This power allows a necromancer to stare into the eyes of a corpse and see reflected there the last thing the dead man witnessed. The vision appears only in the eyes of the cadaver and is visible to no one except the necromancer using Insight.
System: This power requires a roll of Perception + Occult (difficulty 8 for formerly living creatures, 10 for unliving ones such as vampires) as the vampire stares into the target's eyes. The number of successes on the roll determines the clarity of the vision; a botch shows the necromancer his own Final Death, which can induce Rotschreck.
This power cannot be used on the corpses of vampires who have reached Golconda, or those whom advanced decomposition has already set in.
1 success A basic sense of the subject's death.
2 successes A clear image of the subject's death and the seconds preceding it.
3 successes A clear image, with sound, of the minutes preceding death.
4 successes A clear image, with sound, of the half-hour before the subject's death.
5 successes Full sensory perception of the hour leading up to the target's death.
•• Summon Soul
The power of Summon Soul allows a necromancer to call a ghost back from the Underworld, though for conversation purposes only. In order to perform this feat, the Giovanni must meet certain conditions:
The necromancer must know the name of the wraith in question, though an image of the wraith obtained via Psychometry will suffice.
An object with which the wraith has some contact with in life must be in the vicinity. If the object is something of great importance to the ghost, the chances for success in the summoning increase dramatically (-2 difficulty). Note: This bonus applies for all powers on the Sepulchre Path.
Certain types of ghosts cannot be summoned with this power. Vampires who achieved Golconda before their Final Deaths, or who were diablerized, are beyond the reach of this summons. Likewise, many ghosts (i.e. the infernal - those who have made pacts with Demons go straight to Hell) of the dead cannot be called - they are destroyed, unable to return to the mortal plane, or lost in the eternal storm of the Underworld.
System: To use Summon Soul, the vampire's player must roll Perception + Occult (difficulty 7, or the ghost's Willpower if the Storyteller knows it). The number of successes on the roll indicates the tractability of the summoned spirit and how long the summoned wraith remains in the vicinity of her summoner. Summoned ghosts are visible and audible to the vampire who summoned them, and remain so up until the time the summoning wears off. Ghosts who wish to be summoned can voluntarily appear.
For each question the vampire asks the summoned spirit, the Storyteller should roll one die per summoning success. At least one success is needed on this second roll (difficulty 6) in order to keep the wraith around long enough to answer the question.
If a vampire botches a summoning roll, she calls forth a malevolent ghost (known as a spectre), which immediately sets about tormenting its summoner.
••• Compel Soul
With this power, a vampire can command a ghost to do his bidding for a while. Compel is a perilous undertaking and, when used improperly, can endanger vampire and wraith alike.
System: In order to compel a wraith, the vampire must first successfully summon it. Before the wraith has left the scene of the summoning, the vampire's player must roll Manipulation + Occult (difficulty of the target's Willpower). The wraith can spend Pathos (the ghostly equivalent of blood; assume a pool of 7 for all ghosts) to combat the compulsion; each point spent removes one of the vampire's successes. The vampire may attempt to compel a wraith multiple times during a single summoning.
For each success achieved on the Manipulation + Occult roll, the necromancer achieves a greater degree of control over the wraith. The breakdown is as follows:
Failure The compulsion of the summoning ends and the wraith is free to leave. Many wraiths take the opportunity to assault their would-be masters as they depart.
One success The wraith must remain in the vicinity and refrain from attacking any creature without the vampire's consent
Two successes The wraith is bound to remain and answer any questions truthfully, though the questions had better be phrased carefully
Three successes The wraith is forced to remain and answer any questions truthfully, without evasion or omission
Four successes The wraith must remain, answering truthfully any questions asked of it. It must also perform any services commanded by its new master, though is only bound by the letter of the command, not the spirit
Five successes The wraith is trapped, obeying the spirit of the vampire's commands to the best of its ability
Compel holds a ghost for one hour per success rolled. If the vampire wishes, she can expend a temporary Willpower point to keep the wraith under the compulsion for an extra night. The expenditure of a permanent point of the vampire's Willpower binds the wraith for a year and a day.
Haunting binds a summoned ghost to a particular location or, in extreme cases, an object. The wraith cannot leave the area to which the necromancer binds it without risking self-destruction. A wraith attempting to leave the area of a haunting must make a Willpower roll (difficulty 10, 2 successes necessary) or take a level of aggravated damage; if the wraith runs out of health levels, it is hurled deep into the Underworld to face destruction.
System: The player rolls Manipulation + Occult (difficulty is the target's Willpower if she resists; otherwise it is 4). Each success ties the wraith to a particular spot of the necromancer's choosing for a night; with the expenditure of a Willpower point, that becomes a week. With the expenditure of a permanent Willpower point it extends the duration to a year.
It is through use of this power that elder Giovanni convince bound ghosts to behave - or else. Torment allows the vampire to strike a wraith as if he himself were in the lands of the dead, inflicting damage on the wraith's ectoplasmic form. The vampire remains in the real world, however, so he cannot be struck in return by the wraith.
System: The player rolls Stamina + Empathy (difficulty is the wraith's Willpower), and the vampire reaches out to "touch" the wraith. Each success inflicts a level of lethal damage on the wraith. Should the wraith lose all health levels, it immediately vanishes into what appears to be a doorway to some hideous nightmare realm. Ghosts "destroyed" thus cannot reappear near the real world for a month.
Tremens allows a necromancer to make the flesh of a corpse shift once. An arm might suddenly flop forward, a cadaver might situp, or dead eyes might abruptly open. Needless to say, this sort of thing tends to have an impressive impact on people who aren't expecting a departed relative to roll over in his coffin.
System: To use Tremens, the necromancer spends a single blood point, and the player must succeed on a Dexterity + Occult roll (difficulty 6). The more successes achieved, the more complicated an action can be inculcated into the corpse. One success allows for an instantaneous movement, such as a twitch, while five allows the vampire to set up specific conditions under which the body animates ("The next time someone enters the room, I want the corpse to sit up and open its eyes."). Under no circumstances can Tremens cause a dead body attack or cause damage.
•• Apprentice's Brooms
With Apprentice’s Brooms, the necromancer can make a dead body rise and perform a simple function. For example, the corpse could be set to carrying heavy objects, digging, or just shambling from place to place. The cadavers thus animated do not attack or defend themselves if interfered with, but instead attempt to carry out their given instructions until such time as they’ve been rendered inanimate. Generally it takes dismemberment, flame or something similar to destroy a corpse animated in this way.
System: A roll of Wits + Occult (difficulty 7) and the expenditure of both a Willpower point and blood point are all that is necessary to animate corpses with Apprentice's Brooms. The number of corpses animated is equal to the number of successes achieved. The necromancer must then state the task to which he is setting his zombies. The cadavers turn themselves to their work until they finish the job (at which point they collapse) or something (including time) destroys them.
Bodies energized with this power continue to decay, albeit at a much slower rate than normal.
••• Shambling Hordes
Shambling Hordes creates exactly what you think it might: reanimated corpses with the ability to attack, albeit neither very well nor very quickly. Once primed by this power, the corpses wait — for years, if necessary — to fulfill the command given them. The orders might be to protect a certain sight or simply to attack immediately, but they will be carried out until every last one of the decomposing monsters is destroyed.
System: The player invests a point of Willpower, then spend a point of blood for each corpse the necromancer animates. The player must them succeed on a Wits + Occult roll (difficulty 8); each success allows them to raise another corpse from the grave. Each zombie (for lack of a better term) can follow one simple instruction, such as “Stay here and guard this graveyard against any intruders,” or “Kill them!”
Note: Zombies created by Shambling Hordes will wait forever if need be to fulfill their functions. Long after the flesh has rotted off the mysteriously animated bones, the zombies will wait…and wait…and wait - still able to perform their duties.
Zombie Statistics -
Corpses animated by a necromancer of the Bone Path have Strength 3, Dexterity 2, Stamina 4, Brawl 2, and always act last in a turn (unless there are mitigating circumstances). They have zero Willpower points to spend, but resist attacks as if they have Willpower ratings of 10. All Mental and Social ratings are zero for a reanimated corpse, and zombies never attempt to dodge. Zombies' dice pools are not affected by damage, except that caused by fire or the claws and teeth of supernatural creatures. Most zombies have 10 health levels, but they are incapable of healing any damage they suffer.
•••• Soul Stealing
This power affects the living, not the dead. It does, however, temporarily turn a living soul into a sort of wraith, as it allows a necromancer to strip a soul from a living — or vampiric body. A mortal exiled from his body by this power becomes a wraith with a single tie to the real world: his now-empty body.
System: The player spends a point of Willpower and then makes a contested Willpower roll against the intended victim (difficulty 6). Successes indicate the number of hours during which the original soul is forced out of its housing. The body itself remains autonomically alive but catatonic. This power can be used to create suitable hosts for Daemonic Possession.
••••• Daemonic Possession
Daemonic Possession lets a vampire insert a soul into a freshly dead body and inhabit it for the duration. This does not turn the reanimated corpse into anything other than a reanimated corpse, and one that will irrevocably decay after a week, but it does give either a wraith or a free-floating soul (say, that of a vampire using Psychic Projection) a temporary home in the physical world.
System: The body in question must be no more than 30 minutes dead, and the new tenant must agree to inhabit it - a ghost or astral form cannot be forced into a new shell. Of course, most ghosts would gladly seize the opportunity, but that's a different matter. Should the vampire, for whatever reason, wish to insert a soul into another vampire's corpse (before it crumbles to ash), the necromancer must achieve five successes on a resisted Willpower roll against the original owner of the body. Otherwise the interloper is denied entrance.
Note: The soul can use whatever physical abilities (Dodge, Brawl, Potence) his new home possesses, and whatever mental abilities (Computer, Law, Presence) he possesses in his current existence. He cannot use the physical abilities of his old form, or the mental abilities of his new one.
Shroudsight allows a necromancer to see through the Shroud, the mystical barrier that separates the living world from the Underworld. By using this power, the vampire can spot ghostly buildings and items, the landscape of the so-called Shadowlands, and even wraiths themselves. However, the odds are that an observant wraith will notice when a vampire suddenly starts staring at him, which can lead to unpleasant consequences.
System: A simple roll of Perception + Alertness (difficulty 7) allows a necromancer to utilize Shroudsight. The effects last for a scene.
•• Lifeless Tongues
Where Shroudsight allows a necromancer to see ghosts, Lifeless Tongues allows her to converse with them effortlessly. Once Lifeless Tongues is employed, the vampire can carry on a conversation with the denizens of the ghostly Underworld without spending blood or causing the wraiths to expend any effort.
System: To use Lifeless Tongues requires a roll of Perception + Occult (difficulty 6) and the expenditure of a Willpower point. This power also grants the effects of Shroudsight, so the vampire can see with whom, or what, she is conversing.
••• Dead Hand
Similar to the Sepulchre Path power Torment, Dead Hand allows a necromancer to reach across the Shroud and affect a ghostly object as if it were in the real world. Ghosts are solid to necromancers using this power, and can be attacked. Furthermore, the necromancer can pick up ghostly items, scale ghostly architecture (giving real-world bystanders the impression that he’s climbing on air!) and generally exist in two worlds. On the other hand, a necromancer using Dead Hand is quite solid to the residents of the Underworld and to whatever weapons they might have.
System: The player spends a point of Willpower and makes a successful Wits + Occult roll (difficulty 7) for the vampire to activate Dead Hand. Foe each scene the vampire wishes to remain in contact with the Underworld, he must spend a point of blood.
•••• Ex Nihilo
Ex Nihilo allows a necromancer to enter the Underworld physically. While in the lands of the dead, the vampire is essentially an extra-solid ghost. He maintains his normal number of health levels, but can be hurt only by things that inflict aggravated damage on ghosts (weapons forged from souls, certain ghostly powers, etc.). A vampire physically in the Underworld can pass through solid objects (at the cost of one health level) and remain "incorporeal" thus for a number of turns equal to his Stamina rating. On the other hand, vampires present in the Underworld are subject to all of the Underworld's perils, including ultimate destruction. A vampire killed in the Deadlands is gone forever, beyond the reach of other necromancers.
System: Using Ex Nihilo takes a tremendous toll on the necromancer. To activate this power, the vampire must first draw a doorway with chalk or blood on any available surface. (Note: Doors can be drawn ahead of time for this very purpose.) The player must then expend two points of Willpower and two points of blood, then make a Stamina + Occult roll (difficulty 6). At Storyteller discretion, a vampire who is too deeply immersed in the Underworld may need to journey to a place close to the lands of the living in order to cross over. Vampires who wander too far into the lands of the dead may be trapped there forever.
Vampires in the Underworld cannot feed upon ghosts; their only sustenance is the blood they bring with them.
••••• Shroud Mastery
A bit of an exaggeration, Shroud Mastery is the ability to manipulate the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead. By doing so, a necromancer expends two points of Willpower, then states whether or not he is attempting to raise or lower the Shroud. The player then makes a Willpower roll (difficulty 9). Each success on the roll raises or lowers the difficulty of all nearby wraiths' actions by one, to a maximum of 10 or a minimum of 3. The Shroud reverts to its normal strength at a rate of one point per hour thereafter.
• Reaper's Shroud
This power allows the Cainite or the subject of her choice to take on the semblance of death. Skin stretches tight over bones, flesh grows pale and sallow and joints seize as the body grows rigid. This power may be used to “play dead” and look the part, or to curse another with the appearance of the walking dead. The vampire must touch her target for this power to take effect, If the Necromancer assumes this form, she merely spends a blood point. The effects of this power last until the next dawn or dusk, when the shriveled individual slowly regains her normal state over the course of an hour. Vampires may spend two blood points to reverse the effects of Reaper’s Shroud.
This power allows the vampire to accelerate the aging and decrepitude processes in his intended victim. The subject suffers the effects of old age: brittle bones, dry and thin skin and various rheumatic pains among others. The vampire must touch his intended victim. Lasts until the next dusk or dawn. Vampires and ghouls affected in this manner may still spend blood points to increase their Physical Attributes.
••• Resume the Coil
This power allows vampires to wrench themselves free from death’s long slumber. A character who possesses this level of mastery may throw off the darkness of torpor or aid another in doing so. If the vampire wishes to awaken another Cainite in torpor, she must touch that vampire. If the vampire so raised entered torpor because of a lack of blood, she awakens with one blood point in her veins.
•••• True Death
The Necromancer may temporarily cheat the Curse of Caine, albeit briefly, by becoming truly dead. While invoking this power, the character suffers none of the traditional banes against vampires. He is not burned by sunlight, holy water does not harm him, and he does not rise from the dead each night. He has literally become a corpse. There is no cost to assume the corpse-body, but awakening from the slumber requires two blood points. While the character is in corpse form, he may obviously take no actions, nor may he use any Disciplines, even “automatic” ones like Fortitude. The corpse vampire does not consume blood nightly — he retains the same amount of blood as he did when he entered the state of True Death (remember that it costs two blood points to leave the corpse state), which may prove damning should anyone cut him open in the interim. A character who has been staked through the heart is still paralyzed when he returns to vampiric consciousness. This power has no maximum duration, other than the time the vampire chooses to remain dead.
••••• Mercy for Seth
Named after mortals the Children of Seth — this power causes a victim to contract a virulent plague, similar to the epidemics of the 11th through 15th centuries (the Black Plague, the Red Death, etc.). This illness causes death within 24 hours for mortals and sends vampires to torpor within the same period of time. Mortal victims of plague exhibit terrible plague symptoms — sunken eyes, blackened limbs, bloody sweat and excretions, swollen nodes and weeping lesions. The vampire touches her victim, and the player must spend one blood point (which must come in contact with the victim to communicate the plague) and one Willpower point.
• A Touch of Death
Just as a Necromancer may exert mastery over the Shadowlands, so too can some ghosts exert themselves in the mortal world. Whereas obvious displays of wraithly power such as bleeding walls or disembodied moans certainly won’t be mistaken, some ghostly abilities exert subtle effects that aren’t easily recognized. A Necromancer sensitized to the residue of the dead, though, can feel whether an object has been touched by a ghost or sense the recent passage of a wraith.
System: The Necromancer simply touches a person or object that he suspects is a victim of ghostly influence. The player rolls Perception + Occult (diff. 6). If successful, the Necromancer can determine whether a ghost has exerted any sorts of wraithly power on the subject, or even crossed nearby, to the duration detailed below.
1 success: Last turn; detect use of ghostly powers
2 successes: Last three turns; detect use of ghostly powers
3 successes: Last hour; detect ghost’s touch and use of ghostly powers
4 successes: Last day; detect ghost’s touch and use of ghostly powers
5 successes: Last week; detect nearby passage of ghost, ghost’s touch and use of ghostly powers
On a failure, the Necromancer receives no impressions. A botch reveals a misleading answer (an object may seem tinged with ghostly power when it’s not, or vice versa). Should the Necromancer succeed in detection while touching an object or person that a ghost is possessing, he immediately becomes aware that the ghost is still inside. The impression gained in such a case is sufficient to count as a “strong psychic impression” for purposes of the Sepulchre Path’s powers, so the Kindred may be able to (for example) immediately command a ghost to exit a person whom it possesses.
•• Reveal the Catene
Necromantic compulsions function much more effectively when the caster uses an object of significance to the ghost in question. Such fetters tie the dead to the living lands through their remembered importance – a favored recliner for relaxing, a reviled piece of art foisted off by hated relatives or some object of similarly intense emotion. Many Giovanni can detect such catene through the use of rituals (see Ritual of the Unearthed Fetter). With this power, though, the Ghiberti can determine a fetter with just a few moments of handling. The Kindred simply runs his hands over the object and concentrates on it. He quickly receives an impression of the item’s (or person’s) importance to wraiths, if any; should the wraith be one known to the Necromancer, he immediately recognizes the object as a fetter to that (or those) wraith(s). Successful identification of a connected wraith is not exclusive; that is, if the Giovanni determines that the object is important to a given wraith, he can also determine if there are other wraiths tied to the item, though he must use the power again to gain their identities.
Many Necromancers use this power on objects already identified with A Touch of Death, in order to determine whether the ghost is trying to attune a given fetter or simply toying with the world of the living.
System: The Necromancer holds and examines the object for at least three turns – if it’s an item, this means turning it over in his hands, running his fingers along it or otherwise giving it a critical eye; with a person, this may require a more… invasive… examination. The player then spends a blood point and rolls Perception + Occult (diff. 7). If successful, the Kindred determines whether the object holds any significance to any wraith and, with three or more successes, the identity of at least one such wraith (which of course allows the Kindred to use the Sepulchre Path on that wraith). If the Necromancer already knows any of the wraiths involved, their ties are revealed with their identity – so, if the Necromancer already knows of a wraith well enough to summon and compel it with other powers, successful identification of a fetter tells whether the object is tied to that wraith, in addition to any other impressions gained.
If a botch is scored, the Ghiberti can never successfully use this power on the item being examined.
••• Tread Upon the Grave
The extended awareness granted with the Cenotaph Path allows the Necromancer to sense vagaries of the sudario and to find locations where the Shadowlands and the living world come close. Often, the Necromancer experiences a chill or shiver when stepping into an area where the Underworld lies near the living one. With practice, the Giovanni can tell exactly where such locations are.
Experienced Necromancers learn that certain locations are susceptible to ghostly influence; these haunted areas often become homes of a sort for wraiths. A knowledgeable vampire can thus discover places where the dead are likely to congregate, the better to snare them with other Necromancy powers.
System: The player simply declares intent to Sense the Shroud in an area and makes a Willpower roll (diff. 8). Success reveals the Shroud rating. The Storyteller informs the player of the rating, while in story terms the Giovanni learns that the location is highly attuned to the Shadowlands, about average (not very close to the world of the dead) or far removed from the realm of death. Failng use of the power has no adverse affect, though it may be attempted only once per scene (so the Necromancer must either wait for a time or move to a different area before attempting Tread Upon the Grave once more). A botch stuns the Giovanni into inaction for a full turn as well as costing him a temporary Willpower point, as he is overcome by shivers and the sense of overwhelming despair from the Shadowlands.
With three or more successes, the Necromancer can determine whether the Shroud’s strength has been artificially altered in the area (perhaps through the use of the Ash Path or certain ghost powers).
•••• Death Knell
Not all who die go on to become ghosts – many lack the drive to hang on after death or simply have no overwhelming needs that compel them to stick around. Normally, even Necromancers have no way to sort those who might become ghosts from the masses who go on to whatever rewards await. Over time, though, a Necromancer can become sensitized to the pull of death that occurs when a soul escapes from a body only to hover in wait, enslaved by its postmortem desires. The weight of desperation becomes like a tangible tug, and some Necromancers even learn to savor this emotion even as they follow the sensation to find the new ghost.
Of course, actually discovering the new ghost can be problematic. The Kindred may need some means to see through the Shroud or may have to spend other wraiths to look for the new unfortunate, especially if a large accident or massacre leaves too many corpses for the Ghiberti to easily discern and test names with other compulsions. Furthermore, new ghosts typically enter the afterlife insensate and covered in a sticky plasm that clouds their minds; the ghost must be freed from this spirit sludge before she can be useful, which again requires the Necromancer either to reach through the Shroud himself or send a wraithly proxy to do so.
System: Whenever someone dies and becomes a wraith within a half-mile of the Ghiberti, the Necromancer automatically sense the demise (though many choose to ignore this “always-on” power unless actively seeking someone). This power does not automatically pinpoint the location of the new wraith or identify it, but the player may spend one Willpower point and roll Perception + Occult (diff. 7) for the Necromancer to gain a vague sense of the distance and direction to the new wraith. With one success, the Kindred may sense a vague pull in a general direction; with three successes, the Necromancer can sense the direction and guess distance to within a quarter-mile. With five successes, the Necromancer immediately senses the location of the new ghost to within a foot. A failure carries no penalty but a botched attempt naturally sends the Necromancer scurrying off in the wrong direction.
The Storyteller may rule that disturbances in the Underworld, intervening magic or other similar phenomena cloud this sensation, simply to prevent overburdening a chronicle with constant ghost-hunting and dice rolling.
••••• Ephemeral Binding
The most puissant Necromancers learn not only to sense the ties between living and dead, but to forge such ties themselves. The master of Ephemeral Binding turns an otherwise mundane object or person into a depository for his own mephitic energy, the undying Curse transforming the subject into a sort of linkage between living and dead. The Ghiberti smears his blood on the item in question, which mystically absorbs the vitae and in doing so becomes a vessel to anchor a spirit.
System: The Necromancer must coat an object with his blood (a full blood point’s worth); if the subject is a person, then that individual must ingest the vitae. The player marks off the blood point, spends a point of Willpower and rolls Manipulation + Occult (diff. 8). If successful, the item temporarily becomes a fetter to one wraith. If the Kindred already knows the name of the wraith or has a strong psychic impression, then the object can become a fetter at any range, even to a ghost who normally does not come near the living world (so long as the ghost still exists). Otherwise the Ghiberti must be able to see or sense the ghost (with Shroudsight or other such means).
A fetter artificially created in this fashion functions for all necromantic and ghostly purposes as a normal fetter: It can be detected with other necromantic powers, the Giovanni gains a bonus to Necromancy against the wraith attuned to it, and the ghost similarly finds exertion of its power easier upon the subject (so the Giovanni might turn an unwitting ghoul into a consort for a wraith familiar with possession… ). The wraith can sink into the fetter to heal; conversely, if the fetter is destroyed, the wraith is banished to some inaccessible region of the Underworld, perhaps never to return.
A fetter created with Ephemeral Binding lasts for one night per success scored. The expenditure of an additional point of temporary Willpower increases this duration to a week per success, whereas spending a permanent point of Willpower extends the duration to a year and a night.
Botching with this power not only causes failure, but also makes the ghost immediately aware of what the Necromancer was trying to do. Most ghosts do not take kindly to meddling Kindred trying to make artificial chains for them.
• Eyes of the Dead
The necromancer employing the Eyes of the Dead can literally see through the eyes of any wraiths around her, allowing her to use the wraiths' Deathsight. Of course, if there are no wraiths present, the power is useless. On the upside, at least for the necromancers, a few of the Restless may almost always be found wandering around. To an experienced manipulator of ghostly energies, the auras of surrounding beings give off telltale hints as to their health and may indicate their emotions or desires; the necromancer can see the energies of death and passion flowing through everyone, just as wraiths can.
System: The player rolls Perception + Occult, difficulty 6, in order to see through the eyes of the Dead around the necromancer. This effect is often disorienting, especially in areas where many wraiths are present and, at the Storyteller's discretion, can cause the necromancer to suffer up to a +4 difficulty when attempting to perceive things not in the Underworld. While employing the Eyes of the Dead, the necromancer may not always understand what he is seeing (when in doubt, use Intelligence + Occult to recognize the patterns of death in auras). Properly used, this power lets a
necromancer determine whether someone is injured, diseased or dying and, also, whether the individual labors under any sorts of curses or baleful magic. This ability lasts for one scene, though the necromancer may choose to prematurely draw his perceptions back to his own body (thereby ending the power).
•• Hour of Death
Much like Eyes of the Dead, this power allows the necromancer to see with the perceptions of the Restless Dead. The difference is that this power grants the necromancer himself Deathsight instead of borrowing the perceptions of a wraith, and this vision gives much greater details. By looking at the entropic markings on a person's body, the necromancer can gain rough knowledge of how far that person is from death, how soon that person is likely to die and even what the cause of her death is likely to be.
Conversely, the patterns of auras also tell when a person is agitated or excited and allow the death magician to gauge someone's feelings towards another individual when the two first meet. This is not an exact science by any means, but the power is extremely useful to give the necromancer an edge over those she scrutinizes. Many necromancers actually use this talent to be at the right place and time to capture a newly departing soul.
System: The player rolls Wits + Occult (difficulty 7). The more successes scored, the more the character can tell about the target's fate. One success means the character can guess how long the target has to live to within a few weeks. Three successes means the character can estimate
how long the target has to live and what the probable source of demise will be, as the entropic markings clearly show the wounds that will someday exist on that person. Five successes means the character can actually see where and when the event will occur by interpreting the black markings on the target's soul. While this power lasts for one scene, it can be used to read the fate of only one target at a time.
Storytellers must exercise judgment with this power, since the markings of death are typically unavoidable. Of course, if the Storyteller rolls the dice, the player has no way of knowing whether her insight is correct.
••• Soul Judgment
Wraiths seem to possess a Beast, much like vampires, though their "Shadows" are often less brutish. By using Soul Judgment, the necromancer determines whether the wraith is currently influenced by his darker passions. That knowledge can be very useful, as many necromancers prefer to barter with apparitions rather than merely trying to force the wraiths into subservience. Knowing the aspect of a wraith with which the death magician is dealing means knowing whether or not to discuss matters of importance with the wraith at that time.
Many necromancers take this affair one level further, dealing with the Shadow and the normal wraith in separate matters and never letting on to either just what the other half is doing.
System: The player rolls Perception + Occult (difficulty 7) and spends one Willpower point in order to discern which aspect of the wraith is currently in control. Since the wraith's higher self usually has no idea of what its Shadow is doing (although the converse is not true), the necromancer can
conceal his dealings by working with the wraith's dark nature.
This power also allows the necromancer to determine whether the ghost is normally dominated by his higher self or his Shadow; wraiths routinely dominated by their Beasts are known as Spectres and are exceedingly dangerous.
•••• Breath of Thanatos
The Breath of Thanatos allows the necromancer to draw out entropic energy and focus it upon an area or person. Often, the death magician literally takes a deep breath and then forcefully exhales a fog of mephitic energy. This cloud of virulence is completely invisible to anyone without the ability to see the passing of entropy (as with lower levels of this
power). The energy of this cloud is like a beacon for Spectres, and they are drawn to the entropic force like moths to flame. There is no obligation on the part of Spectres to behave themselves, and the necromancer had best have a plan for what to do with them once they've arrived - which is
why most Vitreous Path necromancers also learn other paths.
Once the energy is pulled from the necromancer's body, she can either disperse it over a large area as a lure for Spectres or use the mist for somewhat more sinister purposes. Channeled into an object or person, the death-mist inflicts the subject with an unwholesome, negative aspect, and may actually cause injury. Furthermore, the focused energies are tainted and eerie, and though generally invisible, they tend to cause people and animals to feel discomfort around the victim.
System: The player spends one blood point and rolls Willpower (difficulty 8). Only one success is needed to draw out the Breath of Thanatos. If dispersed to summon Spectres, the energies cover roughly one-quarter of a mile in radius, centered around the necromancer. The range increases by one-quarter mile for every additional blood point expended. As noted previously, Spectres summoned with this power are not beholden to the necromancer in any way and may well go out of their way to wreak havoc on anyone in the vicinity. This energy disperses after a scene.
If the cloud is directed toward a particular target, the necromancer must either touch the target or else direct the stream of entropy using Dexterity + Occult (difficulty 7). A target laden with entropy suffers one (and only
one) level of aggravated damage; this generally manifests as illness or
decay. The target's social difficulties with those unfamiliar with the touch of death - Lupines, faeries, certain mages and most normal humans - increase by 2.
Furthermore, supernatural perceptions indicate the target as tainted with decay, which can be dangerous, as certain entities (such as the Lupines) have special senses to detect such taint and a rather violent crusade against those thus infected. This form of taint lasts until sunrise or sunset; a victim already plagued by this power cannot be affected again until the
previous fog of entropy has dispersed. A botch on the roll to control this power indicates that the vampire has turned the energy upon himself, and suffers all the effects of the vitriolic breath. This inflicts the usual injury and subjects the necromancer to the possibly dangerous affection of Spectres and other creatures from beyond the grave.
••••• Soul Feasting
Just as the necromancer can draw Oblivion from within, she may also pull external entropic energies into herself as a source of power. Soul Feasting allows the caster to either draw on the ambient death energies around her or to actively feed on a wraith, stealing the wraith's substance and mystically transforming that energy into a rude sustenance.
System: The player spends one Willpower to allow the vampire to feed on the negative energies of the dead. If the character is drawing the energies from the atmosphere, she must be in a place where death has occurred within the hour or in a place where death is common, such as a cemetery, a morgue or the scene of a recent murder. Generally, the necromancer can draw anywhere from one to four points of entropy from such a location, although the difficulty of all Necromancy (and all ghostly powers that must cross into the living lands) increases by an equal amount for several nights.
The energies of such an area may only be drained once until the area's entropy replenishes (again, after several nights). In cases when the necromancer feeds on a wraith, the vampire must actually attack the wraith as if feeding normally. Wraiths have up to 10 "blood points" that may be taken from them, and they become less and less "substantial" as their spirit-essence drains away. The character is vulnerable to any attack the wraith might make, even those that do not normally affect the physical world; while feeding, the vampire is essentially in a half-state, existing in both the living lands and the Underworld simultaneously. The wraith so attacked is considered immobilized and cannot run or escape unless it can defeat the vampire in a resisted Willpower roll. This power may also be used in conjunction with Ash Path Necromancy, allowing the vampire to drain power (though not sustenance) from ghosts while traveling in the lands of the dead.
This soul energy may be used to activate Disciplines, but may not be used in place of actual blood for the purposes of feeding or for other physical purposes such as healing or boosting Attributes.
Botching this power renders the vampire unable to feed through the wall of death. Conversely, he remains susceptible to the assaults of ghosts and spirits for several turns (generally, a number of turns equal to the amount of energy that could have been drawn from the area or one turn if attacking a ghost) as he hovers between worlds, unable to function effectively in either.
System: Casting times for necromantic rituals vary widely; see the description for particulars. The player rolls Intelligence + Occult (difficulty 3 + the level of the ritual, maximum 9); success indicates the ritual proceeds smoothly, failure produces no effect, and botch often indicates that certain "powers" notice the caster, usually to her detriment.
• Call of the Hungry Dead
Call of the Hungry Dead takes only 10 minutes to cast and requires a hair from the target’s head. The ritual climaxes with the burning of that hair in the flame of a black candle, after which the victim becomes able to hear snatches of conversation from across the Shroud. If the target is not prepared, the voices come as a confusing welter of howls and unearthly demands he is unable to make out anything intelligible, and might well go briefly mad.
• Eldritch Beacon
Eldritch Beacon takes 15 minutes to cast. The material component is a green candle, the melted wax from which must be collected and molded into a half-inch sphere. Whoever carries this sphere, whether in his hand or in a pocket, is highlighted in the Shadowlands with a sickly-glowing green-white aura. All wraithly powers affect this individual with greater ease and severity. The sphere retains its power for one hour per success.
• Circle of Cerberus
The necromancer bathes, fasts and abstains from all physical comforts and pleasures for a night. Then she dons well-maintained, high quality robes or other clothing. She draws a circle on the floor in a place of safety. She may then proceed to use other necromantic powers, confident that her protection against ghosts and spirits has been enhanced. Necromancer must remain within the circle.
• Rape of Persephone
A team of surgeons trained in the unpleasant ways of Necromancy performs an elaborate operation on a freshly dead or well-preserved corpse. From the cadaver's dead tissues, they create up to seven new penises, vaginas or other sexual apparatuses. The necromancer engages in intercourse with the corpse's new genitalia. He may then subtract 2 from the difficulty of all necromantic magic - except those targeting ghosts, Spectres, or spirits - for the remainder of the night. If a number of necromancers perform the ritual together, they may freely trade Willpower points between one another for the rest of the night. During this time, one participant may experience the tactile sensations of another by concentrating for a few seconds and spending a point of Willpower, regardless of the distance separating them. No more than seven necromancers can perform the ritual together.
• Minestradi Morte
The Necromancer obtains a piece of a dead body and simmers it in a pot with half a quart of vampiric vitae. To this stew, the Necromancer adds rosemary (for remembrance), basil (the funerary herb) and salt (the alchemic principle of clarification). After bringing the concoction to a full boil,the Necromancer eats it. If the ritual is successful, the caster can learn whether (or if) an individual became a ''spirito'' or ''spettro'' after death. Unfortunately, this information can be learned only about the person from whose body the “stew meat” was taken.
If the roll to activate this ritual is successful, the character discovers whether the subject of the grisly rite became a wraith or spectre after death, or if indeed she became either. The blood component is spent progressively through the ritual: If the Necromancer takes the blood from another Kindred, she doesn’t become partially bound from drinking it, nor does she add a point to her blood pool. Similarly, if she uses her own blood, her pool decreases by a point but does not increase when she consumes the soup.
Necromantic vampires without the Eat Food merit can’t keep the soup down, but can still use the ritual and gain the information.
Basic Ritual. You must first obtain a chunk from a dead body (remember that very old vampires usually crumble to ash and don’t leave suitable pieces). Boil this up in a stew, taking the usual ritual casting time, then devour it. (Need we mention that this is all representative, and we aren’t actually advocating real cannibalism?) The soup must use two pints of vampiric blood - about two Blood Points’ worth. If you succeed in the ritual,
you learn whether the individual you’ve just physically devoured became a ghost after death. If you somehow devour a chunk from a still-living victim - perhaps a severed limb, without knowledge of the victim’s eventual fate - you learn only that the subject is not a ghost.
• Tonali's Flame
According to the religion of the Mexicas - the ancient South American civilization known as the Aztecs - the universe is run on an energy called Tonali. Roughly described as "animating sprit", Tonali comes from the word tona, meaning "to make heat or sun". Throughout Aztec religion there is a great emphasis on motion, and motion is driven by Tonali. Among humans Tonali is concentrated in the blood, and, in some circumstances, the heart. Although it is easy to scoff at such out-dated religious mythology, Kindred scholars find it hard to find fault with the theory, especially considering the nature of Vampires - walking corpses; an occurrence made possible, according to some Pisanob, by the animating properties of Tonali.They also claim that this is the reason why a stake in the heart will immobilize Kindred.
The ritual of Tonali's Flame was designed by a Pisanob priest to keep track of his friends' condition. It exploits the properties of Tonali by making a candle from the blood of such an individual. This blood provides a link to the target's life force, keeping the flame lit for as long as they still live. As the soon as the target dies, if mortal, or meets final death, if undead, the flame dies.
System: This ritual requires at least one blood point, which must be reasonably fresh. The blood must be mixed with melted wax until fully saturated. Then, the Necromancer must chant a Mantra in Nahu‡tl whilst dipping a piece of string in and out of the blood-wax mixture until the candle has formed. When the finished candle is placed in its holder it will spontaneously light itself, signifying that the ritual is complete. The entire process takes 15 minutes, minus one for every success on the activation roll.
•• Eyes of the Grave
This ritual, which takes two hours to cast, causes the target to experience intermittent visions of her death over the period of a week. The visions come without warning and can last up to a minute. The caster of the ritual has no idea what the visions contain — only the victim sees them, after all. The visions, which come randomly, can also interfere with activities such as driving, shooting and so on. Eyes of the Grave requires a pinch of soil from a fresh grave.
Used primarily to facilitate conversations with the recently departed, though also applied as a method of psychological torture. Puppet prepares a subject (willing or unwilling) as a suitable receptacle for ghostly possession. Over the course of one hour, the necromancer smears grave soil across the subject’s eyes, lips, and forehead. For the remainder of the night, any wraith can attempting to take control of the subject. The ritual’s effects remain even if the soil is washed off.
•• Spirit Deacon
This ritual is designed to draw wraiths to a particular area. It requires the head of a man forsaken by God; this ghastly object acts as a beacon to all wraiths within the region. Giovanni who have seen these dreadful items in the Shadowlands say that an unholy radiance pours forth from the eyes, mouth and ears of the head, drawing wraiths like moths to a flame.
System: Obviously, this ritual requires a severed human head (though it is the Storyteller’s discretion as to what constitutes “forsaken by God” in her chronicle). After the ritual is successfully conducted, any wraiths who view the hideous thing are almost irresistibly compelled to move toward it. Wraiths who wish to avoid the spirit beacon must make a Willpower roll against a difficulty equal to the Willpower of the Giovanni who enacted the ritual. A wraith who succeeds is free to leave (though she may be entranced once more if she looks upon the head again); a wraith who fails must attend the head and will refuse to leave. Wraiths under the sway of this ritual may try to break free of its power; Willpower checks may be attempted once per hour.
The ritual ceases to be effective at sunrise of the day following its invocation, though the head may be the focus of further uses of the ritual. Giovanni who use this power repeatedly are rumored to possess heads that have decomposed to mere skulls over their long periods of service.
•• Judgment of Rhadamanthus
The necromancer chooses a wraith she will later summon, using the Summon Soul power of the Sepulchre Path. In a cleansed bronze brazier, she burns several pages of a law book and a religious text matching the faith the wraith held in life. She mixes the ashes of the books with silver powder and uses the mixture to make her Circle of Cerberus. When the wraith appears, the necromancer tells him that she has the power to send him to the real afterlife, the one he believed in when he was alive. If the ritual works, the wraith believes her. If the wraith fears judgment and hellfire, she can induce him to do what she wants by threatening to use her power. If he yearns for Heaven and escape from the bizarre existence of the underworld, she can secure his cooperation by promising to use it. Since she can't make good on the promise, Judgment of Rhadamanthus won't work twice on the same Heaven-seeking wraith. Wraiths who were atheists while alive, or didn't believe in life after death, automatically resist this ritual.
•• Hand of Glory
The Hand of Glory is a mummified hand used by the Giovanni to anesthetize a home’s residents and, thereby, allow the Necromancer free rein to do what he will in the residence. It was originally developed by thieves dabbling in the Dark Art, and was adapted by the Giovanni for similar nefarious purposes.
The creation of the Hand of Glory is a gruesome ritual dating back hundreds of years. The Necromancer wraps the severed hand of a condemned murderer in a shroud, draws it tight to squeeze out any remaining blood and preserves the hand in an earthenware jar with salt, saltpeter and long peppers. After a fortnight, the Giovanni removes the hand and dries it in an oven with vervain and fern. At the end of this process, if the roll to activate the ritual garners any successes, the creation is viable.
To use the Hand of Glory, the vampire first coats the fingertips of the mummified hand with a flammable substance derived from the fat of a hanged man and sets the fingers alight. The Necromancer then recites the phrase, “Let all those who are asleep be asleep, and let those who are awake be awake.” All mortals within a household who are affected fall into a deep sleep and cannot be roused (the hand has no effect on supernatural creatures or hunters of the Hunter: The Reckoning ilk). For each unaffected occupant of a home, one finger of the hand will refuse to light. Of course, botches may result in all of the fingers being lit but no one in the home being asleep. The hand may be extinguished at any time by the Necromancer who created it. Anyone else wishing to douse the hand must use milk to do so. Nothing else works. Once made, the Hand of Glory may be reused indefinitely. Effects last for one scene.
•• Occhio d'Uomo Morto
To cast this ritual, the Necromancer needs an eye from a corpse whose absent soul became a ''spirito'' or a ''spettro''. The eye is ritually prepared in a process involving incense, the new moon and a period of midnight chanting. The chanting climaxes when the Necromancer removes one of her own eyes and replaces it with the one from the corpse (fresher is better). Kindred healing takes over at that point, sealing the eye within the socket.
If the ritual succeeds, the Necromancer permanently gains the Shroudsight ability. This ability is always active and does not require a roll. Furthermore, if it was a ''spettro'' corpse, the vampire can hear the vague murmuring of any ''spettri'' in the area. This ability isn’t very precise; rather than mind reading, it’s more like trying to overhear a low-voiced conversation in the next room.
With a Perception + Occult roll, the Necromancer can glean a very vague impression of what the area ''spettri'' are up to. Botching this roll may well earn the Necromancer a new derangement (at the Storyteller’s discretion), as listening in on the evil dead is not a habit conducive to mental health. This ritual has some major drawbacks, the first being that its proper result is hideously ugly. Unless the vampire wears sunglasses or finds some other way to conceal her eye, her Appearance is reduced by one dot.
Also, dead or rotted tissue is not the best for normal perception. Any mundane visual Perception rolls are at +1 difficulty (possibly more if the corpse had bad eyesight in life). On the other hand, this very blurring offers some protection against Dominate and Eyes of the Serpent: These Disciplines are used against the dead-eyed Necromancer at + 1 difficulty. Most importantly, however, the ''spirito'' or ''spettro'' whose body was desecrated knows it, and very likely hates it. The ghost can find the Necromancer possessing his eye anywhere, and all wraithly powers used against the Necromancer by that particular ghost or spectre are at -1 difficulty.
•• Summon Swamp Fetus
This ritual allows the necomancer to summon "ghostlights". The ghost lights appear as small marble sized lights that have an eerie green illumination, 5 of these lights are summoned, as they travel in groupings. The ghostlights can be made to travel anywhere within the sight of the vampire and can even perform tricks. Among the things the lights can do are: glow brighter, glow dimmer, merge into one large ball, fly about, bathe someone in a magical glow, swirl, remain stationary or perform whatever maneuver the vampire can imagine. This ritual is a useful diversion or simply a light source.
The ritual requires a small branch from a willow tree growing at a swamp where the lights orginally haunted. The necromancer holds the branch and recites a short incantation. The ritual takes an action, and the ghost lights are summoned. The ghost lights are drone wraiths, created from stillborn and unborn children. Folklore contains many eyewitness accounts of these lights…also called will o' wisps, faerie lights, and ball lightning.
••• Ritual of the Unearthed Fetter
This ritual requires that a necromancer have a fingerbone from the skeleton of the particular wraith he’s interested in. ‘When the ritual is cast, the fingerbone becomes attuned to something vitally important to the wraith, the possession of which by the necromancer makes the casting of Sepulchre Path powers much easier. Most necromancers take the attuned fingerbone and suspend it from a thread, allowing it to act as a sort
of supernatural compass and following it to the special item in question. Ritual of the Unearthed Fetter takes three hours to cast properly. It requires both the name of the wraith targeted and the fingerbone already mentioned, as well as a chip knocked off a gravestone or other marker (not necessarily the marker of the bone’s former owner). During the course of the ritual the stone crumbles to dust, which is then sprinkled over the fingerbone.
••• Din of the Damned
This ritual is similar to the Level One Ritual Call of the Hungry Dead in that it makes the sounds of the underworld audible in the physical realm. However, Din of the Damned is an area-effect ritual used to ward a room against eavesdropping. Over the course of half an hour, the necromancer draws an unbroken line of ash from a crematorium along the room’s walls (this line may pass over doorframes to allow entrance and egress). For the rest of the night, any attempt to listen in on events inside the room, be it simple (a glass to the wall), electronic (a laser microphone), or mystic (Heightened Senses), gives the listener an earful of ghostly wailing and moaning and the sound of howling winds.
••• Drink of Styx's Water
The necromancer robs a grave and steals the corpse's skull. He saws off the top of the skull the sawn-off piece, flipped over, forms a cup shaped piece of bone. He covers this with clay, making a bowl, which he proceeds to fire in a kiln. If any blood descendants of the corpse eats from the bowl during a meal with the necromancer, any promises the subject makes to the necromancer gains otherworldy enforcement. If the subject fails to live up to them, he is visited by a Spectre, which torments him relentlessly unless he makes good on them or offers the necromancer acceptable compensation. In addition to robbing the grave, the modeling and firing of the bowl takes at least 4 hours, depending on how fancy the necromancer wants it to be look. It may be reused until destroyed.
••• Tempestu Scudo
Unlike most rituals, Tempestu Scudo can be cast speedily. The Necromancer performs a short and awkward dance that ends with her biting through her own lip and spitting the blood in a circle around her. All spirits’ actions within the circle of blood are made at +2 difficulty. All Risen within the circle have a penalty to their actions of + 1 difficulty. To cast this ritual successfully, the Necromancer must spend one combat turn performing the dance. At the end of the turn, she makes a Dexterity + Performance roll against difficulty 7 (if done outside of combat, the difficulty is only 6). During the next combat turn, she bites through her own lips (taking a level of bashing damage) and spits (spending one blood point). Then the normal ritual roll is made to see whether the power takes effect.
•••• Cadaver's Touch
By chanting for three hours and melting a wax doll in the shape of the target, the necromancer turns a mortal target into a corpselike mockery of himself. As the doll loses the last of its form, the target becomes cold and clammy. His pulse becomes weak and thready, his flesh pale and chalky. For all intents and purposes, he becomes a reasonable facsimile of the walking dead. The effects of the ritual wear off only when the wax of the doll is permitted to resolidify. If the wax is allowed to boil off, the spell is broken.
•••• Peek Past the Shroud
This hour-long ritual enchants a handful of ergot (a mold that grows on grains prior to harvest in cold, damp weather) to act as a catalyst for second sight. By eating a pinch of the magical mold, a subject gains the benefits of Shroudsight (Ash Path Necromancy Level One) for a several hours. Three doses of the enchanted ergot are created for every success. Ergot is normally poisonous to some degree this ritual removes its toxic properties. However, a botch renders the ergot highly and instantaneously toxic, inflicting eight dice of lethal damage on any subject who ingests it including vampires.
•••• Call Upon the Shadow's Grace
Use of this invasive ritual allows the Giovanni to peer into the aura of death that surrounds all living beings. Those who are familiar with the subtleties of wraithly existence speak of the Shadow, the “dark side” of the wraith’s personality. This ritual temporarily opens a channel for discourse with the nascent Shadow of its subject (which will fully emerge if the subject in question later becomes a wraith). Though not quite so powerful or malignant as the Shadow of a wraith, the Shadow of one who still walks the physical world can nonetheless reveal damning aspects of the person’s actions, and may often drive the person to acts of desperation.
System: By enacting this ritual, the Giovanni brings the self-destructive aspects of her subject’s psyche to the fore. If used successfully, this ritual causes its subject to reveal her darkest secrets to the Giovanni. The subject will reveal any plots in which she is involved, treacheries she has committed and lies she has told. The subject may resist with a Willpower roll against a difficulty equal to “4 the caster’s Intelligence + Occult. At the Storyteller’s discretion, a botch may result in tremendous feelings of remorse and despair in the subject, which result in the subject’s attempted suicide. Naturally, nothing may be learned in this situation.
•••• Drink of Lethe's Waters
The necromancer acquires an object once owned by, or symbolic of, a particular wraith. The object must be able to be damaged by water; the necromancer leaves destroys it by leaving it to soak in water. During the soaking, her periodically spits in the water. After the object has been destroyed, the necromancer conjures up the wraith or otherwise arranges to be in her presence. The wraith loses all memory of her identity, becoming highly susceptible to suggestion on the part of the necromancer. The wraith's memory loss continues for one night per success. It may not use Pathos point to counter any action from the necromancer. Its Willpower drops by the number of successes scored; it may not replenish its Willpower pool while the effect lingers.
•••• Bastone Diabolico
Casting this ritual is a bit tricky because it requires the removal of a leg bone from a living person. The donor must survive the removal (at least for a little while). The bone is then submerged in molten lead. Once it cools, the thin lead coating is inscribed with various runes. The Necromancer then uses this metal-shod bone to beat its donor to death while repeating a droning Greek chant. With a successful roll, this ritual produces a bastone diabolico or “devil stick.’’ The stick can be activated by anyone who holds it and expends a point of Willpower.
Activation lasts for a scene, and during that time any ghost, ''spirito'' or ''spettro'' hit with the devil stick loses a point from its Passion Pool (if you’re using the rules from Wraith: The Oblivion, wraiths lose a point of Pathos and spectres lose a point of Angst). In addition to its normal effects, this club does an additional die of damage when used against the walking dead (not vampires), and such damage is aggravated. Unfortunately for the Necromancer, ghosts can sense that the bastone diabolico is bad news, even if they don’t know exactly what the thing does. They tend to stay away from anybody carrying one, which means that all rolls for such a character to use powers that summon or attract spirits occur at + 1 difficulty. The Giovanni clan stores many of these cudgels in their Venice vaults, and are actually more likely to lend one out to a neonate than to teach the ritual (after all, kidnapping somebody, mangling him and killing him was a lot easier to get away with a few hundred years ago). Most older devil sticks are made from tibias (for individuals who prefer a thinner, faster club) or femurs (for the type who like a big bludgeon with a knot on the end). Modern Necromancers are just as likely to use the patella to create a ghost-punishing weapon far easier to conceal.
••••• Grasp the Ghostly
Requiring a full six hours of chanting, this ritual allows a necromancer to bring an object from the Underworld into the real world. It’s not as simple as all that, however — a wraith might well object to having his possessions stolen and fight back. Furthermore, the object taken must be replaced by a material item of roughly equal mass, otherwise the target of the ritual snaps back to its previous, ghostly existence. Objects taken from the Underworld tend to fade away after about a year. Only items recently destroyed in the real world (called “relics” by wraiths) may be recaptured in this manner.
••••• Chill of Oblivion
Performed over the course of 12 hours, this ritual infuses the Necromancer or a willing subject with the very cold of the grave. The ritual’s material component is a one-foot cube of ice, which is slowly melted on the subject’s chest (inflicting three health levels of bashing damage on mortal subjects). The subject must lie naked on bare earth for the entire duration of the ritual. Once the ritual is completed, its effects remain for night per success. An individual affected by the Chill of Oblivion treats aggravated damage from fire and high temperatures as if it were lethal damage. Furthermore, he may attempt to extinguish any fire. The subject’s aura is laced with writhing black veins that resemble those left by diablerie and may well be mistaken for such by any observer who is not familiar with this ritual. The subject also radiates a palpable aura of cold that extends to about arm’s length from him; this can be extremely disconcerting to mortals, though it causes no damage, and its game effects minor those of the Flaws: Touch of Frost and Eerie Presence. Finally, the mystical nimbus of the ritual draws hostile ghosts to the subject, who may plague him, with unwholesome acts.
••••• Chair of Hades
The necromancer acquires a corpse's femur and tibia bones- decreasing the difficulty of the casting if he robs the grave himself. He wraps the bones in coarse cloth and then encases them in wood or metal so the their lengths match and they become capable of bearing weight. He then builds a chair, each encased bone forms one of its legs. If a blood descendant of the corpse sits in the chair, she loses all desire to do anything but sit in the chair. She leaves the chair only to quickly fulfill basic bodily needs. Even if the victim is forcibly removed from the chair, she does everything she can to sit in it once more. Lasts until the chair is destroyed. In addition to the time it takes to acquire the bones, the construction of the chair takes at least 8 hours.
Like Tempesta Scudo, Esilio is a quick and dirty ritual. The Necromancer simply speaks five syllables. No one can identify the casting language (at least, no Giovanni is telling if he has). According to the ritual’s oblique history, this power of Necromancy came from the bloodline that preceded the Giovanni, and that the language is what God gave humankind before the confusion of Babel. The legend further states that while the particular meaning of the words is lost, they are what Caine’s father said to him while exiling him to Nod.
Regardless of the truth of the matter, the Words of Exile are not spoken lightly. When the ritual is cast successfully, it opens a hole within reality itself - a rip between the lands of the living and the darkest depths of the Underworld. This tear is invisible to normal vision, but to Shroudsight it looks like a pitch black vortex opening within the vampire’s own body (the very few unfortunate enough to look into the gap with high levels of Auspex are generally unwilling or unable to discuss what they beheld within). Any wraith - ''spirito'' or ''spettro'' - clutched to the Kindred’s chest is instantly torn to shreds. Grabbing a ghost in this fashion requires a Clinch or Tackle maneuver. As usual with destroyed spirits, they don’t come back for at least a month, if ever. A spirito destroyed in this fashion tends to return as a spettro, if it returns at all.
The Necromancer may clutch and destroy a number of spirits equal to the number of successes she rolled. After that, the vortex closes. It closes at the end of the scene if it hasn’t already. Of course, using one’s body as a portal between our world and what a reasonably intelligent person might call Hell is neither simple nor healthy. For starters, it costs a blood point and a point of Willpower (which does not give an automatic success on the ritual roll). More importantly, each success rolled inflicts a level of unsoakable lethal damage on the Necromancer. Most importantly, every use of Esilio permanently reduces the Necromancer’s Humanity by one point.
• Voodoo Snuff
Voodoo Snuff is harvested from the leaves of a tobacco plant grown on a murderer's grave and then steeped in a mixture of grave mold, dust ground from the bones of dead men, and mandrake root. The Necromancer then summons a wraith who joins him in a chant over the concoction (Int + Occult, diff. 7). After it has been dried out, the Snuff may be smoked or chewed to enjoy its benefits.
System: Ingesting Voodoo Snuff grants the Necromancer a -1 modifier to the difficulty of all Necromantic magic for that scene. Necromantic Rituals do not benefit from the use of Voodoo Snuff. The effect lasts for one scene.
• Knowing Stone
By use of his own blood and the proper rituals, a houngan can mark a person's spirit, allowing the vampire to see where his subject is at any time, even after he has died. In this fashion many of the spirit-haunted vampires keep tabs on their close kin and their enemies.
The houngan bleeds herself, then uses the vitae to paint the name of the target on a consecrated stone. If the ritual is successful, she can afterward learn the target's current whereabouts by dancing around the stone in trance state until the Baron or one of his petro loas whispers the desired information into her ear. The stone loses its power on the night of All Saints Day unless the houngan spends a blood point.
System: As with all Necromancy Rituals, the base roll is Intelligence + Occult (diff 7). The houngan must know the target's name. Typically, it is easier to mark the spirit of someone the houngan knows (raise difficulty by 2 for those he has never met and by 1 for those he's met only in passing, and lower the difficulty by 1 for those the houngan knows well). The stone loses its power on the night of All Saints Day.
Additionally, it is not always so easy to curry the Baron's favor. The houngan must roll Dex + Performace (diff 6) to determine if his dance has pleased the Baron. Each success will reveal more detailed information about his target's current location (umbra, region, city, street, etc), narrowing in on the target.
This dance must be performed each time the houngan wishes to learn his target's location (and the roll made again). The houngan may only call on the Baron to reveal his target's whereabouts once every 24 hours (one roll/day).
This effect does not give information about the nature of the target's location or what the target's status is.
•• Part the Veil
Called the 6th Sense ritual by young Kindred who enjoy pop culture references, this allows the Necromancer to grant someone else the ability to see wraiths and the Shadowlands as though they'd invoked Shroud Sight. The necromancer spends several moments chanting over an object representing the subject (hair, fingernail or a prized possession, for example) and a fresh human eye.
System: If the subject is Kindred, he may resist with a Willpower roll, difficulty 6; successes on this roll are subtracted from the caster's total successes. The caster's roll for this ritual is the standard Intelligence + Occult (diff. 7) roll.
If the power is successful, the victim sees the spirits and abodes of the dead overlaid with the living world for a number of scenes (if Kindred) or nights (if mortal) equal to the caster's successes. This can drive mortals mad - or at least to make their friends think they are.
•• Two Centimes
The houngan ceremonially "kills" a mortal, laying him out on a pallet in he middle of her houmfor and putting pennies on his eyes. The mortal's soul journeys to the underworld, which he perceives, initially at least, as the way-station where voudoun believers congregate after death. The mortal can interact with the souls of the dead and travel elsewhere in the underworld, while also retaining the power to speak to the houngan and describe what he's experiencing. While in the underworld, however, the subject's soul cannot affect the environment. Although he may talk to other spirits, he may not physically interact with them or their surroundings - he is a "ghost among ghosts," as it were.
Minions may voluntarily undergo the ritual to assist houngans. Houngans may use Two Centimes to terrify unwilling victims (doing so requires a contested Willpower roll, however). What the houngan might do to an unwilling victim who successfully resists this Ritual is another question entirely…
System: The houngan rolls Int + Occult (diff 7) to determine how strong of a connection his victim makes to the land of the dead.
1 Success The connection is tenuous, and the victim sees only foggy, indistinct shapes and hears ghostly whispers he must strain to understand.
2 Successes The connection is less tenuous. The victim can make out shapes more clearly and no longer has to strain to understand the ghostly whispers of others in the shadowlands.
3 Successes At this point the connection becomes stronger. The victim is able to make out solid shapes, and can hear clearly - if mutedly - as though listening through a pair of headphones.
4 Successes The victim is able to see and hear clearly in the Shadowlands.
5+ Successes The victim is able not only to see and hear clearly, but may even be able to pick out details he might otherwise not have noticed (-1 diff on Perception-based rolls for duration).
This Ritual lasts for one scene.
••• Eyes of the Dead
The caster may see through the eyes (and hear through the ears) of a corpse. The body can have been dead any length of time if the caster wishes to see through its eyes (or sockets), but it must retain at least the inner mechanisms of its ears if the magician also wishes to hear.
While chanting, the caster sheds a point of her own blood (for sight or hearing, two points to use both) over either a piece of anatomy taken from the corpse or a possession of great importance to the individual in life, such as a wedding ring or family heirloom. The magician must be able to see the corpse while casting, though it need not be close enough to touch.
System: The ritual lasts for a numbre of nights equal to the necromancer's successes on her Intelligence + Occult roll (diff. 7), and she may switch back and forth from her own senses to those of the corpse at will. This ritual functions on corpses made animate through other uses of Necromancy (or other Disciplines), but the duration decreases to one scene per success.
Eyes of the Dead does not require a complete corpse - only a relatively intact head is needed - but the difficulty of the ritual increases by 1 if a partial corpse is used.
Note that this is not a spiritual possession of the corpse (See Garb of Hades, below), but a simple transfer of sensory input. The caster may not speak through the corpse or use disciplines originating from the corpse, but may use Disciplines normally which require him to see or hear his target if the corpse is able to do so (for example, the caster cannot use Mask of a Thousand Faces to mask the corpse's appearance, but he could still use Auspex to see another Kindred using Unseen Presence through the corpse's eyes).
••• Nightmare Drums
The houngan using this ritual sends the dead to haunt the dreams of an enemy, using the wraiths to drive an opponent slowly insane. Once the ritual is cast, the houngan has no control over this power, save to stop it from continuing. The shape of the nightmares and the images that assault the target are not under the control of the houngan; they are under the control of the wraiths who actually do the haunting.
The houngan uses his own blood and a personal possession of the target's in this ritual. Once the item has been coated with blood, the houngan must burn the item, sending a ghostly icon of it to the Shadowlands both as an identifying badge and as a reward to the spirits who agree to haunt the target. While the item burns, the houngan (and assistants, if available) pound out a relentless beat on gigantic drums, headed in human skin. The drums are inaudible in this realm but thunderous in the underwater home of the dead. To silence the deafening drums, the wraiths resignedly agree to negotiate with the houngan. They promise to send nightmares (See the Nightmares Flaw) to the victim for as long as the houngan demands, in return for a favor. Their request normally runs along the lines of passing a message to a living relative or exacting revenge against someone who slighted them.
1 Success One hour
2 Successes One day
3 Successes One week
4 Successes One month
5+ Successes One year
••• *Blood Dance
The Blood Dance allows a spirit to communicate with a living relative. They perform this ritual for people in exchange for money or favors.
The houngan must dance and chant for two hours, calling forth the right spirit and entreating all other ghosts to leave the area (As usual, the power of this ritual means nothing to Baron Samedi should he choose to manifest himself). While dancing, the vampire pours colored sands and ocean salt on the ground in a precise pattern and then makes the link between the living person and the deceased associate. If successful (Int + Occult, diff. 7), the wraith "appears" within the houngan's sand-sigil and the living person can communicate with her for one hour. Failure means the spirit could not be contacted.
•••• Baleful Doll
A baleful doll is a powerful figure that is linked directly to the spirit of the target. This doll must be handcrafted, and is only finished when it has been painted with the vitae of the houngan and dressed in some article of clothing from the victim - which should be unwashed for a better connection. Once the doll has been cursed, the houngan can use it to cause physical damage to the target.
The houngan must craft the doll, using ritual chants throughout the process. This normally takes four to five hours - a doll that does not resemble its victim is useless for the purposes of this ritual, though some houngans sell them as "authentic voodoo dolls" to tourists.
System: To create the connection between the doll and the victim's spirit, the player must roll Intelligence + Occult (diff 7; three successes are necessary to successfully bind the connection to the doll). This is a simple pass/fail roll - partial successes do not count.
The player makes an extended Dexterity + Crafts (diff. 8) and must accrue seven successes within five rolls to craft this crude wooden doll in the given time frame. If he cannot fashion a likeness of his intended victim to solidify the connection between the doll and his victim, the ritual fails.
If the doll is physically destroyed, the target suffers six dice of bashing damage. As this damage is done to the target's spirit, this damage cannot be soaked. Each time the houngan uses the doll, he must roll Intelligence + Occult (diff 6) to determine the amount of damage inflicted upon the target. Damage done to the doll through normal use may be soaked normally by the target. Please see table below.
Conversely, every time a Baleful Doll is used, the target is permitted to roll Perception + Empathy (diff. 6; three successes required) to get a general sense of where the Baleful Doll (and the houngan using it, if still present) is located. This is not an active beacon; if the doll is used and relocated, the target has to wait until it is used again before he can learn its new location.
A Baleful Doll lasts until the victim's scrap of clothing has been removed from it or it has done a total of twenty Health Levels damage to the victim. As long as it remains unwashed, a scrap of clothing from one victim may be used from one doll to create the next, affecting the same victim.
Note that a doll which has been 'used up' or had the target's clothing removed simply severs the connection to the target, and the target takes no additional damage as the doll was not 'physically' destroyed.
Int + Occult (diff 6) to use the Baleful Doll (soaked normally):
1 Success One Health Level (Bashing)
2 Successes Two Health Levels (Bashing)
3 Successes Two Health Levels (Lethal)
4 Successes Three Health Levels (Lethal)
5+ Successes One Health Level (Aggravated against supernaturals)
••••• Dead Man's Hand
The houngan takes a rag stained in the blood, sweat, or tears of the intended victim. She takes a freshly severed human hand (which can come from a corpse or a living "donor") and closes it around the rag. As the hand decomposes, so does the victim. His flesh bloats, turns gray and then green, then starts to slough off. The victim's brain remains fresh until the very end, so he can see the maggots writhe in the putrescent rack of meat that once was his healthy body.
System: The houngan makes the standard roll (Int + Occult, diff. 7; three or more successes required) and spends two blood points for each point of Stamina possessed by the victim. The victim loses health levels according to the timetable below. Only the removal of the rag from the hand can stop the process. If this happens, health levels return, also according to the chart below.
Health Level Time Until Next Loss
Bruised 12 Hours
Hurt 12 Hours
Injured Six Hours
Wounded Three Hours
Mauled One Hour
Crippled 30 Minutes
Incapacitated 12 Hours
Mortal characters who suffer more than 12 hours of incapacitation die, while Kindred who remain Incapacitated for more than 12 hours succumb to torpor.
While suffering from the effects of Dead Man's Hand, the victim always has a general idea of where the hand is located, and would be instinctually aware that it was the source of his decrepitude if he saw it (i.e., If the hand were being stored in a lockbox at the bank vault, he'd automatically know that it was somewhere in the bank, but not where in the bank).
••••• Garb of Hades
Similar in some ways to Daemonic Possession, Garb of Hades allows the necromancer to inhabit a recently dead body, leaving her own form in a torpor-like state. The body may have been dead for no longer than 30 minutes before the ritual begins. The caster dresses herself in the clothes the subject wore at the time of death (the ritual must be performed nude if the subject died that way).
System: The caster spends rolls Int + Occult, difficulty 7, and spends two blood points, symbolically "breathing" into the corpse's mouth. At that point, the caster inhabits the corpse and reanimates it.
While in the corpse, the caster has access to the subject's memories (Wits + Empathy, diff. 7 to recall a specific memory - successes determine clarity of recall), though only those from the past several days and nights are clear (1 week maximum). The caster may even access the subject's Abilities (Wits + Empathy, diff. 7 for Skills or Knowledges - Talents should be treated reflexively), though only one dot of each, regardless of the subject's original level of mastery.
The magician does not gain access to the subject's supernatural abilities, if any (such as Disciplines, shapeshifting or other powers). The ritual lasts a number of scenes equal to the caster's successes when casting; after a time, the body rapidly decays and the caster returns to her own body.