic are not officially taught outside Clan Tremere, unofficial methods are likely to exist. Any non-Tremere who displays the ability to resist Thaumaturgy quickly becomes the subject of potentially fatal scrutiny from the entirety of Clan Tremere.
System: Thaumaturgical Countermagic is treated as a separate Discipline, although it uses the usual rules for Thaumaturgy (including experience costs and the fact that it is limited to only five levels). It cannot be taken as a character’s primary path, and a rating in it does not allow the character to perform rituals.
The use of Thaumaturgical Countermagic is treated as a free action in combat and does not require a split dice pool. To oppose a Thaumaturgy power or ritual, a character must have a Thaumaturgical Countermagic rating equal to or greater than the rating of that power or ritual. The player spends a blood point and rolls the number of dice indicated by the character’s Thaumaturgical Countermagic rating (difficulty equal to the difficulty of the power in use). Each success cancels one of the opposing thaumaturge’s successes.
Thaumaturgical Countermagic is only at full effectiveness when used against Thaumaturgy. It works with halved dice pools against Necromancy and other mystical Disciplines, and is completely ineffective against non-vampiric magics and powers.
Thaumaturgical Countermagic can be learned by characters who are unable to learn Thaumaturgy (e.g., those with the Merit Magic Resistance). Any non-Tremere character with a rating in this power automatically gains the Flaw Clan Enmity (Tremere), receiving no freebie points for it. This power cannot be taken during character creation and cannot be spontaneously developed. Whether the character has Thaumaturgy as an in-Clan power or not, it costs the same as any other non-Clan Discipline to learn.
• Two dice of countermagic. The character can attempt to cancel only those powers and rituals that directly affect him, his garments, and objects on his person.
•• Four dice of countermagic.
••• Six dice of countermagic. The character can attempt to cancel a Thaumaturgy power that affects anyone or anything in physical contact with him.
•••• Eight dice of countermagic.
••••• Ten dice of countermagic. The character can now attempt to cancel a power or ritual that targets anything within a radius equal to his Willpower in yards or meters, or one that is being used or performed within that same radius.
Command over the weather has long been a staple power of wizards both mortal and immortal, and this path is said to predate the Tremere by millennia. The proliferation of usage of this path outside the Clan tends to confirm this theory; Weather Control is quite common outside the Tremere, and even outside the Cama rilla. Lower levels of this path allow subtle manipulations, while higher stages of mastery allow a vampire to call up raging storms. The area affected by this power is usually rather small, no more than three or four miles (five to six kilometers) in diameter, and the changes the power wreaks are not always immediate.
System: The number of successes rolled indicates how long it takes the weather magic to take effect. One success indicates an entire day may pass before the weather changes to the thaumaturge’s liking, while a roll with five successes brings an almost instant effect. The difficulty of the Willpower roll necessary to invoke this power may change depending on the current local weather conditions and the weather the character is attempting to create. The Storyteller should impose a bonus (-1 or -2 difficulty) for relatively minor shifts, such as clearing away a light drizzle or calling lightning when a severe thunderstorm is already raging. Conversely, a penalty (+1 or +2 difficulty) should be applied when the desired change is at odds with the current conditions, such as summoning the same light drizzle in the middle of the Sahara Desert or calling down lightning from a cloudless sky.
If the character tries to strike a specific target with lightning, the player must roll Perception + Occult (difficulty 6 if the target is standing in open terrain, 8 if he is under shelter, or 10 if he is inside but near a window) in addition to the base roll to use Thaumaturgy. Otherwise the bolt goes astray, with the relative degree of failure of the roll determining where exactly the lightning strikes.
Effects of the power default to the maximum area available unless the caster states that he’s attempting to affect a smaller area. At Storyteller discretion, an additional Willpower roll (difficulty 6) may be required to keep the change in the weather under control.
Weather Control is not the sort of power that lends itself well to indoor application. While certain of the path’s uses (changes of temperature, high winds, and possibly even fog) do make a certain amount of sense in interior settings, others (precipitation of any sort, lightning) don’t. The difficulty for all rolls to use Weather Control indoors is at +2, and the Storyteller should feel free to disallow any proposed uses that don’t make sense.
Individual power descriptions are not provided for this path, as the general principle is fairly consistent. Instead, the strongest weather phenomenon possible at each level is listed.
• Fog: Vision is slightly impaired and sounds are muffled; a +1 difficulty is imposed on all Perception rolls that involve sight and hearing, and the effective range of all ranged attacks are halved.
Light breeze: A +1 difficulty is imposed on all Perception rolls that involve smell.
Minor temperature change: It is possible to raise or lower the local temperature by up to 10 degrees Fahrenheit or 5 degrees Celsius.
•• Rain or snow: As Fog, but Perception rolls are impaired to a much greater extent; the difficulty modifier for all such rolls rises to +2. In addition, the difficulty on all Drive rolls increases by two.
••• High Winds: The wind speed rises to around 30 miles per hour or 50 kilometers per hour, with gusts of up to twice that. Ranged attacks are much more difficult: + 1 to firearm attacks and +2 to thrown weapons and archery. In addition, during fierce gusts, Dexterity rolls (difficulty 6) may be required to keep characters from being knocked over by the winds. When gale-force winds are in effect, papers go flying, objects get picked up by the winds and hurled with abandon, and other suitably cinematic effects are likely.
Moderate temperature change: The local temperature can be raised or lowered by up to 20 degrees Fahrenheit or 10 degrees Celsius.
•••• Storm: This has the effects of both Rain and High Winds.
••••• Lightning Strike: This attack inflicts 10 dice of lethal damage. Body armor does not add to the target’s dice pool to soak this attack.
Mastery of the Mortal Shell
Folklore warns of the dangers of the witches’ curse and the ability of warlocks to possess the weak and force them to do their bidding. During the early nights of Clan Tremere, Mastery of the Mortal Shell was developed to battle the Tzimisce and Gangrel marauders that attacked their chantries. The use of this Path was later expanded to enforce subservience among Gargoyles after their first revolt. A thaumaturge practicing Mastery of the Mortal Shell explores the fundamental workings of the body, granting control over the physical workings over her victim. Targets may include humans or any supernatural creatures with flesh such as vampires, werewolves, or mages, but not ghosts or demons, who are made primarily of spirit.
Lesser powers of this Path are clumsy in their control of the body, but become increasingly precise and complete. A number of the powers in this Path are activated by touch. Depending upon the circumstances, the Storyteller may require a successful Dexterity + Brawl roll for the thaumaturge to make contact with the intended victim.
Targeting rules apply for attacking a specific extremity if contact is not guaranteed. Unless otherwise stated, the powers of Mastery of the Mortal Shell last a number of turns equal to the number of successes the thaumaturge scores on her activation roll. A victim may only suffer the effects of one power from this Path at a time. Thus, a thaumaturge may not enact Vertigo and Contortion at the same time upon the same victim. The most recent power activated replaces the effects of previous powers used upon the victim.
The thaumaturge induces minor disorientation and dizziness through subtle manipulations in the subject’s body. The physical discomfort is temporary and minor, but a clever thaumaturge can use it on rivals at the most inopportune times, causing them to lose their aplomb.
System: A touch from the thaumaturge invokes disorientation in her victim. If successful, all of the victim’s physical actions are at +1 difficulty for the duration of the power. Subsequent uses of this Path may extend the duration, though the difficulty will not increase further.
With a touch, the thaumaturge causes a group of her opponent’s muscles to contract involuntarily, reducing it to twitching fits. This effect is extremely disconcerting to the subject, rendering the limb or muscle group unusable.
System: By making physical contact with one of the limbs of the target, the thaumaturge renders it useless for the duration of Contortion. A leg rendered useless makes standing difficult, and the victim suffers from increased difficulty (+1 to +3, depending on circumstances) to appropriate Dexterity challenges related to her leg, such as dancing or balancing on ledges. A contorted arm hangs lifeless at the subject’s side. A useless head causes loss of speech and increases the difficulty of all Social rolls are at +2 as the facial muscles spasm out of control.
Seizure causes the body to erupt into a fit of convulsions. All the muscles throughout the body tighten uncontrollably, while the victim foams at the mouth and spasms rack him with agony. A mortal may even choke to death as her tongue cuts off her air supply.
System: A light touch from the thaumaturge forces the very unpleasant effects of this power upon the target. For the duration of the seizure, a target’s body writhes, tormenting her to the point of incapacitation. Victims suffer a +2 difficulty penalty to all physical actions. The victim also suffers one level of bashing damage every turn, as her body helplessly twists itself. At Storyteller discretion, the effects of this power may even cause death in extremely ill or wounded mortals.
Damage may be reduced as normal (although levels from armor do not apply).
•••• Body Failure
Thaumaturges wielding this frightful power gain devastating insights into the workings of the body, allowing a complete shutdown of its systems. This sudden biological overload often proves fatal to mortals and damaging to other supernatural beings. Body Failure has been used throughout the ages to afflict horrific ailments in inconspicuous ways that suggest a stroke or heart attack.
System: The thaumaturge no longer needs to touch her victim to strike out with this level of mastery of the Path. She may affect any target within her line of sight, but she must keep visual contact with the victim at all times to maintain this effect. A successful activation of this power grants effects similar to Seizure, except that damage is lethal (and thus not soakable by mortals) due to complete mass tissue and organ failure. Additionally, the victim suffers a + 2 difficulty penalty to all actions.
The subject may resist the effects of Body Failure via a Stamina + Fortitude roll when the thaumaturge attempts to strike the target (difficulty equals the thaumaturge’s current Willpower). Each success the victim gains on this roll reduces the duration of Body Failure by one turn.
The thaumaturge invoking Marionette gains such mastery over the body of others that she can magically seize control of another being and force her victim to act according to her own whims. This control is not as fine as the direct and personal command of the Dominate power of Possession, but the thaumaturge’s true body is not as vulnerable during the manipulation. Once established, the Marionette victim is under the complete sway of the thaumaturge, forced to perform as the thaumaturge’s macabre pawn.
System: The thaumaturge may affect any target within her line of sight, but she must keep visual contact with the victim at all times to maintain this effect. A subject may resist the effects of Marionette on a Stamina + Fortitude roll (difficulty equal to the thaumaturge’s current Willpower) when the thaumaturge attempts to take control. Each success the victim gains on this roll reduces the duration of Marionette by one turn. Victims lacking Fortitude do not have the physical resistance to defy this effect.
For the duration of this power, the thaumaturge can cause the victim to perform any physical action, using the target’s pools with a penalty of +2 difficulty to all rolls. The concentration this power requires also increases the thaumaturge’s own difficulties by two for all other personal actions undertaken while manipulating the victim. To extend the duration of this control, the thaumaturge must make a second activation roll.
Marionette does not rob the victim of her cognizance, only physical control over her body. During this time of thaumaturge’s mastery, the target remains aware that some outside force is manipulating her physical actions, conscious that they are not her own. The victim may spend a point of Willpower to attempt to take a mental or social action, such as activating a Discipline or speaking.
Path of the Focused Mind
A would-be thaumaturge must possess a strong will and well-developed intellect to master the subtle art of Thaumaturgy. Practitioners of the Focused Mind greatly enhance their mental alacrity and readiness, allowing better comprehension of problems and situations. Thaumaturges, already mentally disciplined, become frightfully powerful in the realm of the cerebral when mastering this Path.
Developed by an unknown Tremere Kabbalah scholar, this Path of Thaumaturgy languished in obscurity until discovered in a lost chantry in Berlin after the end of the WWII. Interest in this Path quickly spread through the Pyramid as the adaptable Tremere realized its great potential and benefits. Unlike most Thaumaturgy, the powers of this Path do not require an action to invoke, although they still require the normal blood expenditure and Willpower activation roll. Thaumaturges with this Path may use any single power from this Path during a single turn.
Using Readiness makes the caster able to gain a quicker understanding of a predicament. Enhanced lucidity enlightens the caster, allowing increased cleverness and better reactions to changing situations.
System: This power is only usable on the thaumaturge herself. Every success on the activation roll adds one die to a special dice pool for the remainder of the turn. These dice may be used on any Wits-related rolls or actions that the thaumaturge performs during this turn. Alternatively, each die removed from the dice pool adds one to the caster’s initiative rating.
By invoking this power, the thaumaturge causes a sudden, intense calmness in the subject by whispering soothing words to her. While under this serenity, the target is better able to focus on tasks at hand, ignoring distractions and annoyances, including grave bodily harm. Thaumaturges in fear of frenzy often use this power on themselves to stifle their own emotions and achieve a state of tranquility.
System: This power is usable on any one subject within earshot of the thaumaturge and lasts for one turn per success on the activation roll. During this period, the target is unaffected by any power or effect (with the notable exception of Elder disciplines) that reduces her dice pools. This includes wound penalties, situational modifiers, and Disciplines. Modifications to difficulty numbers still apply during this time, however. In addition, due to the unnatural serenity that this power bestows, the target receives two additional dice in all attempts to avoid or break frenzy.
••• One-Tracked Mind
By extending her powers to other individuals, the thaumaturge is able to fixate the subject on one action. This single-mindedness of the target is so complete that they ignore everything else that occurs around them. Guards are easily distracted with this power, as their attention becomes fixated elsewhere, and research becomes a dedicated, focused task. Use of this power is sometimes colloquially referred to as “railroading someone.”
System: This power may affect anyone who can hear the thaumaturge. Successful invocation makes the target unable to split any dice pools for multiple actions and unable to change tactics after actions have been declared. As a side benefit, the target reduces the difficulty of the declared action by one. Additional actions that the victim takes (from Celerity, for example) during the duration of this power must follow up upon their initial action, as they concentrate wholly upon this one idea. If the target wishes to attempt a different course of action, she must spend a point of Willpower per scene (or per turn in combat). The duration of One-Tracked Mind is one scene, or one turn per success on the activation roll.
•••• Dual Thought
The rigors of learning Thaumaturgy strengthen the mind and the will of a thaumaturge. As a result, those skilled with Thaumaturgy often have the ability to quickly assess a situation and calculate the options available to them. At this level of mastery of the Focused Mind, the thaumaturge is able to divide her attention to two completely separate tasks without penalty or distraction.
As One-Tracked Mind forces the subject’s attention into a single objective, Dual Thought expands the thaumaturge’s concentration to the point that focus upon two goals is possible.
System: Successful use of Dual Thought allows the caster to take two actions without penalty during her turn. (Note that this power specifically lifts the restrictions of multiple actions detailed in V20.) The extra action granted by this power must be a mental action, whether it’s the use of Disciplines such as the use of Auspex or Thaumaturgy, or the contemplation of some problem.
If the character is using both actions to solve a problem, she has two separate dice pools to draw from. These two actions happen at the same time, as determined by the nitiative rating of the character. You may not use the extra action to re-cast Dual Thought.
••••• Perfect Clarity
Perfect Clarity brings about a Zen-like moment of focused insight for the thaumaturge as she gains a brief, perfect understanding of herself, the universe, and her place within it. This lucidity protects the thaumaturge from influences both internal and external; even the Beast within is unable to rage forth. Thought and action become one as a complete serenity of the mind descends upon the thaumaturge.
System: Perfect Clarity lasts for the duration of one scene, (or one turn plus an additional turn for every success on the activation roll if used while in combat). For this period, the thaumaturge has the difficulties of all actions reduced by two. The Kindred is immune to frenzy and Rötschreck from all sources, even supernatural triggers. Finally, any means to control or influence the thaumaturge suffer a +2 difficulty, including powers such as Presence, Dominate, and Dementation.
Path of the Levinbolt
Lightning has long been considered the dominion of the gods, but has traditionally been out of reach of thaumaturges due to a lack of understanding of the principles of electricity. As a result, this Path remained relatively obscure until the birth of modern science.
The ample supply of electricity in the late 19th century meant that thaumaturges no longer had to wait until a convenient storm to charge their powers, but could gather the required electricity in mere seconds to direct as they chose.
Practitioners of the Path of the Levinbolt tend to cause a good deal of static electricity around them, even when not engaging their powers. Sometimes this plays havoc with cellular service, causes lights to flicker without reason, and computers to experience power surges in their presence.
A number of the powers in this Path are activated by touch. Depending upon the circumstances, the Storyteller may require a successful Dexterity + Brawl roll for the thaumaturge to make contact with the intended victim.
Targeting rules apply for attacking a specific extremity if contact is guaranteed.
Novice thaumaturges learn to freely absorb power around them through electrical outlets, circuits, or batteries. A user of this power can sense the current feeding into a specific electrical system and then draw it to her, effectively turning it off.
System: The thaumaturge simply glances at a target powered by electricity. Upon a successful activation roll, she can shut down an electrical device for ten minutes per success on the activation roll. The spark of electricity arcs from the device directly into the thaumaturge in a frightening display of mystical power. The source of this power is immediately known.
Novice thaumaturges can build up a tiny static charge, enough to make a noticeable snap with a ouch. Such a discharge poses little threat to healthy targets, though the energy can ruin delicate electronics or stun an unlucky victim.
System: The thaumaturge simply touches a target (after the requisite blood expenditure and activation roll by the player) and releases the spark. The electricity can snap from any part of the caster’s body, so a thaumaturge might give an unpleasant surprise to someone touching her. The resulting electrical discharge inflicts four dice of lethal damage to targets (difficulty 7 to soak), and short-circuits electronic equipment and devices not specifically grounded against lightning strikes.
Neonates sometimes derogatively refer to this effect as the “40-watt Tremere,” right up until they’ve felt its sting. The thaumaturge summons enough electricity to cover her hand or arm in arcing bolts. This power can charge a battery, briefly run a small device, or even leave a nasty burn on a touched subject.
System: Each success scored on the player’s activation roll translates to approximately one turn of power sufficient to run a handful of lights or a small electrical device. Alternately, the thaumaturge can shock someone by touch, as with the Spark power, but for eight dice of lethal electrical damage (difficulty 8 to soak).
The current created with this power is not strong enough to force its way through less-than-ideal conductors, and thus simply inflicts electrical damage on raw metals, woods, or other matter in the form of a burn and discoloration. The thaumaturge can alternately allow the electricity to spark around her hand, eyes, or head; this creates illumination about equal to a dim light bulb, and lowers the difficulty of any Intimidation rolls by 2.
•••• Thor’s Fury
The thaumaturge may strike her enemies from afar as though she were a god. She may direct an arc of lightning from her body to nearby targets.
System: The thaumaturge focuses her concentration upon her target and then directs hurled bolts via a Perception + Science roll (difficulty of 6 plus the range in yards/meters, maximum 4 yards/meters). Each success inflicts a level of lethal damage (difficulty 8 to soak). The source of this power is immediately known.
••••• Eye of the Storm
The thaumaturge becomes a shifting, sparking pillar of electrical power. The energy channeled in the Eye of the Storm shields her body from virtually any direct harm. System: When a thaumaturge spends a Willpower point to invoke this power, she solidifies the stored electricity inside of her into a mystical barrier that completely surrounds her. The caster becomes immune to any ranged attacks. Metal weapons such as swords inflict injury as normal for the first strike, but are then melted from contact with the barrier, and the wielder takes a level of lethal damage. Enemies that dare to touch the caster suffer two points of aggravated damage (difficulty 8 to soak). Non-metal weapons, such as wooden stakes, are not affected by Eye of the Storm. This power lasts for a single turn, with each additional success on the activation roll extending this duration by one turn. Mental and social attacks may pass through this barrier.
Path of Spirit Manipulation
Created to replace the rituals practiced by Clan Tremere in the days when it was a band of mortal wizards, Spirit Manipulation is the art of forcing spirits into actions and situations that would normally be contrary to their nature. These spirits are not the wraiths controlled by Necromancy, but a manifestation of the great powers of the universe that the limited humanoid brain perceives as spirits. Some believe that spirits are tulpas — constructs of human will created by faith to explain how the universe manages to function. Spirit Manipulation forces these spirits into a grotesque mockery of their normal behaviors to achieve magical results in the material world.
• Hermetic Sight
The vampire can perceive the spirit world, either by gazing deeply into it or by seeing the presence of nearby spirits as a hazy overlay on the material world.
System: Hermetic Sight allows the thaumaturge to perceive the spirit realm interlaid over the material world for one hour. Each additional level of success on the activation roll increases the duration of this power by an additional thirty minutes.
•• Astral Cant
The languages of the spirit world are infinitely varied and mainly incomprehensible to mortal (and immortal) minds. Astral Cant does not teach the thaumaturge the tongues of the spirits, but it does allow him to understand them as they speak to him and to reply in their own languages. The use of this power is not always necessary; many spirits speak human tongues, but choose to feign ignorance when dealing with vampires. Spirits are not affected by Dominate, but may be manipulated by Presence. Some thaumaturges theorize that this is because spirits are not actually sentient as a vampire would understand the concept, but are manifestations based on the perception of those that are self-aware.
System: Astral Cant allows the thaumaturge to speak to any spirit visible via Hermetic Sight for fifteen minutes. Each additional level of success on the activation roll increases the duration of this power by an additional fifteen minutes to the duration.
••• Voice of Command
This is perhaps the most dangerous power in the Spirit Manipulation arsenal, for the consequences of failure can be particularly unpleasant. Voice of Command allows the thaumaturge to issue orders to a spirit, compelling it to heed her bidding whether or not it desires to do so.
Spirits compelled by this power are fully aware that they are being forced into these actions, and may well seek revenge on their erstwhile masters at a later time. Thaumaturges who issue commands above and beyond what their spirit servants are compelled to perform may find themselves ignored or mocked. A trickster spirit may agree to a situation to follow orders only to betray its master, leaving the thaumaturge in a situation of potentially fatal embarrassment.
System: The thaumaturge makes the normal opposed Willpower roll against the spirit. The target spirit resists with Willpower (difficulty of the thaumaturge’s Manipulation + Occult). The degree of success the thaumaturge attains determines the complexity and severity of the command that she can issue.
Number of Successes Effect
Botch The spirit is immune to the character’s commands for the rest of the night. It reacts however the Storyteller deems appropriate. Typically, the spirit is angry enough to seek revenge at the first opportunity. It may ignore, taunt or even attack the character, at the Storyteller’s discretion.
Failure The spirit is unaffected, and further attempts to command it are made at +1 difficulty (cumulative).
1 success The spirit obeys a very simple command that is of no great inconvenience to it.
2 successes The spirit heeds a relatively straightforward command that it is not innately opposed to performing.
3 successes The spirit agrees to perform a moderately complex task that does not violate its ethics.
4 successes The spirit consents to an extended or intricate task that does not place it in immediate danger.
5 successes The spirit accepts a lengthy or nighimpossible task, or one that means its destruction.
•••• Entrap Ephemera
This power allows a thaumaturge to bind a spirit into a physical object. This can be done to imprison the target, but is more often performed to create a fetish — an artifact that grants mystical benefits powered by the spirit. Fetishes created by this power are often unreliable and fail at inopportune moments, as the spirits within are understandably displeased with their situation and will take any opportunity to escape or thwart their captors.
Lupines find it offensive for vampires to possess a fetish, and often they will frenzy simply at the sight of a vampire wielding one.
System: The thaumaturge must first locate a vessel symbolically aligned with the targeted spirit that will eventually become the fetish. Then she must command the targeted spirit to enter the vessel via an opposed Willpower roll. The target spirit resists with Willpower (difficulty equals the thaumaturge’s Manipulation + Occult).
Should the thaumaturge succeed, she can create a fetish of a power level based on the number of successes achieved over the spirit, up to a level five fetish. For example, if the thaumaturge wins the opposed Willpower roll against the spirit by three successes, she creates a level three fetish. Creating and maintaining a fetish is difficult; because of this, the number of fetishes a thaumaturge may create is limited by her Willpower. If the thaumaturge gives away said fetish, it still counts against her total available slots. She may only create an additional fetish when one of her previous fetishes has been destroyed.
A fetish grants a number of bonus dice to a specific skill comparable to the level of the fetish. For example, a healing spirit trapped inside a scalpel would grant extra dice (the level of the fetish) for any Medicine roll. The Storyteller always has final authority on what sort of fetish can be made.
A fetish is activated by rolling the user’s Willpower (difficulty equals the fetish’s power level + 3). A botch on this roll destroys the physical component of the fetish and frees the spirit that was trapped within.
The thaumaturge can now fully interact with the spirit world — a strange place that only sometimes resembles the real world. While using this power, she exists on both planes of existence at once. She is able to pick up objects in the physical world and place them in the spirit world and vice versa. Beings and landscape features in both realms are solid to her, and she can engage in any manner of interaction. She can even use Thaumaturgy and other Disciplines in either world. This is not without its dangers. With a single misstep, the vampire can find himself trapped in the spirit realm with no way to return home. Several incautious thaumaturges have starved into torpor while trapped on the other side of the barrier that separates the physical and spirit realms.
System: The thaumaturge may interact with the spirit world for fifteen minutes. Each additional level of success on the activation roll increases the duration of this power by an additional fifteen minutes. Duality can only be enacted while the character begins the process in the physical world. While in this state, the thaumaturge becomes susceptible to attacks from both realms and suffers from a +1 difficulty to all Perception rolls. The character is still considered to be in the physical world for purposes of basic physics (and common sense).
Spirits who have been previously angered will seek physical revenge on unwary thaumaturges using this power. A botch on the roll to activate this power tears the vampire out of the physical world and traps him in the spirit realm. The way back the physical realm, if there is one, is left to the Storyteller’s discretion, and may spark an entirely new story.
Koldunic Sorcery Paths
The actual casting of Koldunic sorcery requires more than a clumsy exertion of will. Such magic demands perfection of form and mastery of the appropriate lore.
The caster’s player spends one blood point and rolls (Attribute) + Occult against a difficulty of the power’s level + 3, with the specific Attribute listed for each path or “way.” Vampires always use the base Attribute, ignoring any bonuses gained from blood expenditure or other Disciplines. All kolduns must select one of the ways listed below as their primary path.
The Way of Earth
Capable of great destruction and great healing, the earth is the womb of life and the sepulcher of death. It drinks all blood violently spilled upon its soil, and so mirrors the vampire. It is by association with the earth as a source of strength that a koldun enacts his will.
• Grasping Soil
A koldun invoking this power may command earth to rise in a spray of dirt and crawl up a victim’s legs. This power can only command soil, not stone, and may only target victims standing on the earth.
System: The koldun may direct any patch of earth within a 100-foot/30-meter radius to ensnare a target for two turns per success rolled. Animated dirt ascends and constricts midway between the victim’s knees and hips, holding her fast unless her player scores five successes on Strength + Survival roll (difficulty 6). It is also possible to use this power as an attack, in which case the grasping earth crushes once and then releases.
Used in this manner, each success on the casting inflicts one level of lethal damage. Such damage manifests as broken legs and crushed feet.
•• Endurance of Stone
Drawing the essence of earth into himself, a koldun may gain a measure of its preternatural resilience. Under the effects of this power, a vampire’s skin resembles a horrid fusion of flesh and stone that cracks and flows impossibly with every movement.
System: A successful activation roll grants the koldun two extra dots of Stamina for the rest of the scene. These dots are considered part of the character’s natural Stamina and may aid in any uses of that Attribute, including soak.
••• Hungry Earth
Expanding on the power of Grasping Soil, a koldun may use this power to drag a victim into the earth. He need only gesture and the soil beneath his victim opens like the maw of a great beast. This power may ensnare any victim who stands upon the earth within 100 feet/30 meters of the koldun.
System: Like Grasping Soil, every success on the activation roll leaves the victim immobile for one turn. However, the difficulty of the Strength + Survival roll to break free increases to 8 and doing so still requires five successes. As the earth continues to shift and grasp while the power remains active, this roll must be made as a single (though repeatable) attempt rather than an extended test. In addition, beings trapped in the crushing pit suffer one level of lethal damage each turn. Beings capable of soaking this damage may do so, but at difficulty 7. At the end of the power’s duration, the earth yawns once more to release the victim.
•••• Root of Vitality
As with Hungry Earth, the koldun may direct the land to bury any target standing on the earth within a 100-foot/30-meter radius. Yet this power is far more benevolent in its intent, if no less disturbing in its manifestation. The soil ripples, parting and closing like some obscene womb as it draws the target a full yard beneath the surface. Living beings entombed in this fashion do not suffocate, as the enchanted soil pumps air from above in undulating breaths. Better still, the fertile essence of the earth presses upon her flesh and restores it to new health. Still, the process is highly disturbing and unnatural, especially as targets remain wholly aware in silent, helpless immobility for the full duration. It is possible for a koldun to heal himself with this power.
System: The player spends as many blood points as desired (which may require multiple turns depending on Generation) and makes the activation roll. Each success permits the earth to heal two levels of bashing damage or one level of lethal damage. Healing aggravated damage requires two successes per level. The total number of health levels that may be restored with each use of this power is the number of blood points invested or the number of successes on the activation roll, whichever is lower. Any blood points spent beyond the number of successes drain away to no effect.
The actual healing process takes one turn per bashing level, one minute per lethal level, and one hour per aggravated level. Once the healing is complete or the power is interrupted through determined excavation, the earth expels the target back to the surface.
••••• Kupala’s Fury
Mortals pray in fear when the mountains shake. They fear the wrath of the Old Gods, and rightfully so. This is not a power used lightly or capriciously, because it represents one of the greatest weapons available to Koldunic Sorcery.
System: This power requires a Willpower point in addition to the usual cost and activation roll. The koldun smites the earth with his fist, and his anger flows through the soil to any target in his line of sight. The quake erupts outward from that point, inflicting 10 dice of lethal damage on everything and everyone in the area of effect. Most wooden structures collapse entirely and even buildings of concrete and steel may grow cracked and pitted with superficial damage from the shaking earth. This tremor lasts one turn and affects an area determined by the number of successes rolled. It is not possible to apply fewer successes than those rolled.
1 success One house or single storefront
2 successes Five lesser structures or a small city block
3 successes An entire side street or a large city block
4 successes Multiple square blocks or a large structure (like a stadium)
5 successes An entire neighborhood or massive industrial complex
The Way of Wind
Subtler than mastery over earth, this way evokes the air in the breath of the living and last rattle of a dying man. In stillness or motion, koldun turn all aspects of air to their unliving design.
• Breath of Whispers
Even in their absence, koldun instill deep fear in their servants. This power carries the vampire’s words on a light breeze and returns with the target’s reply. The vampire need only address the target by name and forcibly mimic a deep exhalation of breath as he speaks his message.
System: Every time the koldun wishes to send a new message via this power, his player makes the usual activation roll. However, the player need only spend blood the first time the power is used during a given scene. Each success permits one turn of speech. After the vampire concludes the message, swift winds carry it to its destination. Within a minute, the target hears the koldun as if the vampire whispered in his ear. He may reply or remain silent, but anything he says within a number of turns equal to the koldun’s successes flies back to the koldun. This power may bring words to anyone within a mile (one and a half kilometers) who is not in a sealed room. While using this power, a koldun must concentrate fully. Any disturbance breaks the communication.
•• Biting Gale
Vengeful koldun sought to invoke a wind as chill as air atop the Carpathian Mountains. This power achieves that end, unleashing a cutting wind that can freeze a man’s blood in his veins as it swirls through an area of his choosing. Besides its obvious combat applications, this power also facilitates a dramatic entrance for those so inclined.
System: With a successful activation roll, the koldun summons a freezing wind within a maximum of a 100-yard/meter radius. Anyone caught in this frigid blast suffers one die of bashing damage each turn (which may be soaked normally), loses two dice from all Dexterity pools, and moves at half normal speed. The winds last as long as the koldun wills, provided he maintains concentration. Any non-reflexive actions on the part of the vampire cause the winds to still and dissipate. This includes any movement.
••• Breeze of Lethargy
Although they cannot induce immediate sleep, the winds evoked by this power bring growing exhaustion and numbing weariness through every muscle. Victims of this power often smell a hint of bittersweet smoke before they fall entranced.
System: For two turns per success, the koldun creates a wind inflicting extreme lethargy within a 200-foot/60-meter radius. Players of characters caught in this wind must roll Stamina + Survival (difficulty 8).
This roll is made once every ten minutes of exposure. Failure means the character halves all dice pools involving physical actions for the remaining duration of the wind and halves all movement rates for the scene. A botch puts the character to sleep (or a state of light torpor for vampires) for the scene. Sleeping characters awaken if prodded, shaken, or otherwise manhandled, though they move slowly and may suffer halved dice pools if the wind persists.
•••• Ride the Tempest
A koldun employing this power moves at incredible speeds as he rides along the winds. While traveling with this power, a vampire assumes a blurred form that coalesces as he reaches his destination.
System: With a successful activation roll, the koldun fades into the wind and flies at 250 mph/400 kph to his destination. This power cannot effectively function in caves, buildings, or other enclosed areas. Outside, the vampire’s flight navigates all obstacles. Once the koldun arrives at his destination or the scene ends, the vampire descends to earth and solidifies.
Applying fury magnified by blood and will, a koldun may project the full measure of his anger into the night sky. Churning gray clouds blot out stars and moon, unleashing spiraling gusts and a driving downpour of freezing rain. Lightning arcs overhead, with each thunderous flash casting jagged shadows.
System: With a successful activation roll and a point of Willpower (in addition to the usual blood), a koldun may conjure a terrible storm. It takes six hours for the clouds to gather and thicken overhead, minus one hour for every success rolled. If this results in a duration of less than one hour, the clouds blossom outward from directly overhead like a black canopy, filling the sky in mere minutes. Once the clouds form, the rain begins to fall in torrents and the lightning begins. The storm persists at full strength for one hour per success rolled. It gradually dissipates over the hour following that. During the peak of its fury, the storm may cause flooding and certainly chills any exposed mortal to the bone (1 die of unsoakable bashing damage every five minutes of full exposure). Lightning strikes regularly, far more than a usual storm. Indeed, for a cost of one Willpower point, a koldun may direct lightning at a foe using his Perception + Occult (difficulty 6). A successful strike inflicts 10 dice of lethal damage (which can be soaked normally).
Only one such attack may be made each turn.
The Way of Water
Largely practiced by koldun with havens near a large water source, this way can raise watery spirit slaves and dash a ship to splinters. More subtly, the vampire may lurk in the depths or conjure illusions to confound and dazzle his foes.
• Pool of Lies
This versatile power creates three-dimensional illusions along the surface of a water source. How a koldun uses such illusions depends on his temperament and will. It is just as easy to feign a divine visitation as a cunning seduction.
System: With a successful activation roll, the koldun may project an illusion on any water surface in line of sight. The illusion may speak and move however the vampire wishes, though it has no substance and cannot step beyond the bounds of the water. The phantom lasts one turn per success rolled, after which it slowly dissipates into fine mist. It is possible to extend this lifespan with subsequent activations of the power, each of which stack in determining final duration. Rolls to extend an illusion’s duration add one to the base difficulty, but require no blood. Once an illusion fades away, it must be cast anew.
•• Watery Haven
Just as the Gangrel meld with the earth, so may a koldun with this power sink beneath the water to escape the sun. The vampire does not so much submerge as merge with the water. Though his slumbering form may be visible at odd angles from above, only the most determined splashing can disturb his rest. System: This power requires no blood. If the player gains two or more successes on the activation roll, the vampire sinks into the water as per the Protean power Earth Meld.
A body of water must be at least two feet deep and as large in other dimensions as the vampire’s body to contain him. Catching a glimpse of a hidden koldun in the water requires a successful Perception + Alertness roll (difficulty 8).
••• Fog Over Sea
Moving with the unnatural grace of a ghost, a koldun employing this power may stride across water as readily as land, leaving nary a ripple to mark his passing. Some vampires delight in using this power in conjunction with Pool of Lies to conjure phantasms to attend them.
System: For every success on the activation roll, the koldun may walk on water for one scene or one hour, whichever is longer. A koldun may choose to drop the effects of this power in order to submerge or swim; however, the vampire may not walk on water again unless he reactivates the power.
•••• Minions of the Deep
By dripping his blood into a body of water, a koldun may summon or rouse embodied water elementals to serve him for a night. Such minions are infallibly loyal, if not especially clever. Despite their liquid form, they are solid enough to grab a man and drag him to a watery grave or pummel him like the crashing surf.
System: The player spends one Willpower point and makes the standard activation roll. With success, the player may spend blood to summon elemental minions. This blood must be dripped or flung into a body of water, which may require multiple turns depending on generational limits for blood expenditure.
Once the last drop of blood falls, the water rises into whatever form the koldun desires. The caster may create as many minions as blood points spent, though not more than the total number of successes rolled. Regardless of their form, the spirits have a rating equal to the vampire’s Wits in all Traits. These beings have no Knowledges and no Skills apart from Stealth. Further more, their Mental and Social Attributes are considered to have a rating of 1 except in passive or defensive situations (such as to resist persuasion or mind-control).
Water elementals soak and otherwise suffer damage as vampires, including from sunlight. Fire harms them less, inflicting bashing damage only. Moreover, the watery creatures may extinguish flames with their liquid bodies, though not without suffering injury. An elemental who leaves the body of water that spawned it suffers one level of aggravated damage per hour. Minions regenerate one level of damage of any kind (including aggravated) each turn they remain in contact with a large body of water, but do not otherwise heal. Unless destroyed, summoned minions last until the next dawn before collapsing into inanimate puddles.
••••• Doom Tide
Many ships lie at the bottom of the Black Sea, shattered by the whirlpools of the koldun. Victims of this power must fight with every ounce of their strength or fall into the whirling, airless depths below.
System: The player spends a Willpower point in addition to the usual blood. For every success on the activation roll, the resulting whirlpool has a radius of five feet/1.5 meters, centered anywhere in the vampire’s line of sight. Whirlpools have a base Strength of 15, increasing by 5 dots per success after the first. Victims must successfully oppose this Strength with their own Strength + Survival (difficulty 8) in order to break free. Those who fail are sucked into the depths and pounded with crushing currents. Living beings drown normally, while vampires and other non-breathing creatures simply remain trapped helplessly in the vortex. This power lasts for one scene.
The Way of Fire
The ancient anathema of vampires, the element of fire offers the most powerful and dangerous tool available to koldun. The Way of Fire shares aspects with the Way of Earth, in that it focuses more on magma and fiery rock than pure, naked flame.
• Fiery Courage
No vampire can master an element he fears, so this power dims that fear to a mere ember of its former intensity.
System: Once learned, this power is permanent and requires no activation roll or blood. The koldun subtracts his rating in the Way of Fire from the difficulty of Courage rolls to resist Rötschreck from exposure or proximity to flame. This power does not aid in resisting the panic that accompanies sunlight or any other causes apart from actual fire. If this reduces the difficulty of a Courage roll below two, the koldun simply does not succumb to the Red Fear. Koldun never risk Rötschrek from fire and magma they conjure.
The Cainite’s eyes flash vivid orange with sorcerous power as superheated air coils around the target. In moments, the target bursts into spontaneous flame.
System: For every success on the activation roll, the target suffers one level of aggravated damage. This attack may be dodged, but not blocked, and can affect living (or unliving) beings at +2 difficulty. It is only possible to make one fiery attack per turn.
••• Wall of Magma
The koldun raises his hand and the earth splits, spraying a wall of glowing magma 10 feet/3 meters high. Normally, this wall forms a 10-foot/3-meter radius circle around the vampire, although the sorcerer can raise other shapes with practice and skill. System: The wall of magma summoned with this power has a lifespan of two turns per success rolled. If the koldun wishes to release the magma along a shape other than a protective circle, increase the base difficulty by one. Characters cannot approach a wall of molten rock without a Courage roll (difficulty 8), and even then, the close blistering heat inflicts a level of aggravated damage. Actual contact with the lava increases the damage to three levels and raises the soak difficulty to 9, assuming any sort of soak is possible. The koldun takes no damage from his proximity to the summoned magma (although contact with it still damages him as normal).
•••• Heat Wave
The koldun acts as a conduit for steam geysers and channels a blast of desiccating air at a victim within line of sight. This fiery wind appears as a rippling heat wave enveloping the victim. Individuals slain with this gruesome power appear as withered, mummified husks.
System: On a successful activation roll, the victim suffers five levels of lethal damage that may be soaked by beings capable of such. Vampire targets also lose five blood points, regardless of the damage inflicted.
••••• Volcanic Blast
At the final mastery of Way of Fire, a koldun commands lava to explode from the ground in a huge geyser. The molten rock spews across a wide swath before crashing to earth and flowing in all directions. Anything in the path of the molten rock burns, melts, or vaporizes within moments. The caster may direct the lava to erupt anywhere in his line of sight.
System: This power costs one Willpower point in addition to a blood point. For every success on the activation roll, the initial lava burst lasts one turn. The rivers of burning liquid rock then flow sluggishly for twice this duration before suddenly cooling and hardening.
Even if an object survives the heat, it now lies trapped beneath the rock. Anything that makes contact with lava (including the koldun) suffers a minimum of three levels of aggravated damage. For objects that don’t have health levels, the Storyteller must decide how many turns they last before melting or erupting into their own inferno. A botch on this power opens the lava geyser under an unintended target, possibly the koldun himself.
The Way of the Spirit
This Path is rarely found outside of Old Clan Tzimisce, whose members still stalk the same ancestral lands as their sires and their sires’ sires. But it has utility even for Sabbat Tzimisce, and so its knowledge spreads even to more cosmopolitan Clan-mates. The path allows the koldun to diffuse his perceptions across an increasingly large area. If the magic is performed correctly, the koldun will be able to perceive potentially everything that takes place in the affected area (which might be many square miles), though opening one’s self up fully to such awareness is dangerous for all but the most strong-willed kolduns. Instead, most reflexively limit their perceptions to “all intruders” or “all potential feeding vessels” as they desire, and even the most perceptive koldun might miss something important if she has inadvertently excluded it from her gaze. While the power is active, the koldun may also target any location or person he can perceive with any other Koldunic Path power or ritual, provided that the rating of the Path power or ritual does not exceed that of the koldun’s rating in The Way of the Spirit. This power also defeats the use of Obfuscate by any Kindred within the area of effect.
• The koldun can perceive everything within a 50-foot/20-meter radius.
•• ... within a 100-yard/meter radius.
••• ... within a quarter-mile/half-kilometer radius.
•••• ... within a mile/1.5 kilometer radius.
••••• ... within a five mile/eight kilometer radius.
The number of successes on the activation roll determines how many successive scenes the effect lasts. If activated before the sun rises, the koldun’s awareness can extend into the daylight hours, and the koldun suffers no negative effects from monitoring his lands during the day. He does still suffer the usual dice penalties for taking any other actions during the day.
The Way of Sorrows
While a part of the broader Koldunic school, this Path does not overtly rely upon a direct connection to Kupala. Rather, it invokes a number of curses in the name of various pre-Christian Slavic deities. Then again, some Tzimisce scholars speculate that at least some of those deities are themselves merely aspects of the being which calls itself Kupala. All of these effects require the koldun to be able to directly perceive the target. They cannot generally be used at range through sympathetic magic, but they can be used against a distant target whom the koldun can perceive through powers such as The Way of the Spirit or Scry(Rituals).
• The Frustrations of Nestrecha
The koldun may destroy her enemy’s resolve, instilling feelings of pessimism and hopelessness.
System: For one turn per success, the target may not spend Willpower for any purpose.
•• The Insults of Krivda
The koldun unleashes a hateful insult towards his foe, thereby provoking her to mindless anger.
System: In response to the insult, the target must immediately roll Self-Control to resist frenzy against a difficulty of 5 + the number of successes on the activation roll, maximum difficulty 9.
••• The Weeping of Kruchina
The koldun may instill a crushing despair or nighsuicidal depression in her enemy.
System: For one turn per success, the target is overwhelmed by intense misery and weeps uncontrollably. She cannot engage in any action that requires concentration, and a Kindred loses one blood point each turn as vitae streams from her eyes.
•••• The Misfortune of Chernogolov
The koldun taunts his enemy with a prediction of certain doom, which then comes to pass.
System: The target automatically loses two successes on every roll she attempts. The effect lasts for a number of consecutive rolls equal to the successes rolled.
••••• The Starvation of Marena
The koldun may now inflict direct damage on her enemy in the form of bitter cold and starving hunger.
System: For each success, the target suffers two levels of bashing damage that can be soaked normally. In addition, a vampire targeted with this power loses one blood point per success.
Life is predatory, feasting on itself to endure indefinitely. Life and death are one, as the land and the Tzimisce are one. This is the meaning of the ouroboros, the dragon devouring its tail that serves as the symbol of Clan Tzimisce. Life obtains its nourishment from death, just as death derives its banquet from life, the two eternally encircling each other. The Tzimisce are the personification of life and death, and so they are true gods of flesh, bone, land, and the blood that sustains it.
Life and death, the land, and all beholden to it, are their dominion. The Kindred who fill their gullets with the blood of mortals, who work the earth to produce the seeds that ripen the cattle they dine upon for their own sustenance to extract their fruit from the land. All life is beholden to the land; when the land is feeble, no spring comes to life. When Tzimisce childer resurrect to deathless everlasting vitality, it is the land itself that fills them.
Tzimisce fuse to the land that claims them. From branch to stem, the two are wedded inseparably. In ancient times, the vows of this wedding were expressed through the kraina (the sorcerous Path) that would arise and mature within the Tzimisce who cultivated koldunism. In those ancient days, the Genius Loci was a tool attainable by all koldun to enhance their kraina, and for the butter it glazed on their bread most koldun labored to know it. The chaos that beset the Clan during the formation of the Sabbat made entrance for the demon Kupala to entreat promises of tremendous might to those desperate enough to listen. And many did, soliciting the demon for assistance to defeat their enemies.
By defiling the Genius Loci (known to the modern koldun as the Way of Spirit), the demon spread its primal, dark, elemental, and depraved sorcery throughout the Clan to any who agreed to divorce themselves from their ancient kraina, trading their godhood to bow and pledge themselves in veneration to the new demon-god. But some in the Old Clan did not dessert their kraina or betray their land to the whims of Kupala and still practice these hidden arts (which they zealously protect from those outside of their kind in the modern nights).
These Old Clan koldun set free the raw energy of the land that claims them, nourishing it with their blood to mingle their spirit with that of the land. Each kraina is unique to the land and the Old Clan Tzimisce that births and nurtures it, evolving within the koldun as the land takes hold of him. The spirit of Detroit’s decaying cityscape will not manifest its witchcraft in the same way as the koldun claimed by the Ganges River or the unspoiled peak of Mount Kilimanjaro.
Koldunism is always learned as an out-of-Clan Discipline. Koldun may acquire the power of multiple lands by learning the kraina of other koldun, but their primary kraina will forever be that of the land whose soil they must rest in each day to replenish their strength. The maximum level a koldun may attain in any secondary kraina is limited to the highest level they have achieved in their primary kraina, and may not surpass it.
The koldun unlocks the skill of their primary kraina through trial and error, one power at a time. Primary kraina are unreliable and unwieldy during their development, sometimes displaying powers so extreme their potential burns out almost immediately and fails to stabilize, or the sorcery is so weakas to prove unworthy of pursuit. When designing primary kraina, players and Storytellers should work together testing each new power thoroughly in play before graduating the kraina to a more advanced state. Powers of primary kraina always serve to either bend or twist aspects of the environment directly or embody them within the koldun herself.
To animate their magic, all kraina usually involve the koldun spilling her blood in tribute to the earth, river, or sky (usually 1 blood point), followed by an Attribute + Occult roll against a difficulty of the power’s level + 4 — the flexibility of the kraina make it more difficult to control than “normal” Koldunic Sorcery. The difficulty is reduced by two if the power is within the koldun’s primary kraina. The Attribute rolled is indicated in the power’s description; koldun always use their unaltered Attribute score, ignoring enhancements by blood, Disciplines, or anything else. With exception to Kraina of the Well (see below), if the power is within the region associated with the kraina, no tribute of blood expenditure is asked for by the spirit of the land, allowing the koldun to trigger the power if succeeding at the activation roll without spending blood to fuel it.
Below are a pair of kraina, as well as the Genius Loci. Players are encouraged to create their own kraina to reflect the unique qualities of their homelands, using the following kraina to guide them.
The following are two secondary kraina: the Kraina of Enoch and the Kraina of the Well. The Kraina of Enoch is accessible to any Old Clan koldun initiated in the Tal’Mahe’Ra, while Kraina of the Well is reserved for those Old Clan belonging to the Order of Moloch.
The Transylvanian Kraina
Koldun of the Transylvania region practice the following magics.
• Burebista’s Throne
Legend has it that King Burebista, who terrorized the Greeks for centuries — first as the mortal king of Dacia, and later as a mighty koldun — built a great throne atop a mountain peak from which he could survey all his lands and track the movements of all his enemies. The legend is true, though in time Burebista no longer needed the throne to observe his kingdom. He passed on this secret to his childer, and today most every koldun of the Transylvanian kraina can sit upon his throne.
System: The koldun spends a blood point and makes the activation roll (Attribute: Perception). If atop any mountain in Carpathia, there is no need to expend blood. On a success, the koldun can send his senses soaring high into the air, or extend them beyond their body; how far depends on how many successes are rolled (see below).
This effect lasts until the koldun pulls back his senses or the end of the scene, whichever comes first.
1 success A 50 yard/meter radius
2 successes A 100 yard/meter radius
3 successes A 500 yard/ meter radius
4 successes A mile/1.5 kilometer radius
5 successes A three mile/ten kilometer radius
•• Pietrosu’s Hospitality
Mount Pietrosu is the highest, and most dangerous, peak in the Carpathians, where the biting winds and frigid temperatures will kill an unprotected man in mere moments.
A perfect setting to destroy one’s enemies. Getting an unprepared foe up Pietrosu is quite difficult, however; much easier, the kolduns reason, to take the mountain with them.
System: The koldun must toss the requisite blood into the air (unless they are standing within sight of the Carpathians, in which case no blood expenditure is required) and make the activation roll (Attribute: Dexterity). If they succeed, a powerful, frigid wind arises all around the koldun for a number of turns equal to successes rolled. This wind causes one level of bashing damage each turn and numbs the bodies of anyone except the koldun caught within, reducing their movement by half and Dexterity pools by two. On the turn after this power expires, the Dexterity penalty is reduced to one and movement is three-quarters, and the turn after that the victim regains full Dexterity and mobility. A useful side effect of this power is that the koldun is immune to the cold and force of wind while this is active; when trekking in mountains or other environs where wind may be a hazard, they need only activate Pietrosu’s Hospitality to ward themselves from danger.
••• The Banks of the Basca
When the rains come in the Carpathians, the Bâsca leaps its banks and whole villages are swept away, along with any person, living or dead, unwise enough not to seek higher ground. The koldun wielding this power carries with her the surging might of the Bâsca wherever she goes.
System: The koldun releases her blood into running water - a river or stream is most common, though a rivulet or even just runoff from thawing snow is enough — and rolls to activate this power (Attribute: Strength). On a success, the blood bolsters the flow, causing it to swell and surge forward, a flash flood given magical life. Anyone, as well as most anything not secured to the ground, caught in its path will be swept away towards the point of lowest elevation at a rate of a hundred yards a turn, and must soak five dice of bashing damage per turn. Any subject somehow prevented from being carried downstream — wedged against a wall or other immoveable object, for instance — takes twice the normal amount of damage. Additionally, mortals must make a swimming roll (difficulty 8) each turn to avoid swallowing great mouthfuls of water; failure inflicts one additional level of lethal damage which cannot be soaked. These rushing waters last for a number of turns equal to successes rolled to activate the power, or twice that number if the source of the flooding is any Carpathian river.
•••• Kupala’s Exhalation
In the Berca basin, near the Eastern Orthodox monastery of Ratesti, vegetation ceases to grow and the strange gasses of the underworld bubble up into our world, forming tiny cones of mud that quickly harden while they exhale their frigid breaths. Some koldun have learned to summon these deadly gasses for themselves; they claim it’s the breath of Kupala himself. They may be right.
System: The koldun expends blood, at least one point’s worth but as much as she wants, and rolls to activate this power (Attribute: Stamina). Once per turn, for a number of turns equal to the successes she rolled, to a limit of however much blood was spent, she may cause the gasses beneath the ground to erupt upward, forming a tiny volcanic crater. These gasses are bitingly cold; anyone caught within a ten-foot radius of the cone is subject to the same damage and penalties as Pietrosu’s Hospitality. Even worse, the bubbling gas is highly flammable; any nearby flame will ignite the gas in a terrible explosion, inflicting five dice of lethal damage (aggravated to vampires) to all those within range of the cone. If this power is activated within the Berca basin, each blood point spent counts for double.
••••• Restless Medias
From time to time, the ground beneath the village of Medias will shake and roil, tearing buildings from their moorings and sometimes even killing the unwary. The locals blame the gods, but the koldun know it is Kupala, restlessly stirring within his earthen tomb. Those with the greatest skill know how to rouse his agitations.
System: The koldun spends a Willpower point in addition to the usual blood point and activation roll (Attribute: Strength). If used within sight of the Carpathians, no blood point expenditure is necessary. Each success allows the koldun to either affect a larger area (see below) or prolong the earthquake’s duration. Anyone and anything caught within range of the quake is subject to ten dice of lethal damage each turn they remain in its area of effect, and must make a Dexterity + Athletics roll (difficulty 8) or else be knocked off their feet. Most homes and simple structures will collapse after a turn or two; structures of sturdier construction, such as castles, remain standing four or five turns before they are utterly destroyed.
1 success One home or a small building
2 successes Several buildings, as many as five
3 successes An entire street in a town or village
4 successes A large structure, such as a castle
5 successes An entire village, or a portion of a city
The Black Sea Kraina
Koldun of the Black Sea region practice these rites.
• Danubian Voices
Originating in the Black Forest and passing through a dozen nations en route to emptying into the Black Sea, the mighty Danube has been the sustaining artery of countless empires for as long as people have dwelt upon its banks. And through all of them, the Tzimisce kept watch. The koldun know its true value, for the spirits of the river speak to them, passing on what they know or carrying messages for them in exchange for a taste of the vampiric sorcerers’ vitae.
System: The koldun drips the requisite blood into a river, stream, or other flowing waterway. Even the runoff from thawing snow or a heavy rain is enough to make use of this power. If it is the Danube itself, or one of its tributaries, no initial expenditure of blood is necessary at all.
They then make the activation roll (Attribute: Charisma); if they succeed, a spirit of the water appears to them and will serve them (such as they can) for a number of days equal to successes rolled. This duration may be extended any time before it expires by splashing the water with more blood; one blood point extends the spirit’s thralldom by an additional day.
What the spirit can do is quite limited; they can converse with the koldun, sharing whatever they know, or they can give it a message to carry to someone or someplace else. The spirit will be more than happy to talk of what it knows; river spirits can be quite garrulous and the Tzimisce is advised to help lead the spirit to the topics they’re most interested in lest they be regaled for hours with prosaic descriptions of surrounding countryside. The spirit is only capable of moving up and down their waterway (and upstream is much slower than down), so the recipient of the message must be someone it can encounter in its journey.
Another method involves instructing the spirit to go to a place along its path and delivering the message to the first person it meets, though this obviously has its drawbacks as well. A koldun may also beseech a water spirit to remain in one place and watch for trespassers or other threats, then to move quickly along the riverbed to warn her of danger should any present itself.
•• Grave of the Marea Neagra
The Scythians of old had their own name for the great sea around which they dwelt: axšaina, which translates to “unlit” to our ears. Their description is apt; sunlight fails to penetrate much beyond the surface and in the deepest portions, even air ceases to exist. It is, in many ways, the perfect sanctuary for a corpse, as attested to by the many ships and their crews preserved for eternity along its bottom, many of them put there by koldun who dwell beneath the waves.
System: The koldun may always descend safely into the lowest depths of the Black Sea, where she may rest comfortably, protected from the sun and the outside world. By splashing her blood into a body of water large enough to contain her mass and making her activation roll (Attribute: Wits), she imbues that water with all the protective properties of the Black Sea. She cannot be harmed by sunlight, her body is perfectly preserved for as long as she remains interred within, and she becomes extremely difficult to detect.
To spot the koldun, a character must roll Perception + Alertness (difficulty 8) and achieve more successes than the koldun rolled on her activation roll. Those who engage the submerged Tzimisce take two levels of lethal damage each turn they remain in the freezing cold water.
••• Pontos Euxeinos
The Greeks once called the Black Sea Pontos Euxeinos, the Hospitable Sea. For the koldun of the Black Sea kraina, it truly can be, holding them in its embrace and healing them of even their worst injuries.
System: The koldun must have access to a large enough body of water to submerge herself in. Once submerged in the comforting water, she releases the requisite blood into it (though if it is actually the Black Sea, no blood point expenditure is necessary), then make her activation roll (Attribute: Stamina). Each success may be allocated to healing just as if it were a blood point (one success heals one level of bashing or lethal damage, while five successes will heal a level of aggravated damage). This does not reduce the limitation of time upon healing; to heal aggravated damage, the koldun must remain submerged and at rest for a day per level healed.
•••• Minions of Deep Marmora
Legend says that the koldun Cyzicus, who ruled openly as king of the Dollonians in days of antiquity, discovered if he spilled his blood into the Sea of Marmora, strange beasts from its depths would emerge to do his bidding. Other koldun have found that any body of water serves the same, although the creatures that dwell in the deeps of Marmora are the strongest.
System: The koldun splashes his blood upon the surface of the water — at least one blood point, but as many as he chooses to spend — then makes the activation roll (Attribute: Manipulation). For each success, up to the total number of blood points spent, one minion emerges from the water. The Minions of Deep Marmora are strange humanoid creatures, combining the features of frog and fish. They will perform one task for the koldun, after which they are free to return to their watery abodes. Each minion may be given a different task to perform.
Minions use the following stats (stats in parentheses are for those minions summoned from the Black Sea itself):
Attributes: Strength 4 (5), Dexterity 3, Stamina 4 (5), Charisma 1, Manipulation 1, Appearance 0, Perception 3, Intelligence 1 (2), Wits 2 (3)
Health Levels: Ok, Ok, -1, -1, (-1), -2, -2, -2, -5, (-5), Incapacitated
Abilities: Athletics 2, Brawl 4, Intimidation 3, Survival 3
Attack: Claws (Strength + 2, lethal), Grapple (Strength + 4, bashing), scales and blubbery flesh gives +2 dice to soak rolls.
Abilities: Minions of Marmora can breathe air or water equally well. They’re accomplished swimmers, moving as easily in water as out.
••••• Pontos Axeinos
Before the Greeks settled its southern shoreline, they called the Black Sea Pontos Axeinos, the Inhospitable Sea.
For the enemies of the koldun, it can be very inhospitable, birthing storms, whirlpools, fog, and rocky barricades where there were none moments before.
System: The koldun drips his blood into a body of water (unless it is the Black Sea, in which case no blood need be expended) and makes the activation roll (Attribute: Intelligence). She may allocate their successes to manifest any number of dangerous waterborne hazards for her opponents to deal with; some examples of what each success can accomplish: a whirlpool or undertow with a Strength rating equal to the koldun’s Strength that may seize or drag others, increase the current’s Strength multiplier by one, reveal jagged rocks that do Strength + 3 lethal damage when smashed upon, fog that increases all sight-based Perception difficulties by 2, driving winds and rain with gales up to 50 miles per hour/75 km per hour, a precipitous drop in water temperature to near freezing levels, and so on. This power lasts a scene, and then dissipates.
The koldun extends his awareness through the land upon which he treads, becoming the Genius Loci of legend.
System: The player spends one point of Willpower in addition to the traditional expenditure of blood, then rolls to activate the power. Charisma is the governing Attribute.
For each success, Genius Loci remains in effect for one scene. While in effect, the koldun is aware of everything that transpires around him, out to a distance determined by dots in Genius Loci (see below). Even Obfuscate cannot deceive the Tzimisce who has established himself as a Genius Loci.
Furthermore, the koldun may invoke any koldunic power he possesses anywhere he can perceive, so long as the level of that power is equal to or less than dots in his Genius Loci ability.
• Perceive everything within a fifty-foot/fifteen-meter radius.
•• Perceive everything within a hundred-yard/meter radius.
••• Perceive everything within a quarter-mile/half kilometer radius.
•••• Perceive everything within a one-mile/1.5-kilometer radius.
••••• Perceive everything within a five-mile/eight-kilometer radius.
The Kraina of Enoch
Old Clan Tzimisce Embraced within the Underworld who claimed Enoch for their territory pioneered this kraina. The Kraina of Enoch is as unique in methodology as the land that birthed it. Koldun and their land are one; all kraina awaken the nature of that land. Whereas most kraina require that the koldun grant an offering of blood to the land, the Kraina of Enoch reflects the heart of the Underworld itself.
The koldun seeking to rouse it must first become one with the lands of the dead by sacrificing a portion of their body. In the Underworld, koldun with this kraina always have an intuitive sense of Enoch’s exact location within the Tempest.
• Shroud of Oblivion
Existence in the Underworld grants Cainites certain advantages not available on the Earth; the koldun tears out a piece of the Underworld’s fabric to saturate the area around him with its attributes.
System: The koldun spends a Willpower point, then makes the activation roll (Attribute: Stamina). With a success, the koldun’s skin turns to ash and crumbles to nothing, exposing his meat to the elements. He plunges his hands into the earth, parting any impediment as if it were fresh tilled soil, and wrenches forth an insubstantial sheet of inky night, yanking out a piece of the Underworld with which to wrap himself. Once donned, the appearance of anything blanketed by the shroud becomes visibly muted; in the physical world, all beneath its shield resembles black-and-white television images in a full color world, while in the Underworld, things take on a more ghastly hue of deeper darkness and decay.
Shroud of Oblivion centers on and follows the koldun. The power has a radius of five feet/two meters per success scored on the activation roll, and a duration (in turns) equal to the successes. All those within the radius benefit from the shroud’s effects. The effects of this power differ according to what land the koldun is currently located: while in the mortal world, damage from sunlight lessens to bashing. If anywhere in the Underworld, the faint sun deals no damage.
When the duration of the power expires, the koldun bleeds out, losing one point of blood each turn until he expends a blood point to rejuvenate his skin (unless in the Underworld, in which case no blood is lost).
Penalties sustained to activate this power are tallied after the duration ends. Healing prior to that time suspends the power’s effects.
•• Spectral Cloak
By harnessing the sight of the dead, the koldun aggrieves those in the vicinity with a glimpse of the world beyond that of the living. Spectral Cloak conceals the koldun from unfriendly eyes and drives away unwanted observers in terror.
System: The koldun plucks out her eyes, crushes them in her hands, and extends her palms to the sky, then makes the activation roll (Attribute: Perception). With a success, the pulp turns to dust and takes flight on an eerie howl of wind that pours from a fathomless darkness within her empty sockets. Shadows drawn from the surroundings engulf the koldun who vanishes, rendering her invisible to standard vision (for those with Auspex, see the sidebar “Seeing the Unseen”, using the koldun’s rating in this kraina). Though the koldun sees normally inside the radius of the power’s effect, she is blind to anything outside of this area. Others within the radius must succeed on a Willpower roll (difficulty equal to the koldun’s rating in the kraina plus successes scored on the activation roll, maximum 9), or be afflicted with the Deathsight Flaw and attempt to flee in fright for a number of turns equal to the successes scored on the activation roll.
The power’s radius centers on and follows the koldun, allowing her to move about and act on others, even violently, without being revealed. Spectral Cloak has a radius of ten feet/three meters per success scored on the activation roll and a duration (in turns) equal to the successes. When the duration of the power expires, the koldun is abandoned to blindness until she expends one blood point to heal (unless in the Underworld, where the koldun may continue to see indefinitely, despite the loss of her eyes). Penalties sustained to activate this power are tallied after the duration ends. Healing prior to that time suspends the power’s effects.
••• Pond of Malevolent Dread
Nestled just above the abyss in the Underworld, no place is more frigid, devoid of light, tenebrous, or bleak than the Sea of Shadows, an ocean of souls on the precipice of total annihilation. The koldun forms a shaft to sup from the doom of this sea and release its flow.
System: The koldun spends a turn eviscerating himself, thrusting his hands deep in his abdomen to expel his entrails onto the ground, then makes the activation roll (Attribute: Stamina). With a success, his bowels bore through the earth past any obstruction blocking their path, then cross over the threshold which separates the vibrant lands of the living from the desiccated lands of the dead.
His entrails touch the very depths of the Underworld’s bottom layer, taking root in the Sea of Shadows. The vampire drains its essence into himself and discharges it outward in pulsating waves of despair that bubble up through the earth to ring him in a liquid pool of seething, writhing spectres. Ghostly arms stretch out to clutch and feast upon those walking through the circle’s radius. The rippling pool centers below the koldun, who remains locked in place from the waist down until the power ends.
The power has a radius of fifteen feet/five meters per success scored on the activation roll and a duration (in turns) equal to the successes. All those within the radius have their speed slowed to ¼ and must succeed at a Willpower roll each turn (difficulty equal to the koldun’s rating in the kraina plus successes scored on the activation roll, maximum 9) or lose 1 point of permanent Willpower.
When the duration of the power expires, the koldun severs his viscera buried in the earth and incurs two levels of unsoakable lethal damage. This damage cannot be healed by any other means other than by spending blood. Additionally, the koldun loses an amount of blood points equal to half the successes scored on the activation roll, rounded up (unless in the Underworld, in which case no blood is lost). Wounds sustained to activate this power are tallied after the duration ends.
Healing prior to that time suspends the power’s effects.
•••• Wrath of the Tempest
Permeating most of the Underworld is the Tempest: a roiling, limitless typhoon made of fractured memories, broken dreams, nightmares, fear, and misery.
The koldun summons the death rattles of all whom she has vanquished, pricking a hole in the barrier between worlds to let bleed the metaphysical storm.
System: The koldun spends one Willpower point and lifts her head to the sky, then makes the activation roll (Attribute: Strength). With a success, she opens her mouth and a choir of voices not her own issue a deafening cry that blends into thunder as storm clouds gather above her for the remainder of the turn. A still silence follows as the koldun stands frozen, her expression transfixed, echoing the call. Moments later, a roaring hurricane explodes around her, breaching forth from the land of the dead with all the fury of the Underworld. Its eye, a focused funnel, descends into the koldun’s mouth, causing her to convulse and writhe as she rises thirty feet into the air.
The tempest has a radius of twenty feet/seven meters per success scored on the activation roll and a duration (in turns) equal to the successes. All those within the radius must succeed on a Willpower roll (difficulty 8) each turn or gain a derangement and enter a strange fugue state (described on Derangements) called a “Harrowing” as the storm warps memories, trapping those within in an internal labyrinth of regret, depression, and hopelessness for the rest of the scene. While the storm rages, the koldun is mindless and completely unaware of her surroundings; she sustains one level of unsoakable bashing damage each turn as the tempest pounds her from within (unless in the Underworld, in which case the bashing damage may be soaked normally). Penalties sustained to activate this power are tallied after the duration ends.
Healing prior to that time suspends the power’s effects.
••••• Hunger of the Void
The koldun embodies the distortions of the Tempest, torturing his soul to cleave a pit of perfect destruction into reality.
System: The koldun spends a Willpower point, reaches down his throat, and pulls out his own soul. He spends a turn tormenting and stretching the spirit’s mouth ever wider as it mutely protests, clawing impotently at its violator in shocked disbelief. He tosses the contorted soul to the earth at his feet, then makes the activation roll (Attribute: Strength) before diving into it. With a success, the giant maw transforms into a cavity five feet in circumference that begins sucking in all it can to appease its insatiable appetite.
The power has a radius of twenty five feet/eight meters per success scored on the activation roll and a duration (in turns) equal to the successes. All those within the radius are dragged ten feet/three meters per turn toward the Nihil, and have their speed slowed by half every five feet/two meters nearer they are to it. If consumed by the maw, they disappear and must make a Willpower roll (difficulty 9). After the power ends, the Nihil implodes, leaving an enormous crater in its wake. At the base of the crater lies the koldun with all the maw has consumed resting on top of him. Characters who have failed the roll are turned into mindless creatures, their virtues and morality stripped from them completely and reduced to zero. Vampires succeeding on the roll enter a Harrowing (see Wrath of the Tempest) for the rest of the scene and gain a derangement. Regardless of success or failure, any mortal consumed by the pit has its soul obliterated and enters a permanent coma.
A vampire’s undead stasis cannot incarnate this otherworldly energy. Upon the power’s conclusion, fissures of unfiltered nothingness shred the koldun’s soul from within as searing chars erupt to split the flesh across hisentire frame (inflicting two levels of aggravated damage).
The Kraina of the Well
Legend holds that this kraina is the very first kraina, developed by the Eldest upon its discovery of the original Well of Sacrifice. Unlike others of its ilk, the Kraina of the Well is not harbored in exclusivity by the Old Clan alone. The Old Clan also instructs those Baali on Via Hyron dedicated to the Order of Moloch’s mission to conquer or slay the demonic with zero tolerance for all who’ve fallen into its infernal maw. Baali students do not cultivate a primary kraina and cannot learn other kraina other than the Well.
In order to enact the power of this kraina, the koldun is obligated to establish a sympathetic bond to the original Well of Sacrifice by building a duplicate for her own use and anointing it with her blood. Wells of Sacrifice are often constructed in secluded areas hidden from potential disturbance (see Wells of Sacrifice), and their spiraling pattern is reminiscent of (and pays homage to) the symbol of Clan Tzimisce. In the wilderness, the “roots” of a mountain, in a cave, or the base of a tree are traditionally favored locations. A koldun abiding in the sprawl of a modern city might choose a deserted rooftop water reservoir, the remnants of a retired or never completed subway system, or an abandoned building or elevator shaft open to the sky.
The construction of a Well requires six hours of uninterrupted work every night for one full week, followed by enchantment and a mortal sacrifice each month thereafter to maintain. During construction, the koldun gives six blood points per night to the Well and makes an extended Manipulation + Occult roll (difficulty 7). If a night’s work is missed or if the seven rolls do not accumulate at least 25 net successes, the Well remains dormant and the koldun must begin anew from scratch. To maintain a Well, the koldun prepares her sacrifice and again makes a gift of six blood points, then rolls Manipulation + Occult (difficulty 7, needing a minimum of three successes). A sympathetic Well constructed in this manner lasts indefinitely unless its structure is ruined. Should a koldun’s Well be destroyed, she loses access to all powers in this kraina until a new Well is erected.
• Call the Children
In order to command a thing, one should venture to know it. Demons, much like dogs, always endeavor to come when called by their masters. The technique of conjuring forth Hell’s dwellers has ever been a staple at the table of infernal practice.
System: Necessitating a full scene of uninterrupted focus and the expenditure of one blood point to enact, the koldun performs a long series of incantations while tracing glyphs surrounding a circle in his own blood around the entrance to his Well of Sacrifice. The power and strength of a demon the koldun is capable of summoning rises proportionate to the level of his advancement in the kraina.
As the koldun’s skill in the kraina rises, so, too, does his ability to invoke demons of increasing power. Over the course of the scene he makes an extended invocation roll (Attribute: Wits), requiring an amount of successes equal to the difficulty level of the demon summoned.
|Kraina Level 1||5 Successes||Fallen Tempter|
|Kraina Level 2||6 Successes||Fallen Tempter:+30|
|Kraina Level 3||7 Successes||Fallen Tempter:+55|
|Kraina Level 4||8 Successes||Earthbound Defiler in Darkness|
|Kraina Level 5||9 Successes||Earthbound Defiler in Darkness: +30|
Demons use the statistics presented on pp. 386-387 of V20. Storytellers should freely exchange specific Abilities and Disciplines for others and vary Attribute scores to suit the needs of their game. Demons invoked through Call the Children are not in possession of a mortal host, retaining the countenance of their Apocalyptic Form described under Powers and Weaknesses. Without being bound, a demon cannot exit the confines of the summoning circle within and will be ripped back into Hell after a number of turns equal to the difficulty level of its conjuration have expired. The demon can communicate, but generally demand an exchange of goods or services (sometimes even a contract) for any information asked of them, and even then, there’s no guarantee they need answer truthfully. The player may choose to summon the same demon again at a later date if a bargain was struck but unfulfilled before the conclusion of the power’s duration.
Two or more koldun with this power may elect a primary summoner and work in concert to invoke an entity. The difficulty level is reduced by one (minimum 4) for each koldun assisting in the invocation.
•• Heed the Hell-bound Heart
Whether by blessing or familiarity, a koldun who drinks from her Well gains a supernatural sense that alerts her when demonic influence is near, wielding the ability to scan places, objects, or beings corrupted by the stamp of infernal company.
System: By sipping a blood point directly from her Well, the koldun adds her levels attained in Kraina of the Well to her Awareness Ability for detecting demonic influence in areas tainted by its presence or souls stained by its touch. This effect last for as long as the blood point remains in her system. Blood is always consumed in the order it was ingested.
••• Aegis Alighieri
Named in the modern nights for the famed Venetian poet, Aegis Alighieri shields the koldun from violating onslaughts, predations, and defilement by demonic forces.
System: The koldun lacerates a vein, spending one turn and a blood point to coat an amulet in her blood, then makes the activation roll (Attribute: Charisma). For the remainder of the scene, the koldun adds successes scored on the activation roll to the difficulty rating for supernatural attacks and influences of infernal origin used to target her (such as infernally blessed objects, Investments and Gifts, or any Disciplines and blood sorcery powers wielded by infernalists and demons). She also gains an amount of extra dice on rolls to resist those same effects equal to the amount of successes scored. Any mundane or mystical object may be consecrated as an amulet; popular choices include ceremonial daggers, shamed crucifixes, or decapitated heads that animate to scream endlessly in silence. However, only the koldun benefits from the protection granted through Aegis Alighieri and must have the amulet on her person for this power to function. Prior to activating this power, the koldun is required to have dipped the amulet in her Well, letting it soak therein for one full night. Two or more koldun working together in close proximity (within 50 feet/15 meters) grant each other one extra success on resistance rolls and increase the difficulty to target by one (maximum 9) for all koldun present with this power activated.
•••• Heave the Host of Hell
After learning to call, to sense, and then to defend against infernal marring, the koldun now may erase its scars entirely.
System: The koldun creates a link to his Well by molding or digging a bowl-shaped impression (minimum one foot/30 cm in diameter) into the earth and christening it with one blood point. He chants a litany of admonishments and curses while sprinkling the blood on the area or baptizing the subject he intends to exorcize, then makes the activation roll (Attribute: Manipulation).
To cleanse an area, being, or thing of infernal imprint or evict a demonic entity, an amount of successes are required relative to the degree of corruption infused (1 to 2 for minor blemishes, 3 for subtle infections of noticeable evil, 4 or more for objects and spaces radiating a palpably potent malevolence). Infernalists imbued with the diabolical and demonic spirits disgracing an area with their presence (or directly in possession of beings, locations, or things) may resist by spending a Willpower point, then rolling Willpower (difficulty equal to the koldun’s permanent Willpower rating). Demons failing the roll are dismissed and banished back to Hell. Cleansed infernalists do not regain their damned souls, but any infernal mark that once permeated there being is permanently expelled.
One or more koldun with Heave the Host of Hell may assist a primary exorcist to negate an infernal blight. The difficulty level to cleanse or evict is reduced by one (minimum 4) for each koldun aiding in the exorcism.
••••• Reap the Well
Kolduns who attain full mastery in Kraina of the Well earn the sobriquet of “Hellreaper” by their peers, and for good reason.
System: Upon summoning a demon or discovering an escapee unfettered and loose outside the prison of Hell, the koldun may attempt to bind and enslave the creature to her will. The koldun cuts her wrists, taking a turn to pool one blood point in her cupped hands in order to fabricate a connection to her Well. When ready, she spends a Willpower point and makes the activation roll (Attribute: Strength). The blood leaps from her hands in the form of six interlocking hooked chains anchored beneath her slit wrists which lunge toward the target with unerring precision (maximum 100 feet/30 meters). If the roll is a success, the blood-hooks painfully latch into the entity, creating gory wounds (no damage) regardless of whether the creature possesses a physical form. An ensnared creature may struggle to break one chain per turn by spending a Willpower point, then rolling Willpower (difficulty equal to the koldun’s permanent Willpower rating).
For as long as the hooks penetrate the entity’s body, once per turn the koldun may demand its True Name, tormenting the demon by rolling Intelligence + Intimidation against the target’s current Willpower points to wrack its soul with excruciating pain. With a success, the victim cries out the answer in supplication. The koldun has two choices: she may unshackle and dismiss the demon through Heave the Host of Hell, or absorb it into herself.
A koldun that has acquired a demon’s True Name reduces the difficulty level by two when evoking it at a later date through Call the Children. Demons bound by their True Name may exit the confines of a circle they’ve been invoked within, and can be commanded by a koldun to complete a number of tasks for a number of days equal to the successes scored on the in vocation roll. The demon will answer any of the koldun’s questions, and the koldun does not need to offer an exchange of services for questions or tasks.
If choosing to absorb a chained demon, the koldun may spend a blood point to instantly call it forth again. Chained demons are wholly compliant and serve the will of the koldun in whatever capacity she demands, but must remain in bondage (maximum 100 feet/30 meters) to the koldun. A koldun can control up to six chained demonic thralls; each chain divided decreases the amount of chains available for future binding and increases the difficulty to torment untamed demons by one.
A demon who disobeys or lies to a summoner who knows its True Name when conjuring it causes a demon crippling agony. Should Reap the Well be used to perform a violent exorcism on a living host possessed by a demon, the host rolls Stamina against a difficulty equal to the amount of turns taken to tame the demon into revealing its True Name. A failure results in the host dying of shock.
Multiple koldun may Reap the Well together, collectively decreasing the difficulty to torment a demon by one per chain (minimum 4). The Hellreaper who successfully extracts the demon’s True Name on their turn may choose to bind it or dismiss it. All koldun present hear the demon howl its True Name, and if dismissed, may individually conjure it. A demon in thrall to a Hellreaper cannot be evoked until released from service.
From a purely functional standpoint, the blood magic that the Assamite sorcerer caste practices differs little from that wielded by the Tremere. From a philosophical perspective, however, worlds of difference separate the two. The Tremere force every piece of knowledge they incorporate into the structured, rigid framework of high Hermetic invocation. By contrast, the sorcerer caste’s practices are the result of millennia of adaptation and melding, and are too disparate to be considered “structured” in any real sense. The modern body of knowledge that is Assamite Sorcery draws its content from a wide array of magical traditions, from the ecstatic rites of Kali and Shiva’s followers to the subtle precision of feng shui to the elegant symbolic and mathematical transformations of Islamic alchemists and astronomers.
Assamite Sorcery is mechanically identical to the more common Thaumaturgy that appears above. However, though they work on similar principles (the use of vampiric vitae to fuel exertions of conscious will in order to effect change upon the physical or spiritual world), the two are not cross-compatible. A Tremere strives to perform his magic the same way, all the time, every time. An Assamite might never enact the same ritual the same exact way twice in a millennium. As may be expected, students of Assamite Sorcery have great difficulty learning the practices of other blood magic traditions. All experience points costs to learn other blood magic paths and rituals are increased by half (round up) for Assamite sorcerers. In addition, even once the sorcerer has incorporated these lessons into her repertoire, they are still alien to her. All invocations of a “foreign” path require one extra blood point and all rituals take triple the normal time and require one extra success for any desired result.
Many of the paths associated with Dur-An-Ki are functionally identical to various Thaumaturgy paths. In many cases, the Dur-An-Ki version came first and was adapted to Thaumaturgy by Tremere. Those paths are as follows:
- The Path of Life’s Waters (Path of Blood)
- The Path of Jinn’s Gift (Path of Conjuring)
- The Path of the Ailing Jackal (Path of the Father’s Vengeance)
- The Hand of the Magi (Lure of Flames)
- The Covenant of Enki (Neptune’s Might)
- The Laws of Suleiman (Spirit Manipulation)
- (The Movement of the Mind)
- (Hands of Destruction)
As well for Rituals:
Rituals: Defense of the Sacred Haven (Curtain of Will), Wake with Evening’s Freshness (Black Sunrise), Communicate with Kindred Sire (Speak with Sire), Deflection of Wooden Doom (Turn the Impaling Shaft), Ward versus Ghouls, Principal Focus of Vitae Infusion (Draught of the Pebble), Incorporeal Passage (Passage of the Ghul), Bone of Lies (Stain of Guilt).
In addition to these familiar paths, there are several paths unique to practitioners of Dur-An-Ki, some of which are described below.
Awakening of the Steel
Although combat mastery is hardly the sorcerer caste’s primary goal, they have a long tradition of standing ready to defend themselves and, if need be, assisting the warrior caste on the battlefield. Awakening of the Steel is one legacy of this preparedness, a path that some say began with the alchemists who studied in the forges of Toledo and Damascus. This set of techniques focuses on the symbolism of the sword as the ultimate extension of a trained warrior’s body, drawing on the myths that various warrior traditions attached to their swords and daggers: European Crusaders and their blessed blades, the kris of Indonesian Pentjak-Silat practitioners, and Indian Ghurkas and their kukri knives, among others. The practitioner of Awakening of the Steel focuses on this symbolism as he uses the power of his blood to enhance his weapon and his skill.
A student of Awakening of the Steel finds that a keen understanding of both the form and the function of a blade is necessary for full mastery of this path. A character must have a level of either Melee or Crafts Ability equal to his level in Awakening of the Steel. Those who practice this path also find that its lessons are tightly focused, perhaps to the point of overspecialization. The path is at its most effective with swords and knives, and the wielder can only extend its effects to other edged weapons. Any attempt to use a technique of this path on another edged weapon is at +1 difficulty.
• Confer with the Blade
Although few Assamites claim to have actually spoken to a weapon’s soul, blacksmiths and warriors alike have ascribed spiritual qualities to hand-forged blades for centuries. Practitioners of Auspex are familiar with the manner in which inanimate objects can bear impressions of their own history. Confer with the Blade allows a weapon’s wielder to delve into the events that have occurred around his weapon. Some practitioners of this power claim this makes the weapon feel more “comfortable” in their hands, while others speak of the sense of history that an ancient blade bears. The actual impressions only take an instant to gain, though many prefer to spend much longer in contemplation if time permits.
System: The number of successes determines the amount of information the sorcerer gains regarding the blade’s history and its present state, as well as all information yielded by a lesser number of successes. With three or more successes, the sorcerer may lower the difficulty on his next attempt to apply a blood-magic ritual to the weapon by one.
•• Grasp of the Mountain
The best scimitar in all creation does its owner no good if it’s lying five yards away from him. Grasp of the Mountain strengthens the spiritual bond between the sword and the swordsman in order to reinforce the wielder’s physical grip on his weapon. A blade that is under the effect of this art never leaves its master’s hand unless he so wills it.
System: For the rest of the scene, the character has a number of automatic successes to resist all attempts to disarm him, equal to the number of successes rolled. He cannot accidentally drop the blade (which means his botches are likely to result in self-mutilation instead of an empty hand). If the character is somehow disarmed in spite of Grasp of the Mountain, he may call the blade back to his hand by successfully invoking this power again, assuming he has a clear line of sight to the weapon.
••• Pierce Steel’s Skin
At this level of understanding, the sorcerer can command his blade with such precision that he can strike at an opponent’s physical protection rather than his body. The sword transfers its full fury to the intended target, shredding even the toughest chain or plate. This strips away the victim’s defenses, leaving him vulnerable to the next attack. While this power is of limited utility in modern nights, as traditional armor has fallen by the wayside, it remains in the path’s progression of lessons due to its utility in destroying other obstacles.
System: While Pierce Steel’s Skin is in effect, an attack against an unarmored target inflicts half damage (rounded down). However, for a number of turns equal to the number of successes rolled, each successful attack the character makes against an armored foe inflicts damage on the target’s body armor rather than injuring him directly. Only metal armor can be damaged by this power. When the character makes a successful attack against an armored target, the player does not roll damage. Instead, he rolls a number of dice equal to the sword’s damage bonus (the number of dice that it adds to his Strength) against a difficulty of 7. Each success reduces the armor’s soak bonus by one die. Armor that is reduced to zero soak dice in this manner is completely destroyed and unsalvageable. Additional successes beyond those needed to destroy a piece of armor have no effect.
At the Storyteller’s discretion, Pierce Steel’s Skin may destroy other inanimate objects (walls, doors, cars, dramatically appropriate obstacles) without significant damage to the sword. For the purposes of this power, Fortitude counts as part of the target’s Stamina, not external armor.
|One success||Physical information only: precise length and weight (to the micrometer and milligram), chemical composition (assuming the character understands metallurgy), number of damage dice and type of damage (lethal or aggravated).|
|Two successes||Historical overview: when and where the blade was forged, the name and face of its smith, brief glimpses of significant events in its existence.|
|Three successes||Sorcerous understanding: the type and relative level of power of any enchantments or supernatural enhancements that the blade possesses as well as the name and face of the individual who laid them.|
|Four successes||Subliminal synthesis: comprehensive knowledge of the sword’s history. For the next seven nights, the character recognizes the taste of any blood that has ever stained the blade if she tastes it herself.|
|Five successes||Total communion: The sword and the wielder become linked at a level deeper than the physical and more enduring than the immediate. The Storyteller determines what information the sword holds for the character, but it may include any event in the blade’s history or any aspect of its present existence and condition.|
•••• Razor’s Shield
Many swordsmen hold that the duel is the ultimate test of the warrior because it places all opponents on an equal footing: Death is only three feet of steel away, and only the skill of the combatants determines who walks away. However, observers who are more pragmatic than romantic note that an enemy with a ranged weapon (be it bow, sling, or gun) has the advantage of striking from much farther away than arm’s length. While Awakening of the Steel cannot completely counteract this advantage, this power allows the skilled sorcerer some measure of defense as the sword interposes itself between its master and attacks from afar.
System: For a number of turns equal to the number of successes rolled, the character may attempt to parry projectiles. This requires one action for each projectile that the player wishes to block, and the character must be able to see the shot coming (Heightened Senses allows visual tracking of bullets). Each parrying attempt requires a Dexterity + Melee roll, with a difficulty determined by the speed of the projectile. Thrown objects have a difficulty of 6, arrows and crossbow bolts a difficulty of 7, and bullets a difficulty of 9. Each success subtracts one success from the attacker’s attack roll. Razor’s Shield does not allow the character to parry ranged attacks that do not incorporate solid projectiles, such as flame, lightning, or spat blood.
••••• Strike at the True Flesh
Although pacifists may find other uses for blades, a warrior knows that swords were created for one purpose: to carve an enemy’s flesh into bloody ruin. Strike at the True Flesh invokes the very essence of the sorcerer’s weapon, reducing it to the embodiment of its very definition (or, as the more classically minded would put it, invoking the Platonic form) while simplifying its target to a similarly basic level. The results of such an invocation are usually devastating on both a philosophical and practical level as weapon and victim momentarily lose all supernatural attributes.
System: The effects of Strike at the True Flesh last for a number of turns equal to the number of successes rolled, and they end with the first successful attack that the character makes within this time period. The sword inflicts only the base amount of lethal damage that a weapon of its size and type would normally cause, disregarding all enhancements that it may have received (though augmentations to the wielder’s strength or speed, such as Potence and Celerity, still have their normal effects, as do extra successes on the attack roll).
However, all the target’s supernatural defenses (including Fortitude) are likewise negated — he soaks the attack only with his base Stamina. If the negation of his powers and defenses renders the target unable to soak lethal damage, he cannot soak the attack at all. Body armor does protect against this attack, as it is a mundane form of defense.
The Hunter’s Winds
This path was originally developed by Assamite sorcerers and is rarely encountered outside of that Clan, but knowledge of it has passed into the larger pool of Dur-An-Ki lore. The Path is designed to augment a vampire’s natural stealth and skill with Obfuscate. While many aspects of this Path seem redundant given the existence of Obfuscate, the Path offers a powerful advantage over that Discipline — for example, Auspex does not automatically pierce the veil provided by The Hunter’s Winds. While Auspex may add to the observer’s Perception-based rolls as the Storyteller sees fit, the observer does not automatically see through deceptions just because his Auspex exceeds the ashipu’s Path rating, as is the case with Obfuscate or Chimerstry.
• Scent of Deception
The target of this power gains the ability to alter her scent or eliminate it completely.
System: A successful roll means that the target either leaves no scent that can be detected or tracked, or she leaves the scent of someone else known to her. A failure means nothing happens. A botch means that her scent is more easily identifiable to others (in addition to the other penalties for botching a blood magic roll).
•• Chameleon’s Skin
The target’s skin and clothing automatically assume the coloring and texture of whatever he stands near.
System: For the duration of the scene following the activation scene, the difficulty of all Perception rolls to detect the target increase by +4 so long as he remains stationary. While he is in motion, the effect is negated, but once he comes to rest again against a different surface, he can reassert the camouflage with a successful Perception + Stealth roll (difficulty 6, or 9 if someone is actively searching for him at the time). Any texture changes are illusory; the target does not gain the durability of a brick wall just by standing near it.
••• Unassuming Pose
The target effortlessly blends into any crowd of people. Everyone present will assume the target belongs there, including any pursuers.
System: If the roll succeeds, any observer will automatically assume that the target belongs in whatever location he is found. Those searching for him are incapable of perceiving that he is an intruder. However, this effect cannot fool technology, and anyone observing through CCTV, for example, can spot him as an interloper.
•••• Whiff of Kalif
The target of this effect generates an aura which is physically intoxicating to anyone who directly observes her. Those affected may experience a pleasant daydream, or may just be left standing slack-jawed as the target goes on his way.
System: If the effect is successfully activated, anyone who observes the target during the rest of the scene must reflexively roll Wits + Alertness (difficulty 7) or become intoxicated for a number of hours equal to the ashipu’s successes in triggering the effect. Affected individuals are incapable of taking any action beyond staring vacantly at visions only they can see or perhaps giggling from time to time. However, any direct threat to an affected individual immediately causes the intoxication to fade.
••••• Ghost Body
As a particularly powerful effect, Ghost Body requires the ashipu to expend three points of blood instead of the normal one. When the effect is activated, the target becomes completely invisible, inaudible, and intangible, and she can move freely through any barriers other than wards against vampires.
System: If activated successfully, the target becomes immaterial in nearly every sense. The effect does not make her into a true ghost, and she is incapable of interacting with wraiths or spirits while in this form. She is also incapable of using any Disciplines while in this form. The effect ends as soon as the target makes the conscious decision to affect the physical world in any way.
The Keepers Way
Keepers of the Pool
Deep within the heart of Alamut lies the sacred pool of blood that sustains the city in the sparsely populated desert mountains that the Assamites call home. Here resides the order of the Keepers of the Pool, who keep the city, the clan, and — they believe — all Cainites safe from the ravages of the Beast. Practicing the ultimate in self control, the Keepers routinely starve themselves to reflect on the gifts of Haqim, using the focus they get from desperation to study the pool as it swirls with the happenings of the Assamite world. Each and every sorcerer, like each and every Assamite, recognizes that the mark of Caine is both a curse and a blessing. While their siblings, the warriors and viziers, see fit to judge and cleanse the wrongdoers, the sorcerers seek, in their minds, a higher calling to reduce the damage that the curse does to Cainites and mortals alike.
In this pursuit, the Keepers are some of the most important sorcerers of all. They keep Alamut fed and allow for the Elders and Eldest to know the fate of the clan and the state of the world. They devote their nights to the study of the many supernatural elements that occur in the Great Pool, learning to read the ripples and currents therein, and also manipulating it for the betterment of the clan. This does not come without a cost. Where other sorcerers and indeed most other Assamites may leave the holy city, the Keepers become bound to it in an intimate way.
Not every sorcerer is expected nor able to become a Keeper. That role is reserved only for the most ardent and devout of the sorcerers. Given the lack of focus that many see in the younger, higher-generation Cainites who are Embraced but still believe in the tenets of Islam, it is considered an enormous honor to be chosen by the Elders for the task. All sorcerers deemed worthy of the sacred task must complete a series of tests encompassing their knowledge of Assamite blood sorcery, their understanding of the teachings of Haqim, and their commitment to the goals of the clan. Once they have passed, their initiation begins. By first confessing their failures before the Council of Elders and then emptying themselves of blood, the sorcerers undergoing initiation spiritually and magically drain themselves. As every present Keeper recites the holy vows, the initiates drink from and bind themselves to the pool.
Keepers are unable to go without drinking at least one blood point from the Great Pool each night. When they fail to do so, they take one unsoakable level of aggravated damage each night without. When Keepers must leave Alamut for especially important business, they carry wineskins full of blood from the Great Pool for the sake of personal consumption. When traveling, Keepers may have need of their arts; any of the rituals listed below, save the fifth, may be used just as well with the Keeper pouring the blood into an open-mouthed container.
The Keepers work in close contact with each other, but save for necessary interactions for the purposes of their work, they are largely isolated from other members of their clan. Should a Keeper have a childe, that childe is more likely to become a Keeper herself than other neonates, and the Keepers maintain a certain degree of elitism towards those who wish to join their ranks. When the Elders do choose a new Keeper, they’re absorbed into the sect with no complaint.
It is generally expected that Keepers follow the Road of Blood as described on V20 Dark Ages. Their auras and virtues will necessarily reflect the information written for that Road.
The Keepers practice an eponymous path of Assamite Sorcery known only by them.
• Sense the Ripples
Assamites learning this path learn first to listen and read the largest ripples in the Great Pool, indicting dramatic events: the death or torpor of an Elder or Eldest, a planned treachery, or worse. Though dramatic events can be seen as they occur, it is only with higher knowledge that a practitioner can know in any detail what has occurred. With each success, she may ask one clarifying question related to the subject that can be answered with yes or no. Paradoxical questions cannot be answered.
•• The Gift of Haqim
With greater study, a practitioner can stretch the blood drawn from the Great Pool. He must drink at least one blood point from the pool. His body is filled by the pool, regardless of how far he is from the actual pool. He gains blood points equal the number of successes, which come once per hour until fully awarded.
••• The Distant Crimson
With this spell, a practitioner can observe the physical surroundings of any Assamites in a one hundred kilometer radius. She may see through the eyes of the Assamites present at the location, and can tell their general emotional states, whether they have sufficient blood to get through the week, and whether they have been in combat in the last night. With additional successes, she may filter her perceptions based on an additional, formally recognized trait such as caste or age.
•••• Know the Fate of One
By examining the minute stirrings of the pool with more clarity, a practitioner can sense a dramatic change in the fate of one vampire. She may ask questions that can be answered with a yes or a no, equal to the number of successes on her roll. This spell is frequently done to discern the true depravity of especially powerful vampires. When the warriors believe they must inflict Final Death on a Prince, they first ask the Keepers.
••••• Cast into the Pool of Blood
This spell must always be cast by four sorcerers. By emptying themselves of blood points with their hands in the pool, the practitioners can feel the blood of all members of the clan flowing through them, and can impact the immediate fate of the Clan Assamite. All participants gain one Generation during the casting, as the potency of their blood is permanently used to influence the clan’s fate. Though they may not control time, nor impact things directly, through the power of this ritual they may dramatically impact the result of a series of events. In effect, they choose a goal to accomplish, which must be agreed to by all casting members.
For each success, choose one of the following:
• Individuals gain –1 difficulty on relevant actions (to a minimum difficulty 3).
• Individuals gain +1 die on relevant actions (to a maximum +5 dice).
• Those obstructing the goal gain +1 difficulty (to a maximum difficulty 9).
• Those obstructing the goal lose 1 die (to a minimum dice pool 1).
For example: If the goal is to prevent an army from invading Alamut, all warriors would receive bonuses to their rolls made to defend the city, and all sorcerers would gain bonuses to rituals in defense of the collective, while enemies would suffer penalties to attack the Assamites therein.
The Path of the Evil Eye
Throughout history, the ignorant and superstitious have feared the Evil Eye — a belief that some people have the power to curse their enemies, whether through the invocation of dark powers or simply through malicious will. In some places, such beliefs persist, perhaps in part because of the existence of this Path, which allows an ashipu to invoke wrathful djinn to embarrass, injure, or even kill his enemies.
But this Path is not the exclusive province of Dur-An-Ki. Its ancient pedigree means that it is known to many Old Skool Anarchs who have preserved the power to curse over the ages, while its sheer vindictiveness has ensured that modern Punk Sorcerers have learned to duplicate its effects.
To use the Evil Eye against a target, the sorcerer must either be able to make eye contact with her and say something to indicate his disdain, whether a traditional Arabic curse or simply a shouted “Fuck You!” Alternatively, the sorcerer can make use of an effigy to cast the curse over a longer distance (as described under the Principles of Contagion and Sympathy). The target will not necessarily realize that she has been cursed. An Intelligence + Occult (difficulty 6) roll is required of the target if the sorcerer casts the curse in her face, while a roll at difficulty 9 is required to realize that recent bad luck is the result of a curse cast from afar. A character with Aura Perception or who has at least one dot in this Path may notice tell-tale signs of a curse lingering in the target’s aura and may recognize this as the residue of a curse with a Wits + Occult roll (difficulty 7). A character who successfully identifies a curse this way may treat the curse itself as a mystical connection equivalent to a prized possession while in the presence of the cursed individual.
The sorcerer who laid the curse can negate it at will. Any other character capable of recognizing the curse (including the target herself, if she has the appropriate knowledge of blood magic) may attempt to negate it with Thaumaturgical Countermagic or any comparable blood magic effect. The one who lays the curse never knows exactly how the curse will manifest itself. Each level of this Path sets the parameters for what type of harm may occur, but the Storyteller determines the precise nature of the manifestation.
The simplest application of the Evil Eye causes the target to embarrass himself in some public way. Possible results include saying something embarrassing in front of one’s peers, failing disastrously at a feeding attempt, or simply ripping the seat out of one’s pants while in a crowded bar.
System: Each success represents one night during which the target is affected by the curse. The curse triggers once per night at a time of the Storyteller’s choosing, usually the scene during which the character is in front of the largest number of individuals or in which he is in front of the largest number of socially important people. That is, it may trigger while the character is in a crowded restaurant or when he is alone with the Prince, whichever has the greatest potential for personal embarrassment.
The Storyteller determines when the curse triggers, but it should do so at least once per night. During the trigger scene, on every Social roll made for the character, the player must add a number of automatic 1s equal to the sorcerer’s rating in the Path of the Evil Eye, thereby increasing the likelihood of a botch on a Social roll. In addition, during the trigger scene, the Storyteller should roll a number of dice equal to the sorcerer’s rating in this path (difficulty 5). Successes mean that some external event happens that causes embarrassment to the character, such as a waiter spilling drinks on him or a car splashing him with mud.
This curse affects the target’s material worth. It most commonly causes the target to be stripped of money, but it may also cause her Herd to diminish, or destroy a Haven. The curse can target any tangible asset represented as a Background. If the character has no suitable Backgrounds, it targets personal items of emotional significance.
System: Within one week, the target loses one dot from an appropriate Background. Generally, the curse preferentially attacks Resources over other Backgrounds, but theoretically any form of tangible Background representing a personal asset can be a valid target. The sorcerer has no control over how the Background point is lost or even which Background point is lost. The Storyteller may even choose to decide randomly.
At this level of mastery, the ashipu may finally endanger her enemy rather than merely inconvenience her. The curse cannot directly harm the target, but it can create a situation in which it is possible for her to be harmed, whether at the hands of a drunken lout who takes offense to the target’s manner at a bar or a pack of werewolves who, by happenstance, choose to board the same lonely subway car as the victim.
System: The number of successes determines how many nights the character is at risk. At the start of each night, the Storyteller must roll a die and, depending on the results, fashion an encounter for the targeted character.
Dice Result Nature of Peril
1-3 None. The curse does not trigger during this night.
4-6 Minor: An encounter which is not likely to harm the character but which has a chance to do so. A mortal tries to mug the character while she is in front of mortals, or simply tries to hold up a convenience store while the character is in line paying for gas. A bar patron takes offense to something the character does or says and tries to pick a fight.
7-8 Moderate: An encounter with a significant likelihood of at least some harm to the character. The character is involved in a car wreck or struck by a hit-and-run driver. Stairs give way while the character is climbing them.
9 Severe: An encounter in which the character is almost certain to suffer some lethal damage. The character inadvertently says something offensive that provokes frenzy rolls in nearby vampires. The building collapses while the character is in it or a fire breaks out.
10 Catastrophic: An encounter that is potentially deadly. The character’s is locked out of his haven during the day. The character unwittingly says something that offends a pack of nearby Lupines.
Nights on which there is no peril do not count against the ashipu’s successes; the curse will continue until the target has suffered a number of dangerous encounters equal to the successes or the curse is lifted. During any dangerous encounter, a targeted character has a chance to realize she is under a curse (if she didn’t already know it). The roll is Intelligence + Occult. The default difficulty is 9, but it drops to 8 if the character has Auspex or to 6 if the character has any knowledge of this Path.
This potent curse causes the target’s friends and allies to turn against him, even as it causes the numbers of his enemies to grow.
System: For each success on the Willpower roll, the target loses one dot of Allies, Contacts, Influence, or Retainers. This may reflect friends and allies who have become angry with the character and turn their back on him, it may reflect contacts and allies who are simply unavailable for a time, or it may actually result in such characters being injured or even dying due to ill fortune.
Alternatively, the player may choose to spend some or all of the successes to give the target a new Enemy (as per the Enemy Flaw) who arrives to pursue a vendetta against the character. Regardless, the effects manifest within a week, and the player of the targeted character may neither regain lost Backgrounds nor remove the Enemy Flaw without learning about and neutralizing the curse.
••••• The Eye That Wounds
The ultimate expression of this malefic path, the Eye That Wounds does not require time to establish a chain of ill fortune. It strikes immediately. The ashipu must make eye contact with her target and utter some exclamation pertaining to a characteristic of his. It can be praise or insult, sarcasm or fury, but whatever form it takes, the target is immediately struck with an agonizing injury that damages that characteristic.
System: While the curse allows for flexibility, the default assumption is that for every two successes (rounded up), the target (or object, if the curse is directed towards a possession of the target) suffers one level of aggravated damage. Generally, even a single level of damage is sufficient to slay an animal or destroy most objects.
If used against a mortal, this power will permanently maim him. If used against a Kindred, the curse will inflict damage shaped by the ashipu’s words. If she compliments his beautiful eyes, they will be burned and he might be rendered blind until he can heal. If she mocks his honeyed words, the curse might burn out his tongue and leave him unable to speak. This curse may be transmitted through an effigy, but the normal difficulty penalty imposed for using an effigy increases by +2 (see Principles of Contagion and Sympathy).
The Blessings of the Great Dark Mother
A thaumaturgic path of relatively recent development, the Blessings of the Great Dark Mother draws directly upon the nature of her spirit-beast servants — Cat, Owl, Serpent, and Dragon among them — to assist the ashipu in their struggles against the infernal. Despite the sobriquet “Mother of Demons,” Lilith’s children are almost never either denizens of Hell or cast-off remnants of the Outer Dark, but the offspring of her many unions with strange and wonderful beings. Partaking of Lilith’s essence and that of her mates, these unions produce entities that are unique admixtures of spiritual and physical, whose mutability of substance renders them vulnerable to abuse by the ignorant and the unscrupulous. The techniques used by the sorcerers of the First Tribe to subtly alter the true Names of the Children of the Outer Dark, the ritually enforced expectations of mortal demonologists, and the potent true magic of the Awakened can all force the Lilin into demoniacal form. The arts of this path can liberate them from this bondage and distort, disrupt, and defile the unholy pacts and bonds between an infernalist and their genuinely diabolical masters and minions.
The ashipu utters an incantation that reveals to her the nature of any pacts, bonds, or spiritual ties to other beings within audible range of her voice. These bonds appear differently to each ashipu who employs the cradlesong, depending strongly on her preferred sensory stimulus. Some see the bonds as threads of light wrapped around others, pulsing with colors that define their nature; others hear them as a rich and complex song whose internal melodies, harmonies, tempo, and beat contain the information they require. Most properly sung, the incantation can also be simply spoken, whistled using the appropriate notes, or played wordlessly on a musical instrument as a tone poem; electronic amplification can and does increase its effective range.
System: The ashipu sings her cradlesong, spends one blood point, and rolls Perception + Occult (difficulty equal to the highest current Willpower rating of the individuals in the group, or the current Willpower rating of the individual if attempting to affect a singular target). If successful, the song causes any and all infernal pacts, spiritual pacts, and voluntary or involuntary bonds of any kind (including the blood bond) to become “visible” in some way to the caster.
The firstborn son of Lilith and Lucifer was named “Silver” for the light of the Moon, a hue reflected in the bright silver scales of the serpent that serves the Great Dark Mother. The serpent sometimes functions as one of her many forms, symbolic of purity and purification. The ashipu who calls upon the argent serpent sings, speaks, or plays an invocation that allows her to select one infernal or spiritual bond and purify the owner of it — severing the ties of bound spirits or demons. This invocation cannot sever the blood bond (no matter how involuntarily it might have been entered into), nor can it undo an infernal pact.
System: The ashipu invokes the gift of the argent serpent, spending one blood point and rolling Manipulation + Occult, with a difficulty equal to the target’s current Willpower. If successful, the invocation causes a single selected bond between the target and an enthralled spirit or bound demon to be broken. This, of course, frees the previously bound spirit or demon to flee, take vengeance, or visit whatever consequences of bondage they prefer upon their former owner.
The second-born son of Lilith and Lucifer was named “Silence,” for the peace and stillness of D’hainu, the Great Dark Mother’s garden of renewal, and is also an attribute of the watchful, night-hunting owl that both serves and embodies her. The ashipu who calls upon the owl with wings of twilight sings, speaks, or plays an invocation that allows her to silence all of the infernal or spiritual ties of her target, pacts and bonds alike.
System: The ashipu invokes the gift of the twilight owl, spending one blood point and rolling Manipulation + Occult, with a difficulty equal to the target’s current Willpower. If successful, the invocation causes a psychic or spiritual silence to fall across all bonds and pacts in which the target is involved — he can no longer issue commands to his bound spirits or servitor demons, nor can he receive communication or commands from any spirit or demon that holds him in thrall. Exceptional success (four successes or more) extends this effect to the Cainite at the other end of any blood bond in which the target is engaged.
The youngest daughter of Lilith and Lucifer was named “Night,” for the realm that would have been hers had she lived to maturity. Such darkness is also an attribute of the soft-pawed, sharp-clawed cat that warded the borders of D’hainu and protected those who dwelt within the Garden of Renewal. The ashipu who calls upon the cat with the pelt of shadow sings, speaks, or plays an invocation that allows her to directly assault all of the lesser infernal or spiritual ties of their target, parting the bonds as with a swipe of deadly claws and disarming the target of their spiritual weapons.
System: The ashipu invokes the gift of the night-shadow cat, spending one blood point and rolling Manipulation + Occult, with a difficulty equal to the target’s current Willpower, for each spirit or demon that the target holds enthralled as a servitor. Success frees the bound spirit or demon to do as it wills. Failure not only fails to free the spirit or demon, but also allows those entities to know precisely who attempted to sever those ties.
The firstborn and eldest child of Lilith and Lucifer was their daughter, named “Water” after her mother’s fond memory of both the crystal streams of lost Eden and the vast oceanic depths in which she took shelter after her expulsion. In the oceans, she bore the first of her many broods and emerged from her exile more powerful than before. Mighty and deep are the powers of that great primordial realm, and mighty was the form that the Great Dark Mother took there. She lent the secrets and gifts of that form to her first child and eldest daughter, the dragon whose wings blotted out and the moon and the sun and the stars, and whose scales shone with all the hues of the sea, greatest of all the purifiers. The ashipu who calls upon the dragon who weeps tears of salt sings, speaks, or plays an invocation that allows her to directly attack the principal infernal or spiritual pact of her target.
System: The ashipu invokes the gift of the great serpent of the ocean, spending one blood point and rolling Perception + Occult, with a difficulty equal to the current Willpower of the target. By so doing, she gains the knowledge of what impelled the target to enter into a bargain in which his soul would be forfeit. Each success rolled yields more detailed knowledge of her target, the nature and strengths of the pact, and any infernal investments or gifts that the target possesses. Spectacular success yields the True Name of the target’s demonic patron and the opportunity to directly engage it in a contested Manipulation + Occult (difficulty equal to it’s permanent Willpower) roll. Success on the part of the ashipu severs the bond between the infernalist and their patron; success on the part of the patron allows the bond to remain intact. Failure of any roll in this sequence allows the infernality’s patron to perceive the ashipu and derive substantial information about her through the contact.
Ushabti derives its name from the figurines crafted for the tombs of the wealthy and powerful in ancient Egypt. It was believed that such figurines would come to life in the Underworld to serve their masters as laborers or playthings. Each application of this Path creates a different ushabti, and each ushabti can only be activated once. The sorcerer must forge the figurine from wax or clay mixed with a point of blood. Then, he must carve Egyptian words of power onto the figurine before bathing it in honey and beer. Activating a figurine requires the sorcerer to spend a point of blood and speak an incantation, and the player rolls Willpower to determine whether the ushabti activates. If it does, the figurine expands into a life-sized, animate figure that obeys the sorcerer’s will. In the case of a botch, in addition to the normal effects, the ushabti will activate but will be hostile to the sorcerer.
Activated ushabti have Attributes and Abilities determined by the level of the path used to create them. The sorcerer may not grant an ushabti Abilities she does not have nor Ability ratings higher than her own. The successes on the Willpower roll determine how realistic the activated ushabti is. However, the successes applied to “realism” can never exceed the path rating used. Thus, only an ushabti created with Gift of Khnum (Ushabti •••••) can be indistinguishable from a living creature.
1 A crude thing obviously made of wax.
2 As realistic as a well-made waxwork or a china doll.
3 Lifelike enough to fool a casual viewer (difficulty 6 to detect as fake)
4 Extremely lifelike (difficulty 8 to detect as unreal)
5 Indistinguishable from a living creature
Once activated, the ushabti endures for one lunar month, but this can be extended indefinitely at a cost of one point of blood per additional month. However, this assumes that the ushabti remains within its master’s haven and does not interact with mortals. If those conditions are broken, the ushabti will degrade into nothingness within an hour. A sorcerer can craft an ushabti for use by another, but doing so costs him one Willpower.
The ushabti can be a human or an animal. It is mindless and obeys all orders from its master. It has two dots in each Physical Attribute, one dot in each Mental Attribute, and no dots in any Social Attribute. It has no Abilities.
To the Laborer, add three additional Attribute dots. None can be applied to any Social Attribute, and no Mental Attribute can rise above 2. Add two dots of non-combat Abilities.
To the Laborer, add six dots of Attributes and four dots of Abilities. Guards may have Social Attributes, but no Social or Mental Attribute may exceed 2, nor can any Ability.
To the Laborer, add nine dots of Attributes and six dots of Abilities; no Social or Mental Attribute may exceed 3, nor can any Ability.
Gift of Khnum (•••••)
The ultimate expression of this art, the Gift of Khnum (the legendary creator of humanity according to Egyptian lore) allows the sorcerer to create what is effectively a living body, either as an obedient slave or as a ready-made vessel for a wraith or a spirit. The character who activates the ushabti decides which, although the latter option requires her to have a compliant wraith or spirit handy.
To the basic Laborer, add 12 dots of Attributes and eight dots of Abilities. The ushabti gains the Virtues, Humanity, and Willpower of a starting vampire. It is sentient but emotionally bound to the one who activates it as if by a blood bond. This is true even if a spirit or wraith possesses it. Each use of Gift of Khnum costs two Willpower points at the time of activation, and the player may spend additional Willpower points to gain automatic successes on the activation roll. An ushabti created with this Path does not degrade unless someone actively challenges its identity and persuades it that it is not real. Absent proof of its own unreality, the ushabti is effectively immortal.
The Revelations of Duat
The Spell of Life is the purview of those dedicated to Set’s ancient enemy, Osiris. While Witches of Echidna are unable to replicate the powers of the Spell, they long ago forged the first steps on a Path of Akhu; named The Revelations of Duat. After teaching Orthodox Setites from Saqqara to Luxor in the precepts, the Gorgons abruptly abandoned Egypt and retreated to Greece. The reasons behind their departure have fallen into apocrypha, if ever they were known.
Shortly after the Gorgons departed Egypt, Cappadocians in the cult of Lazarus arrived to seek sanctuary with sympathetic Setites. The Setites — novitiates in the promising Revelations of Duat — turned to Lazarus’ get for further tutelage. The result is a Path of Setite Sorcery tainted with the gifts of Necromancy, often shared between Setites and Cappadocians willing to devote themselves to the study of death and — at the very least — lip service to Anubis or Hades.
• Sight of the Jackal
Sorcerers with Sight of the Jackal immediately identify ghosts who resist the call of Duat, spying free dead as they ride living vessels or hide in objects and structures. The sorcerer’s eyes gain a translucent grey film until the duration of the power concludes.
System: Additional successes allow greater perception of the strength, shape, and history of the ghost. The power lasts for the remainder of the scene. Ghosts become aware of the sorcerer on a botch, and depending on their temperament they may attack the vampire. Sight of the Jackal does not allow sorcerers to communicate with the dead.
•• Weigh the Virtues
To judge the dead, Anubis must weigh virtues and sins. The Setite practicing Weigh the Virtues is able to identify any morally compelling deeds performed by a once-living being, whether they’re using this power on a ghost, a corpse, or a vampire. Knowledge of these deeds is key to practicing the further powers on this Path, as Imbue with the Grace of Anubis is predicated on understanding the deceased’s crimes.
System: For each success, a different deed — from saving a child from a crocodile’s jaws to murdering a rival over a lover — appears to the sorcerer in vivid detail. On a botch, this power reveals one of the sorcerer’s sins to his most trusted companions.
••• Pharaoh’s Sentry
Unthinking, unemotional, unyielding sentries are the best guards a Prince could want, but to create them a sorcerer requires a dead body and a dispossessed spirit. Pharaoh’s Sentry creates an emotionless automaton who forever serves the sorcerer’s edict, acting as a warrior and vigilant guard with no moral qualms against killing, or fear of dying in service.
System: When a sorcerer practices Pharaoh’s Sentry on a corpse dead for a single night in a place a ghost haunts, a fragment of the ghost’s soul moves to the corpse and causes its reanimation. The sorcerer must have used Weigh the Virtues previously to identify a spiritual hook with which to snare the spirit. Each success allows the power to be used on a corpse dead for an additional night.
The sorcerer’s edict must be a single sentence, i.e. “You must guard this tomb from all intruders but me,” or “You must follow this man to his house, and kill him inside.” Ambiguity leads to grave mistakes. In the previous examples, “You must guard this tomb from all intruders,” would lead to even the sorcerer being attacked should he attempt to enter the tomb; and “You must follow this man to his house and kill him,” may lead to the victim’s murder at a premature point, rather than inside the hoped-for building.
The animated corpse remains active permanently without succumbing to decomposition.
A botch on attempting the Pharaoh’s Sentry causes the corpse to rise and mindlessly attack its summoner until destroyed.
Attributes: Strength 4, Dexterity 3, Stamina 5, Charisma 0, Manipulation 0, Appearance 0, Perception 1, Intelligence 0, Wits 1
Abilities: Alertness 2, Athletics 2, Brawl 3, Intimidation 2, Melee 2, Stealth 2
Disciplines: Fortitude 1
Notes: These sentries commonly have a reserve of seven blood points, and crumble to dust after using them. This blood is dead for the purpose of feeding, so cannot be consumed by vampires.
•••• Imbue with the Grace of Anubis
An unthinking guardian is a potent defender for havens and temples, but sometimes a sorcerer requires Anubis to return more than a flicker of life. By the jackal god’s grace, a sorcerer taps into the good deed or sin identified through Weigh the Virtues, and imbues the corpse animated through Pharaoh’s Sentry with a compulsion based on that deed.
The animated corpse is still victim to the one-line edict, but now harbors emotions and inclinations based on the harvested spirit’s former deeds and will act on them when not specifically directed to do otherwise. These inclinations always manifest themselves violently.
The utility of this power comes through the chaos it causes. A sorcerer who sends a horde of corpses possessed by violent emotion into a town, knows the domain will come apart at the seams.
System: A sentry with basic memory of its defining deeds will act impulsively in ways similar to its former life; i.e. a former murderer who cut the throats of merchants will always slay any traders it meets with attacks to the neck, while a priest who assisted the poor will target the homes of the wealthy, burning them down and massacring the inhabitants. A single success plants the memory of one deed in the mind of the sentry, with each additional success giving the sorcerer the option to place another.
The spirit from which the deed is drawn for the creation of this powered sentry is aware of its virtues or sins being drained, but without the sorcerer’s aid cannot recover the piece it loses to this power. The sorcerer must spend a blood point to return the deed to the spirit from which it originated, at which point it becomes an unthinking sentry retaining the same statistics, but none of the freedom of thought.
The sentry attacks its master on a botched roll.
Attributes: Strength 5, Dexterity 4, Stamina 5, Charisma 0, Manipulation 0, Appearance 0, Perception 2, Intelligence 0, Wits 2
Abilities: Alertness 2, Athletics 3, Brawl 3, Intimidation 3, Melee 3, Stealth 3
Disciplines: Fortitude 2, Potence 1
Notes: These sentries commonly have a reserve of eight blood points, and crumble to dust after using them. Storytellers may augment statistics appropriate for the deed imbued in the corpse.
••••• The Sorcery of Life
In Setite apocrypha, it is said Set’s favored servants were the immortal entities known as Bane Mummies. Set and his childer attempted a version of Osiris’ Spell of Life in attempts to create their own eternal servants, but the Spell went horribly wrong. Where Osiris’ children were given eternal life, purity, and wisdom; Set’s immortal servants were possessed only of impurities, regurgitated by the demon Ammut, and reborn as Bane Mummies. Set’s frustration was destructive. He blamed his childer, and destroyed every Setite of the Fourth Generation unlucky enough to be in his presence.
Eventually, Set devoted adoration to the Bane Mummies, but ever resented the failures of his childer in their creation. Bane Mummies still exist, but the secret of their conception is something guarded within the temple sanctums of the Hierophants. Few wish to anger Set in such an egregious way as to create new Bane Mummies.
The Witches of Echidna — certain of an impending doom — are not so apprehensive. Their studies reveal a different route to empowering their servants, and in concordance with Lazarus’ Cappadocians bequeath this research to the Egyptian Setites. With the Sorcery of Life, a form of Proto-Bane Mummy is twisted into life. The practitioners risk their founder’s displeasure creating of these servants, but measure the gamble as one worth taking.
System: The sorcerer must have taken steps necessary to Imbue with the Grace of Anubis, and hold in their thrall an animated corpse bearing the fire of emotion-fueled deeds. Each success converts to points the sorcerer can assign to the sentry’s Attributes or Disciplines. Any Disciplines granted to the sentry must be from those the sorcerer holds. The Proto-Bane Mummy is still subject to the sorcerer’s whims, but will attempt intricate tasks if its Intelligence is increased to allow understanding of complicated commands.
As with Imbue with the Grace of Anubis, the spirit harvested for the creation of this Proto-Bane Mummy is aware of its virtues or sins being stolen. The sorcerer must spend a blood point to return the deed, at which point the corpse becomes an unthinking sentry retaining the same statistics, but none of the freedom of thought or capability to use Disciplines.
Attributes: Strength 6, Dexterity 4, Stamina 6, Charisma 1, Manipulation 1, Appearance 0, Perception 3, Intelligence 1, Wits 2
Abilities: Alertness 3, Athletics 3, Brawl 3, Intimidation 4, Leadership 1, Melee 3, Stealth 3, Survival 2, Occult 2, Theology 1
Disciplines: Fortitude 2, Potence 2
Notes: These are the default statistics for the Proto-Bane Mummy, before additional successes are translated to additional points. These monsters commonly have a reserve of ten blood points, and crumble to dust after using them. They can acquire further blood through eating a vampire or mortal’s flesh. Storytellers may augment statistics appropriate for the deed imbued in the corpse. Proto-Bane Mummies can soak all but aggravated damage.
The Revelations of Eden
Cainites know the Followers of Set for their duplicity and prowess in manipulation. Few warrant this reputation more than the Decadents of Constantinople, otherwise known as the Children of Judas. Referred to as heretics by the Hierophants, the Children of Judas are suspected to be the next targets for elimination once the Theophidian Witches’ fall is complete.
Despite opposed ideologies, it’s perhaps their shared desperation forcing the Witches of Echidna to provide fleeting tutelage to the Decadents. Khay’tall’s faction never requested their aid, but welcomed it before his destruction; his Setite followers have picked up the reins of the Revelations of Eden in the wake of the Witches’ departure.
A simple Path at its core, the Revelations of Eden break down the will and faith of a victim, allowing room for the Serpent of Eden, Sutekh, or whichever god the sorcerer chooses to take its place. The ultimate corruption found in Path comes with most victims’ willing submission to its powers. Like Presence, this Discipline generates a feeling of contentment and desire in its subjects.
System: One success is enough to erode a victim’s temporary Willpower. Every additional success removes a further point of temporary Willpower, with higher ratings in the Path bestowing additional effects on the victim. These effects are not cumulative. The victim may attempt to resist the effects of the Discipline with a Willpower roll (difficulty 6). A botch by the sorcerer grants the victim a recovery of all temporary Willpower. A botch by the victim forces the loss of one point of Conscience/Conviction. This power cannot be resisted by using temporary Willpower. Losses noted as permanent can only be recovered via the torpor or Final Death of the Setite sorcerer responsible.
• Remove one point of temporary Willpower from the victim, and one dot from her Willpower rating.
•• From the victim remove one point of temporary Willpower, and one dot from her Road rating.
••• From the victim remove one point of temporary Willpower, and one dot from her Self-Control/ Instinct.
•••• From the victim remove one point of temporary Willpower, and choose her new Demeanor.
••••• From the victim remove one point of temporary Willpower, and choose her new Nature.
The Revelations of Midgard
The story of Arnulf “Jörmungandrsson” is infamous among Setites. A Norse merchant turned cultist, ghoul, and ultimately a vampire, Jörmungandrsson was Embraced in Egypt with great pomp and ceremony. His return to the Kingdom of Norway was predicted by the Witches of Echidna to spawn a new front in Typhon’s battle against the Aeons. Instead, Jörmungandrsson formed a new cult dedicated to the Midgard Serpent as an aspect of Apep; antithetical to the majority of Setites, but far enough away to not be immediately destroyed by the Theophidians. The Jörmungandrsson imbroglio is a sore point among Orthodox Setites, who swiftly erased record of Arnulf’s Embrace, but could do little to remove the widespread word of the prodigal son who abandoned his clan.
For centuries the Hall operated its cults in pleasurable isolation from other members of their clan, their philosophers following a version of the Path of Apep they call the Path of Jörmungandr. In recent years, members of the cult traveled beyond Scania and encountered the Witches of Echidna in the Courts of Love and Fiefdoms of the Black Cross, suffering persecution from the clan’s Orthodoxy. In solidarity, the Hall granted the Witches alms, and in turn were taught the principles of a sorcery they call The Revelations of Midgard. The Gorgons were impressed by the Hall’s devotions to its cultists, seeing in the Norse vampires a devotion to family once shared by the Setites of the Nile.
The Revelations of Midgard allow members of the Hall of Jörmungandr to draw on their inner faith, and with it bolster their ghouls, beasts, and mortal servants. While their faith is inarguably debased, the powers gifted to them by the Gorgons reinforce followers’ devotion to the cult.
• Bestowment of Scales
Perhaps more than any clan, the Followers of Set value the worth of their cultists. Many see little difference between the status of a mortal, ghoul, or vampire, in service to their god. This is a belief permeating the clan in all its varied forms.
For the love of their cultists, practitioners of Bestowment of Scales may absorb harm dealt to their favored servants, who gain patches of serpent scales on the flesh that would have otherwise been harmed. These scales never disappear, evidencing the grace of Set and the Midgard Serpent.
System: Bestowment of Scales affects any living creature or ghoul from whom the Cainite has fed, no matter the distance. When such a cultist incurs harm, the sorcerer can reflexively apply her undead endurance to the cultist’s body, the damage being transferred to the vampire. The Cainite can soak this damage in the normal way, though any damage not soaked by the vampire is suffered by the cultist.
The cultist develops scales in the place they would have suffered harm. Depending on the location, this can reduce the cultist’s Appearance rating, though Setites acknowledge the deformity as a blessing. A botch on this power allows the vampire to absorb the damage, but prevents her from soaking any of it.
•• Suffer for Jormungandr
Above all else, the Followers of Set are a clan of faith. Belief inspires its bearers with the ability to perform great deeds, both noble and destructive. The Hall of Jörmungandr teaches all its cultists to suffer for their beliefs; with sacrifice comes reward. Those who give of themselves for faith will surely receive spiritual recompense. Vampires who use Suffer for Jörmungandr put this belief to the test, as for their own survival, they bestow heinous wounds on their cultists. The cultists suffering in this way gain serpentine features — a narrowing of eyes, flattening of a nose, webbed fingers, and loss of hair.
System: When a Cainite schooled in Suffer for Jörmungandr receives physical harm, she may apply that harm to a mortal servant from whom she has taken blood, and to whom she has given vitae. The cultist must be within eyeshot of the sorcerer. Suffer for Jörmungandr is activated reflexively unless the vampire chooses not to use it. For each success accrued beyond the first, the vampire may inflict an additional level of the damage that she has incurred on her chosen cultist.
Damage acquired in a single turn may not be distributed among multiple cultists, and any damage exceeding the cultist’s health track will return to the vampire to soak or incur. The manifestation of this power reduces the cultist’s Appearance rating gradually, at Storyteller discretion. A botch on the roll for this power still transfers all damage to a cultist, but each point is converted to aggravated if it’s not already so.
••• Swallow the Tail
The Hall of Jörmungandr believes in the pre-eminence of the Midgard Serpent, fated to ingest its own tail until it rears and devours the world. This strange power’s symbolically similar to the myth, allowing the vampire to replenish any blood spilt in battle. Whether pouring from a lesion, staining clothes, or pooled on the ground — sorcerers are able to draw the blood to them in dancing rivulets. Setites are known to take grievous injuries, their vitae scattering around them, before locking their foes in a hypnotic gaze as the blood upon the earth crawls its way back into their mouths like tiny snakes. Any cultists in the presence of the Setite practicing this Discipline find the blood in their veins bulging to escape. It does not, but forever after the cultists bear snakelike blood vessels prominently marking their skin.
System: This power is always activated as the final action of a turn, after Celerity actions. Blood within eyeshot of the vampire slithers towards her, taking a turn to reach her mouth and replenish lost blood points. It is the Storyteller’s discretion how many blood points are in the surrounding area, but each success rolled allows one blood point to slink towards the sorcerer. On a botch, the power forces the vampire to disgorge ten blood points minus her Road rating. This power cannot be used to drain blood from a living or undead vessel.
•••• Cycle of the Midgard Serpent
The Hall of Jörmungandr places family upon a high pedestal. Sorcerers know the importance of mortals and ghouls; cultists sustain their efforts. As they drain blood from the kine, the sorcerers return terrible, poignant gifts to the cult as proof of their god’s pleasure. Setites who learn Cycle of the Midgard Serpent impose one of the greatest gifts of blood magic possible on their cultists — the ability to draw on their masters’ Disciplines. Cycle of the Midgard Serpent allows sorcerers to vicariously act through their followers, though they have no control over how their cultists use the powers imparted.
System: A Setite using this power may impart points in Disciplines to a ghoul who’s consumed at least one point of her blood. The number of Discipline points bestowed is equal to the number of successes rolled. The power remains until the sun next sets. Some powers are dangerous or actually self-destructive if a mortal uses them. The Storyteller has the final ruling on whether a ghoul can use a given Discipline.
For the purposes of Disciplines that require the expenditure of blood points to activate, the ghoul possesses an equal number of blood points to those consumed from the regnant on the night the power is activated. A botch on this roll results in the ghoul gaining the points in Disciplines until the next sunset, but the blood bond to his domitor breaks. The breaking of this bond is not known to the vampire.
••••• Apep’s Transformation
To some carrying Set’s blood, their epithet as Followers of Set is inaccurate. The Witches of Echidna did, in recent years, come to the suspicion that while their founder may be a monstrous demigod of capricious and devastating power, the name Set is incorrect. Whatever their founder was, it posed as Set, Typhon, Apep, and even the Midgard Serpent in efforts to achieve worship and slavish adherents. Something in the blood of this Mother of Monsters manifests through Setites using high levels of Serpentis to change form. Apep’s Transfiguration allows a Setite to inflict this change — one the Gorgons claim is Set’s true form — on a loyal follower. The change is wracking, and painful, but the glorious physique achieved quickly converts or consumes non-believers.
System: This power only affects a mortal or ghoul cultist who’s imbibed the blood of the vampire sorcerer. On a successful roll, the cultist’s body spends ten turns — minus the number of successes rolled — contorting and shifting into a limbless serpent, its arms and legs sloughing off as an amalgamation of dead skin, tissue, and bone. The Apep cultist bulges into a serpent form approximately the size of a destrier. It cannot speak, but can understand its creator’s language. The change into an Apep cultist is permanent. The serpent remains loyal to the vampire as a bestial ghoul, still requiring regular doses of vitae. Any Revelations of Midgard powers usable on followers remain usable on the Apep cultist. A botch on the roll to perform this power kills the cultist and provokes a frenzy test for the sorcerer, as she’s presented with a humiliating failure of faith. The Apep cultist has the following statistics:
Attributes: Strength 5, Dexterity 5, Stamina 4, Charisma 3, Manipulation 1, Appearance 1, Perception 3, Intelligence 2, Wits 3
Abilities: Alertness 4, Athletics 4, Brawl 5, Intimidation 5, Performance 3, Stealth 4, Survival 3, Theology 3
Disciplines: Fortitude 1, Potence 2, Presence 2
Notes: The Apep cultist commonly has a reserve of ten blood points, and sinks into a torpid state without blood. They can acquire further blood through drinking from a victim. Apep cultists can soak all but aggravated damage. Its bite attack uses eight dice (Strength + 3).
The Flow of Ashe
The Flow of Ashe is unusual even among sorcery Paths in that it does not cost blood to use. Indeed, its purpose is to prevent the wangateur from requiring the use of vitae in other contexts. Derived from Yoruban herbalism, the Flow of Ashe may more accurately be described as a series of rituals which must be learned sequentially. Each ritual produces an herbal mixture which, if used properly, can take the place of blood under different circumstances.
The Willpower roll is made when the blood point would normally be spent. If it fails, the vampire loses two points of blood instead of the one he would have spent had he skipped the ritual altogether. Normally, the ingredients must be mixed and then the mixture used on the next turn, but Gift of Ashe overcomes that limitation. More importantly, if circumstances allow for it, many of these mixtures may even be used on others besides the wangateur.
• Touch of Life
The wangateur may ingest a special mixture of herbs and powders in lieu of expending blood when trying to imitate the characteristics of the living. The effect lasts for one scene. The wangateur may ingest this mixture for himself or provide it to another Kindred (but not a mortal) who must swallow the mixture during that scene.
In the latter case, the wangateur decides which aspect of the living the other Kindred will imitated.
•• Strength of Root and Stone
The wangateur may inhale a mixture of herbs and powders through the nose instead of expending blood when trying to augment a Physical Attribute. The effect is the same as if the vampire had spent one point of blood to improve a Physical Attribute. The effect lasts for one scene. The wangateur may use this mixture himself or provide it for another (including a mortal). If it is to be used by another, the wangateur decides which Attribute is to be augmented when the mixture is prepared.
••• Breath of Life
The wangateur may use a mixture of herbs and powders in place of blood when trying to heal herself. The specific mixture produces a paste which the wangateur must physically smear on the area to be healed. The effect is the same as if the vampire had spent one point of blood to repair physical damage. This power cannot be used to heal aggravated damage, only bashing or lethal. The wangateur may use this mixture for himself or for another (including a mortal).
•••• Favor of the Orishas
The wangateur may use a mixture of herbs and powders in order to fuel any Discipline (including blood magic) that requires exactly one point of blood to function. This formula also requires a small quantity of blood to function, but it need not come from the wangateur and, in fact, can come from an enemy (human or Kindred) who has shed blood nearby. The wangateur may only use this mixture on herself and must make a superficial cut on her arm and then rub the mixture into the open wound.
••••• Gift of Ashe
The wangateur may now create mixtures using the first three levels of this path which will maintain their efficacy for an entire night rather than just one turn or scene. Furthermore, the wangateur can maintain a number of mixtures up to his Intelligence simultaneously. Thus, he can provide the mixtures to allies and no longer needs to be nearby in order to provide the appropriate benefits — he can simply give the mixture to an ally and send her on her way.
The Path of Praapti
Praapti is the power of instantaneous travel. The Indian Sadhana practitioners developed this Path to match their mysterious Asian rivals, who have the power to travel instantly along lines of mystical force. Later, turncoat sadhus sold the secret of this Path to the Tremere, who reverse-engineered it into what they call the Path of Mercury. A handful of New Age Anarchs have also stumbled onto the secret of this path, which they simply call Teleportation.
Individual levels of this Path do not have distinct effects. Instead, a higher mastery simply indicates a farther distance that can be traveled. Ideally, the sorcerer must be able to see the target location or know it intimately. Failure on a roll to activate this path means that nothing happens at all, but botches are more problematic. If the target location is within sight or is very near (the other side of a wall, for example), a botch causes the character the usual catastrophic problems for blood magic. If the sorcerer attempts a blind teleport, however, botches are much more dangerous. Typically, the sorcerer finds himself merged with a solid object, suffering one level of aggravated damage per “1” rolled. Three or more levels of damage also means that the sorcerer is stuck inside a large object such as a wall or the ground, and may not be able to break free. Fortitude soaks this damage as normal but will not help a character who materializes six feet underground. Familiarity with the target location of a blind teleport affects the difficulty of the roll as follows.
Familiarity Difficulty Modifier
Intimate (one’s own haven) -1
Visited regularly +0
Unseen but understood (such as the other side of this wall) +0
Unfamiliar (visited a few times) +1
Very unfamiliar (a known location) +2
• Teleport up to 10 yards/meters.
•• ... up to 50 yards/meters.
••• ... up to 500 yards/meters.
•••• ... up to 5 miles/8 kilometers.
••••• …up to 500 miles/800 kilometers.
Teleportation is rarely exact. Every “1” rolled on a successful roll throws the sorcerer off by 10% of the total destination. The number of successes rolled determines what can be conveyed. A single success allows for the teleportation of the sorcerer’s nude body.
Each additional success allows for the conveyance of an additional twenty pounds. If the successes rolled are not enough to encompass what the sorcerer seeks to carry, the Storyteller decides what is left behind.
The Power of Blood Nectar
Amrita is the nectar of divinity, the elixir of immortality, co-opted by the asuras after being created with the aid of the devas. The Danava alternately believe Blood Nectar to be a distillation of amrita or a crude replacement, depending on which side of the bloodline tells the story. Whatever the genesis of the power, Blood Nectar allows a sadhu to grant a mortal, ghoul, or vampire a measure of their supernatural might along with their vitae.
System: Each level of Blood Nectar allows the sadhu to confer one level of a Discipline or blood magic Path to a recipient, be it vampire or ghoul. These levels may be used for a single Discipline or split among different Disciplines, however the sadhu prefers, though the sadhu cannot confer a level of a Discipline they do not know.
Blood Nectar may only confer certain Disciplines: Animalism, Auspex, Chimerstry, Fortitude, Potence, and Sadhana. Blood Nectar is an exception to this, and cannot be itself conferred upon another.
The sadhu spends one blood point and one minute in concentration per level of nectar created (three blood points and three minutes for a third-level potion, for example). At the end of this meditative period, the sadhu must offer a recipient a draught straight from their veins, a sweet and thick potion of vitae. The drinker of the blood nectar generated by the sadhu receives both the vitae used to make the nectar, carrying with it all the normal effects of a vitae transfusion, and the power to use the Discipline itself as if the recipient had learned it themselves. The power of blood nectar lasts for an evening, fading upon the dawn.
The Power of Karma
We are trapped in samsara, the cycle of reincarnation, though the power of karma. Every deed is weighed, demanding equal compensation. Good karma ensures favorable reincarnation in the next life; bad karma ensures our lives will worsen until we are animals, or worse, insects. Both the Ravnos and the Danava believe Cainites are paradoxically a part of and separate from the cycle of rebirth — but while the rakshashas hold that Cainites have lost their path, a sadhu believes their separation allows them to grasp the wheel and turn it in accordance with their karma.
• Threads of the Past
The weave of the world becomes clear with sufficient scrutiny. The first siddhi of the path reveals the most recent steps on samsara’s wheel — what has brought the target close to the sadhu’s own steps this night.
System: Unlike most blood sorceries, this power does not require the expenditure of a blood point. The player rolls Perception + Theology, difficulty 5. Each success on the roll grants the sadhu one glimpse of an important event in the target’s past, a brief impression of what brings them to this place tonight. Generally, this is either the most important formative event in their lives, or the most direct reason for the target to be in the area. Cainites targeted with this power always have the Embrace as their most formative unlife event, giving the sadhu a glimpse of the intimate transmission of the Curse. Threads of the Past also reveals the target’s name.
•• Weave of the Future
The turning of the wheel reveals all. A sadhu cannot know what will befall a community, a continent, or the world entire…but she can know what will befall a single man, and that is enough for many treading the Path.
System: After spending a blood point, the player again rolls Perception + Theology, difficulty 5. Each success allows the sadhu’s player to ask the Storyteller one yes or no question about the subject’s future. “Will the merchant see his daughter again?” is a valid question, but “When will the merchant see his daughter again?” is not. The Storyteller should take the nature of the story and the circumstances of the sadhu player’s question into account, answering with a clear, “Yes,” “No,” or, “Irrelevant.”
••• Certain Fate
Samsara ultimately means wandering, but few wander far from the path they are set upon earlier in life. The turn of the wheel is obvious to a sadhu, who has already learned how to read where a subject’s life or unlife will take them. Now, she may allow herself to see where upon the wheel the target will fall next.
System: Each success informs the sadhu of a certain relevant fact of the individual they are scrutinizing, and how that fact plays out into some part of the individual’s future (for example, “His gambling problem will lead him to the secret dice games played in the market.”) For three or more successes, the sadhu is informed of the most likely manner of the subject’s death and whether or not the subject is destined to become a Cainite, ghost, or one of the Wan Kuei.
•••• Past Lives
Sadhus know they have stepped off the wheel of reincarnation temporarily, yet they are still very much a part of the cycle of karma. With a master’s practiced hand, they may turn the wheel back, however briefly, to taste of lives past and bring their hard-won experience to bear in the present.
System: Each success rolled by the sadhu’s player allows them to gain one dot in any Ability or dot in the Language Merit, up to a limit of three dots gained (other Abilities may be chosen with excess successes). Knowledges chosen generally reflect those known during other times. The sadhu may briefly assume personality tics, speech patterns, even other languages (even without choosing the Merit, a sadhu may briefly lapse into patois).
••••• Master of Samsara
The master of samsara commands the wheel of rebirth, understanding karma as the gods do. Moreover, a master sadhu gains the ability to influence this wheel, apportioning cosmic power and prestige according to their whim.
System: All applications of the power require five successes (at difficulty 8,) or the expenditure of a single permanent Willpower point. Once expended, however, the player may choose from any of the following effects:
- Ordain one fact about a person’s future; this effectively grants them the Dark Fate Flaw at no benefit. It could grant a more esoteric Merit like True Love, but it is rare for a sadhu to be so benevolent.
- Preordain that the target becomes a wraith or a Wan Kuei upon death.
- Transform a mortal’s mind, briefly, into who they were in a past life. This grants them the equivalent of the Past Lives Sadhana power, above, lasting a week. Their “current” life is only a dim, dreamy memory. Cainites targeted by this power do not assume the mind of a past life; they are instead transformed briefly into their human selves, with their time spent as vampires effectively a haze. This transformation affects their body as well, setting the Curse into abeyance. This only lasts until the next sunset, however.
- Set the circumstances of the target’s next incarnation, including the sadhu’s own. Most elder sadhu use this to craft the lives and unlives of favored servants-to-be, and take a cavalier attitude towards the prospect of Final Death, having already crafted an elegant and important incarnation to come.
Dark Thaumaturgy Paths
The Fires of the Inferno
Practitioners of the Fires of the Inferno may summon forth balefire that springs forth from her hands in jets or globes. Many believe that this malignant green flame is conjured from the very depths of Hades. Being burned by these fires is to taste the agonies that await them in Hell. Witnessing the conjuring of the Fires of Inferno allows anyone with mystical senses to know the source is infernal. Balefire is greatly feared, as fire is one of the surest ways to bring Final Death to a vampire.
System: The number of successes determines how accurately the vampire places the flame in his desired location (declared before the roll is made). Individual descriptions are not provided for each level of this path — fire is fire, after all (and can potentially cause frenzy in other vampires witnessing it). The chart below describes the path level required to generate a specific amount of flame. To soak the damage at all, a vampire must have the Fortitude Discipline.
Fire under the caster’s control does not harm the vampire or cause him to frenzy, but fires started as a result of the unnatural flame affect the thaumaturge normally.
• Lighter (difficulty 3 to soak, one health level of damage/turn)
•• Stovetop (difficulty 4 to soak, two health levels of damage/turn)
••• Blowtorch (difficulty 5 to soak, three health levels of damage/turn)
•••• Flame-thrower (difficulty 7 to soak, four health levels of damage/turn)
••••• Conflagration (difficulty 9 to soak, five health levels of damage/turn)
Die Heriroschaft des Wyrm (Tyranny of the Wyrm)
You ask me what people are more likely to be diabolists and murderers. I assure you; anyone can be a diabolist and a murderer. — Harold the Zettler, Malkavian engraver, and scholar of Banes
Die Heriroschaft des Wyrm is a recent Path (as of 1291), first practiced by a line of Malkavian thaumaturgists in the region of Hesse, within the Fiefdoms of the Black Cross. Said to be mentored by babbling demons in service to a three-headed dragon, the neophyte blood magicians soon embraced infernalism with aims of overtaking the embryonic Tremere, and assisting Salubri allies in their retribution against the Usurpers.
Tragically, the price of dealing with the unholy soon swept the Malkavians away from their intended course.
A Malkavian engraver, or “zettler,” as called by the native people of Hesse, betrayed his entire bloodline in sacrifice to the dragon. In exchange he gained full knowledge of the Tyranny of the Wyrm, and gifts allowing him powers beyond his neonate years. The zettler’s recent disappearance, and other Cainites’ subsequent discovery of his perfectly preserved scrolls detailing the Path, has led to a boutade of intrepid infernalists arising in the area.
Price: Like the Clan responsible for its creation, Die Heriroschaft des Wyrm is unstable. Should a victim realize he’s being affected through forewarning or evidence of the infernalist’s intent, he may make a Wits + Occult roll (difficulty equal to the infernalist’s permanent Willpower, requiring as many successes as the infernalist has points in Dark Thaumaturgy). His success causes the power’s effects to rebound onto the infernalist. A botch on any Die Heriroschaft des Wyrm roll also causes the effects to afflict the infernalist.
A blessing from someone with True Faith will remove any ill effects caused by this Discipline. The infernalist’s death does not remove these effects, as in her stead, demons will perpetuate the various curses and pains.
• Malfean Infection
Through use of Malfean Infection, the infernalist desecrates a holy individual, eroding his True Faith without the victim even knowing the power is taking effect.
System: The infernalist must know the name of her target, and paint an eye on her palm in vitae. For each success on the Discipline use, the victim loses any powers associated with his True Faith for a number of nights:
1 success One night
2 successes Three nights
3 successes One week
4 successes One month
5 successes One year
6 successes+ Permanent (or until removed via a blessing)
If reflected back on the infernalist due to a botched roll or the victim successfully combating the effect with a Wits + Occult roll, the Malfean Infection prevents Dark Thaumaturgy’s use for a number of nights corresponding to the number of successes, as stated above. This limitation can be removed through a new subservient deal with a demon.
•• Bane to the Soul
The Malkavians who forged Die Heriroschaft des Wyrm communed with spiritual demons called “Banes,” which they successfully discovered could be summoned and attached to the souls of their enemies. By grafting a Bane onto a foe, they discovered the victim would be inclined to act on all her worst impulses.
System: The infernalist must hold an item or article once touched by her target, and drip vitae upon it. A demonic Bane will attach to the target’s soul on a success, increasing the difficulty of Virtue tests by +2 (to a maximum of 9). Each success determines how long the Bane remains:
1 success One night
2 successes Three nights
3 successes One week
4 successes One month
5 successes One year
6 sucessess + Permanet (or until removed via a blessing)
••• Dissonant Miserere
Through chanting, incantation, and inspired clack, the infernalist penetrates her victim’s mind with the endless toiling noise of her ravings. The cacophony of a Dissonant Miserere persists night after night, planting a seed in the victim’s mind that sanctuary may only be found by calling upon a demon of madness, who might remove the babble. The power acts as a doorway for such a demon, waiting to strike when the victim is at his weakest. The victim must beg for the demon to step through in order for this to happen.
System: The infernalist must possess a piece of the victim’s skin, hair, or a nail, and soak it in vitae. The Wyrm’s screaming mouths enter the victim’s mind, increasing the difficulty of all Willpower tests and any test requiring concentration by one point per success rolled (to a maximum of difficulty 9), and removes a temporary Willpower point from the victim each night it remains.
The effect is permanent, until the victim receives a blessing or calls upon a madness demon to relieve him of this pain. If the latter occurs, the demon — a shrieking creature without tangible form — will offer the victim a reprieve in exchange for a service. The nature of this service depends on how weak-willed the demon believes the victim is at this point (and is determined by the Storyteller), but typical requests include the murder of an innocent, the divestment of all worldly goods, or a sacrifice of vitae to the infernalist.
•••• Feed the Wyrm
By drinking the blood of his victim, the infernalist creates a sympathetic link between his demonic masters and the targeted vampire. This link causes agony, and sometimes even death, as the infernalist’s magic twists and mutates the victim’s body. A reprieve is only available if the sufferer agrees to serve the Wyrm with foul future deeds.
System: The infernalist must possess a portion (one blood point) of the victim’s blood, mix his vitae with it, and drink the concoction. This may form a blood bond, if the blood is that of another vampire. Once the blood is swallowed, a successful roll inflicts one level of aggravated damage per success. This damage may be soaked with Fortitude. The victim’s body contorts with pain and manifests inhuman growths, reducing her Appearance rating by two dots. The Appearance loss is cumulative if this power is used more than once.
The victim may only recover her Appearance rating by agreeing to serve the Wyrm. If she does so, an urge demon of vanity appears in a reflective surface and demands a sacrifice, the severity of which is determined by how great a loss of beauty has occurred. Sacrifices may entail ripping the smile from a newborn’s face, slaying a dozen virgins, or the victim allowing a Maeljin to permanently inhabit her soul.
••••• House the Maeljin
According to the Malkavian thaumaturgists who founded this Path, the Maeljin are among the most powerful and wise of demons. These incarnations of vice, filth, and immorality are masters of Banes and extra-dimensional demigods.
House the Maeljin allows the infernalist to play host to one of the Maeljin, at the expense of a dire sacrifice. The power benefits for hosting a Maeljin are numerous. The moral toll it takes is immense.
System: The infernalist must murder a mortal or vampire with whom they hold a close relationship. If the victim is a vampire, the infernalist must perform diablerie on his prey. A successful roll manifests one of the Maeljin in the body of the infernalist.
Each success determines how long the Maeljin remains:
1 success One scene
2 successes One night
3 successes Two nights
4 successes Four nights
5 successes One week
6 successes+ Permanent (or until removed via a blessing)
If the Maeljin remains permanently, the vampire runs the risk of losing all control to the demon inside them. It then becomes a race to achieve purification before the Maeljin can exert absolute dominance.
The natures of the various Maeljin differ. As beings of elemental unholiness, they represent abstract sins, such as shame, loss, anger, and a multitude of further intangible concepts. Maeljin all empower their host with six points to spread among Attributes (no Attribute may gain more than two), six points to spread among Abilities, and six points to spread among Disciplines (no Discipline may gain more than two). The Storyteller decides where these points are allocated on the character sheet.
As examples of how a possessing Maeljin may empower its host, a Maeljin of Lust might allocate six points across Social Attributes, place three points in Performance and another three in Expression, with two points going to Presence, two more to Dominate, and the final two on Daimonion. A Maeljin of Lies may allocate two points to Manipulation, two to Intelligence, and two to Dexterity, with six points spread among coercive Abilities. The final six might be allocated to Obfuscate, Presence, and Chimerstry.
An inhabiting Maeljin allows its host to practice the powers it has bestowed freely. It wants the host empowered and terrible. However, occasionally it will attempt to sway or outright control its host into acting in ways favorable to its alien agenda. In such cases, the vampire must make an Instinct/Self-Control roll (difficulty 8) to not act in the way the Maeljin wishes. The Storyteller determines the Maeljin’s wishes. It may attempt to exert control once a night.
As the Maeljin approaches the conclusion of its inhabitation, it seeks to consume the host by driving him into an act of self-destruction. The Maeljin can only attempt this once, but to resist throwing himself onto a pyre, greeting the sun, or walking into a sanctified building, the vampire must succeed on a Courage roll (difficulty 9). If his coterie attempts to restrain him, he immediately falls to frenzy. The Maeljin will depart peacefully if unsuccessful in its attempt to claim the entire soul of its host.
The Path of Phobos
Infernalists know the power of fear and the leverage of desperation. Practitioners of this path mystically tap into the depths of their victims’ psyches, prying the terrors from their minds and making them appear real. Sophisticated Sabbat infernalists prefer this path, as they enjoy the sublime effects of using the subjects’ own fears against them rather than vulgar, brutal displays of fire and demonic servants.
Infernalists that inflict nightmares upon others risk consuming the horrible memories that have leached from their victims, only to relive them later. Storytellers should force a Manipulation + Empathy roll (difficulty 7) on any character that utilizes the Path of Phobos more than once in a given story.
Each evening while reliving the nightmares of her victims, she will wake soaked with blood; effectively costing an extra point of blood to wake due to the lack of sound sleep. Such is the price of hellish insight. The number of successes indicates how long the character must cope with the sea of stolen terrors rampaging in her mind.
1 Success One Week
2 Successes Five Days
3 Successes Four Days
4 Successes Two Days
5 Successes One Day
• Induce Fear
The infernalist harnesses the power of Hell to twist the mind of her victim, leaving her to feel paranoid. Subtle shapes and shadows shimmer at the edge of the victim’s vision, tormenting her by lurking just beyond her range of sight.
System: The infernalist may target any subject within her line of sight. She must concentrate, gesture towards the victim, and chant the proper invocation to Hell. Should she succeed, the victim becomes noticeably upset and preoccupied, which should be role-played. To resist, the victim must make a Courage roll (difficulty 4 + the number of successes achieved on the activation roll, to a maximum of 9) to take any action other than looking for the imagined stalker.
All of the victim’s dice pools for the duration of this power are automatically reduced by one. The duration of this power is limited by the number of successes achieved on the activation role:
1 Success One Turn
2 Successes Five Turns
3 Successes One Hour
4 Successes One Night
5 Successes Two Nights
This power transforms suspicion to dread, as the flitting shadows become frightening threats. The victim senses something terrible is about to happen to him unless he immediately flees the area. He might imagine she sees the flash of a gun barrel or hears the clicking of hard-soled shoes on the pavement just behind her. He might even believe she smells her pursuer’s sweat or feels his damp breath on the back of her neck.
System: The infernalist must see her victim and whisper a prayer to Hell for this power to work. The nagging sense of discomfort in the back of the character’s mind becomes more tangible. Mortals must make a successful Courage roll (difficulty 7) to keep from fleeing the area in terror. Vampires must make the same roll, but if they fail they enter Rötschreck.
The infernalist can draw out his victim’s fear and present her with it. The victim sees that which terrifies her the most. If she fears spiders, she may imagine spider webs brushing her face and hands as thousands of illusory arachnids scuttle across her flesh. She may hear them skittering across the floor or clicking their horrid chelicerae. To the victim, the effects seem very real, though they are simply illusions and invisible to onlookers.
System: The infernalist must concentrate for a moment and then gesture towards her victim. Should she succeed, the terrorized subject must succeed in a Courage roll (difficulty 7) to shake off her fear in order to act. Otherwise she simply cowers, feebly hiding from her imagined object of terror. Botching this Courage roll results in a derangement, preferably suited to the fear visiting the victim.
The duration of this power is limited by the number of successes achieved on the activation role:
1 Success One Turn
2 Successes Five Turns
3 Successes 30 Minutes
4 Successes One Hour
5 Successes One Night
•••• Fear Plague
The infernalist can now taste her victim’s most deeprooted fear. She can force her subject to plunge deep into this phobia every waking moment. A person afraid of drowning would feel the air thicken and coagulate in his throat and lungs until he cannot take a breath, while a person afraid of vampires may see fanged nemeses in his coworkers or lurking behind every corner. Eventually, the victim becomes so exhausted that he is unable rise and face a new night of swarming horrors.
System: The infernalist must see and then loudly curse her victim for this terrible power to take effect. Once cursed, this power lasts for a week. The victim is constantly harassed by his fear every moment. For the duration of this power, all Willpower rolls are made as though the character’s permanent rating is three lower than normal (to a minimum of 1).
••••• Leech of Fear
This power enables the infernalist to temporarily feed on fear as though it was blood. This experience gives a euphoric high stronger than conventional feeding, but it is a dangerous practice if used too frequently. The infernalist converts the pure emotional charge drawn from the victim’s terror into a mystical substitute for vitae.
System: As long as she has her subject in sight, the infernalist may attempt to gain sustenance from any fear that the victim might be currently suffering. Naturally, the victim must have cause to be afraid of something or someone while the infernalist practices this power. These fears may not be caused by other applications of this path.
The number of successes achieved on the activation roll determines the number of points transmuted into the infernalist’s “fear pool.” Each point in this “fear pool” may be spent exactly like a blood point, beyond normal Generation limits. However, this extra source of power must be utilized before sunrise or it will disappear.
In addition to the lost Willpower point, a botch means that the infernalist gets no “fear pool” from the victim, and cannot use the power on that victim again for 24 hours.
Rego Calatio (Rule of Summoning)
God punishes us for everything. Open yourself, and let the devil inside! — Ahab the Traitor, infernalist Salubri of the wilds
The formation of the Rego Calatio dates back to an era before records were scribed in ink. The creators of this Path are unknown and unnamed, their researches engraved in stone or daubed in blood on hides and bones. The Path is dedicated to the summoning and binding of demons. In recent centuries, these demons have begun to appear in forms expected and feared by mortals, manifesting as caricatures of greed, lust, sloth, and wrath. In times past, they were as likely to appear as pillars of roiling smoke, the weeping of children, or the stench of rot. The demons contacted by Rego Calatio are not bound to any set form, and may appear however they wish.
Summoners of demons are daring. Demons know that by appearing physically, they are weakened, but can easily dominate and destroy summoners lacking sufficient wherewithal to control them. Many demons are pleased to serve under magical binding, as they’re likely to be asked to perpetrate something they’d do if free anyway; but most demons will resist attempts at control on principle. A demon summoned by Rego Calatio remains on Earth until the sun rises, or it hears church bells.
Price: The unholy nature of Rego Calatio is such that any area in which it’s practiced becomes spoiled; the people become sick, and the livestock malformed. Use of Rego Calatio produces a necromantic sequela based on its level.
The practitioner suffers horrific nightmares across a number of nights equal to the successes rolled in summoning. These nightmares force the infernalist to lose two blood points upon waking, instead of the normal one, and a Willpower roll is required (difficulty 7), otherwise two temporary Willpower are also lost. A botch on this roll causes an appropriate Derangement to wrack the infernalist for twice the duration of her summoning-induced nightmares.
System: Each level of this Discipline requires the sacrifice of another being’s life, the majority of demons requiring the death of an innocent in a circle of bloodied bones. If a named demon is being summoned, their name must be painted in the summoner’s vitae on a rock in the center of the circle. The infernalist must expend Willpower points equal to the level of Rego Calatio activated, otherwise the summoned demon is free and will either ignore or attack its summoner.
Demons can soak all types of damage with their Stamina, unless that damage is caused by someone with True Faith.
• Petty Demon (Attributes 4/3/2, Abilities 3/2/1, Willpower 3, Health 4)
•• Madness Demon (Attributes 5/4/3, Abilities 4/3/2, Willpower 4, Health 6, Blood Points 5, two points of Disciplines, one of which must be Dementation)
••• Passion Demon (Attributes 6/5/4, Abilities 5/4/3, Willpower 6, Health 7, Blood Points 6, four points of Disciplines, two of which must be Presence)
•••• Murderous Demon (Attributes 7/6/5, Abilities 6/5/4, Willpower 7, Health 8, Blood Points 7, six points of Disciplines, three of which must be Potence)
••••• Named Demon (Attributes 8/7/6, Abilities 7/6/5, Willpower 9, Health 10, Blood Points 10, eight points of Disciplines, allocated wherever the infernalist chooses with a maximum of six points in a single Discipline)
The number of successes rolled determines how much control the infernalist has over his summoned demon:
1 success The demon is bound to the circle for a night, and will only listen to the infernalist.
2 successes The demon is bound to the circle for a night, and will listen to anyone in its proximity, answering simple questions.
3 successes The demon is bound to remaining within eyeshot of the infernalist for a night. It is well disposed and will answer complicated questions accurately.
4 successes The demon is bound to remaining within eyeshot of the infernalist for a night. It is forced to serve the infernalist in simple tasks.
5 successes The demon is able to leave the infernalist’s sight and do his dark bidding. It willingly submits to the infernalist’s decrees for the night’s duration.
6 successes+ A demon one grade higher than intended is summoned, and treated as if summoned with 4 successes. The maximum grade is the Named Demon.
Failure The summoning does not occur. It may be retried with a new sacrifice.
The Taking of the Spirit
By calling upon the power of Hell, this path allows the infernalist to strip away the temporary Willpower of her victim, leaving an almost soulless automaton ready to serve the infernalist without question. Some fiendish vampires have built entire legions of servants for themselves with this power. This fearsome path works on vampires and kine alike.
System: The infernalist loudly calls forth the legions of Hell to steal away the spirit of her target and then touches her target. Depending upon the circumstances, the Storyteller may require a successful Dexterity + Brawl roll for the thaumaturge to make contact with the intended victim.
Once contact is made, the infernalist must engage in a contested Willpower roll against the subject (difficulty 8). If the victim accumulates more successes on this contested Willpower roll before being reduced to zero Willpower, he resists the powers of Hell. In addition, the suffering he endured hardens his mind, and this infernal path may not be used against him again a full year.
If the victim is reduced to zero Willpower, he must do the vampire’s bidding, not speaking, staring blankly forward, in a state much like a zombie until he has regained one dot of Willpower, as per the chart below. If the infernalist is killed, the victim regains all of his lost Willpower immediately.
A botch on the part of the infernalist has unique results: He loses a number of temporary Willpower points that corresponds with his mastery of said path. These Willpower points return at a rate of one per night. If all points are lost, he may come under the control of otherworldly forces.
The Willpower siphoned by this power returns at a rate determined by the infernalist’s rating in the path:
• Return of 3 Willpower points per day’s rest
•• Return of 2 Willpower points per day’s rest
••• Return of 1 Willpower point per day’s rest
•••• Return of 1 Willpower point per week’s rest
••••• Return of 1 Willpower point per two week’s rest