"What is life? It is the beginning of death. What is death? It is the end of life."---- Coffin Joe
Once classified as Mortis by the Cappadocians. The Giovanni have redefined their inherited powers.
The Ash Path Edit
The Ash Path allows necromancers to peer into the lands of the dead, and even affect things there. Of the paths of Necromancy, the Ash Path is the most perilous to learn, because many of the path’s uses increase a necromancer’s vulnerability to wraiths.
Shroudsight allows a necromancer to see through the
Shroud, the mystical barrier that separates the living
world from the Underworld. By using this power, the
vampire can spot ghostly buildings and items, the landscape
of the so-called Shadowlands, and even wraiths
themselves. However, an observant wraith may notice
when a vampire suddenly starts staring at him, which
can lead to unpleasant consequences.
System: A simple roll of Perception + Awareness
(difficulty 7) allows a necromancer to utilize Shroudsight.
The effects last for a scene.
•• Lifeless Tongues
Where Shroudsight allows a necromancer to see
ghosts, Lifeless Tongues allows her to converse with
them effortlessly. Once Lifeless Tongues is employed,
the vampire can carry on a conversation with the denizens
of the ghostly Underworld without spending blood
or causing the wraiths to expend any effort.
System: To use Lifeless Tongues requires a roll of
Perception + Occult (difficulty 6) and the expenditure
of a Willpower point.
••• Dead Hand
Similar to the Sepulchre Path power Torment, Dead
Hand allows a necromancer to reach across the Shroud
and affect a ghostly object as if it were in the real world.
Ghosts are solid to necromancers using this power,
and can be attacked. Furthermore, the necromancer
can pick up ghostly items, scale ghostly architecture
(giving real-world bystanders the impression that he’s
climbing on air!), and generally exist in two worlds.
On the other hand, a necromancer using Dead Hand is
quite solid to the residents of the Underworld — and
to whatever hostilities they might have.
System: The player spends a point of Willpower and
makes a successful Wits + Occult roll (difficulty 7) to
activate Dead Hand for one scene. For each additional
scene the vampire wishes to remain in contact with
the Underworld, he must spend a point of blood.
•••• Ex Nihilo
Ex Nihilo allows a necromancer to enter the Underworld
physically. While in the lands of the dead,
the vampire is essentially a particularly solid ghost. He
maintains his normal number of health levels, but can
be hurt only by things that inflict aggravated damage
on ghosts (weapons forged from souls, certain ghostly
powers, etc.). A vampire physically in the Underworld
can pass through solid objects in the real world (at the
cost of one health level) and remain “incorporeal” for
a number of turns equal to her Stamina rating. On the
other hand, vampires present in the Underworld are
subject to all of the Underworld’s perils, including ultimate
destruction. A vampire killed in the realm of the
dead is gone forever, beyond even the reach of other
System: Using Ex Nihilo takes a tremendous toll on
the necromancer. To activate this power, the vampire
must first draw a doorway with chalk or blood on any
available surface. (The vampire may draw doors ahead
of time for exactly this purpose.) The player must then
expend two points of Willpower and two points of
blood before making a Stamina + Occult roll (difficulty
8) as the vampire attempts to open the chalk door
physically. If the roll succeeds, the door opens and the
vampire steps through into the Underworld.
When the vampire wishes to return to the real world,
he merely needs to concentrate (and the player spends
another Willpower point and rolls Stamina + Occult,
difficulty 6). At Storyteller discretion, a vampire who
is too deeply immersed in the Underworld may need
to journey to a place close to the lands of the living in
order to cross over. Vampires who wander too far into
the lands of the dead may be trapped there forever.
Vampires in the Underworld cannot feed upon
ghosts without the use of another power; their only
sustenance is the blood they bring with them.
••••• Shroud Mastery
Shroud Mastery offers the Kindred the ability to
manipulate the veil between the worlds of the living
and the dead. By doing so, a necromancer can make
it easier for bound wraiths in his service to function,
or make it nearly impossible for ghosts to contact the
System: To exercise Shroud Mastery, the necromancer
expends two points of Willpower, then states
whether he is attempting to raise or lower the Shroud.
The player then makes a Willpower roll (difficulty 9).
Each success on the roll raises or lowers the difficulties
of all nearby wraiths’ attempts to cross the Shroud in
any way by one, to a maximum of 10 or a minimum of
3. The Shroud reverts to its normal strength at a rate of
one point per hour thereafter.
Path of Cattiveria Edit
Cattiveria is an Italian word meaning, quite simply,“wickedness.” Its development took generations of blood and sacrifice, such that it lives up to its name in both practice and spirit. Cattiveria, also called necromancy in some circles, is nothing less than the practice of manipulating the tainted essence of death toward such ends as raising seeping cadavers and enslaving specters and ghosts.
In practice, Cattiveria is almost more of a scholarly pursuit than an occult discipline, its practitioners more like engineers than occultists, even though its workings universally demand the trappings of black magic — if only to cement in the Necromancer’s mind the grim reality of what he has set out to do. Almost no application of this discipline can be enacted on the fly, instead typically requiring candles to be lit and blood to be shed in addition to whatever bizarre trappings please the Necromancer’s sense of drama.
• Mortician’s Appraisal
Years of studying death and medicine have attuned the senses regarding corpses and the peculiarm taint that distinguishes grave dirt from the soil around it. By laying his hands on a cadaver and closing his eyes in concentration, the vampire can discover hidden truths about the corpse, such as the person’s name, her undamaged appearance, how the person died, how long she has been dead and other minor facts.
Alternatively, the Necromancer may apply this power to the study of an area, standing in its midst and shutting his eyes in quiet meditation, thereby detecting any corpses that may be buried or hidden nearby. Necromancers describe this power as briefly reaching out and touching on the realm of death, either listening to the lingering echo of living souls.
Dice Pool: Wits + Medicine + Cattiveria
Dramatic Failure: The vampire receives misleading information, such as incorrectly assessing a corpse, sensing several corpses where none are buried or sensing empty ground where bodies are interred.
Failure: Nothing happens. The vampire concentrates for a moment, but he receives no useful information.
Success: Visions relevant to the information appear in the vampire’s mind’s eye, revealing information that only he can see or hear. If the character is studying a corpse, the player may ask the Storyteller one question per success rolled. The information available includes the corpse’s name, its undamaged description (for example, what its face looked like if its head is missing), the clinical cause of its death, the nature of any foreign materials in the body (including both material and chemical matter), the location and likely cause of any wounds and the exact time and date of its death. Note that the corpse is not “responding” to the vampire’s inquiry — the information is revealing itself. There is no conversation between the user of Mortician’s Appraisal and the spirit of the departed.
When Mortician’s Appraisal is used on an area, each success extends the vampire’s senses 10 yards out and 10 feet up and down, revealing to him the location of any and all corpses, human or otherwise, that are buried or hidden within that area. The vampire’s sense of any bodies in the area persists for a scene, or until he takes any action other than moving at a slow walk. If this power is used on a vampire, the roll is contested by the target’s Resolve + Composure. If the user’s successes exceed those of the target’s, the questions can be asked as normal, or the body can be located. Note that the clinical cause of a vampire’s death is always exsanguination. No information about the Embrace will be provided.
Exceptional Success: An exceptional success in examining a corpse allows the vampire to learn all of the information listed above in a flash of insight. If the character is attempting to locate bodies, an exceptional success allows the vampire to maintain the sense even while taking other actions, for the duration of the scene.
•• Shuffling Porter
This power imparts weak animation to a corpse, whole or otherwise. The Shuffling Porter retains none of its body’s former intelligence. It is a simple automaton, capable only of performing unchallenging tasks as directed by its master. This power can be used on a single limb, if desired, but must be used once for each separate piece being animated.
To activate this power, the vampire barks a short phrase in an obscene, guttural cant, commanding the corpse to rise. The power of the vampire’s Blood draws plasmic energies of spirit into the corpse, mobilizing it.
Auspex-users may catch a flicker, similar to static, of a black, oily mist — what the Sangiovanni call ectoplasm — coalescing around a cold corpse before the body moans and shudders, clambering to its feet to do the Necromancer’s bidding. The servants thus created are cold, with grayish skin and all the marks of death still upon them, shambling about stupidly and responding only to the simplest commands. These animated corpses rot at an accelerated rate, burning off ectoplasm and collapsing in a matter of hours.
Cost: 1 Vitae per corpse
Dice Pool: Intelligence + Occult + Cattiveria
Dramatic Failure: A horrible backlash occurs. Not only does the corpse fail to rise, but the Necromancer takes a level of aggravated damage as the mysterious force that animates his own body flickers in brief failure.
Failure: Nothing happens. The corpse remains a corpse.
Success: The corpse rises as directed. The Shuffling Porter is a mindless creature, responding only to the simple commands of its master. It cannot be mentally or socially manipulated.
Shuffling Porters have an effective rating of 1 in all Physical Attributes and 0 in all Social and Mental Attributes, and they have no Abilities. Their Defense is 0, and their Speed is 2. Their initial Health rating is equal to the number of successes achieved on the activation roll, and they take one level of lethal damage every hour as they rot. When the lethal damage they take equals their Health rating, they collapse into a mass of rotten flesh and cannot be animated again. Until collapsing, the animated corpse suffers no wound penalties.
Exceptional Success: Shuffling Porters created with an exceptional success gain three extra Health levels upon activation.
••• Ectoplasmic Manifestation
At this level of understanding, they can summon and manipulate the black plasm of spiritual energy.
They produce this gauzy, visible, weightless substance from any orifice in her body (usually the nose or mouth), and can apply it to heal wounds suffered by vampires or animated corpses.
Cost: 1 Vitae
Dice Pool: Strength + Crafts + Cattiveria
Dramatic Failure: Ectoplasm appears, but it rips itself violently out of the vampire’s body, doing one level of aggravated damage to the user, and dissipates before it can be used.
Failure: The vampire fails to produce the ectoplasm.
Success: The ectoplasm is produced harmlessly, and floats in the air before the vampire, who may then manipulate it. By applying the ectoplasm directly to a wound, the vampire may heal one level of lethal damage (or two levels of bashing damage) in a Kindred body or other animated corpse (such as a Shuffling Porter). The ectoplasm is absorbed into the body as it is used, sinking into the flesh and vanishing from normal sight.
This plasm is not composed directly of vampiric Vitae, and possesses none of the qualities of Vitae; the plasm cannot be ingested.
Exceptional Success: Double the normal quantity of ectoplasm is produced, and two actions to heal can be performed with it before it is dissipated.
•••• The Predator’s Bequest
Advanced understanding of the art of Cattiveria allows a vampire to learn how to imbue his animated servants with a measure of his own power and predatory instinct. With a symbolic kiss, he pushes a point of his Vitae into the corpse, awakening it and further empowering it.
Before this power can be used, the target corpse must be animated as a Shuffling Porter, above.
Cost: 1 Vitae per corpse
Dice Pool: Intelligence + Occult + Cattiveria
Dramatic Failure: The Vitae is wasted and the corpse is paralyzed by the botched attempt, completely unable to move or act for the remainder of its existence.
Failure: The awakening of the corpse fails. It may continue operation as a normal Shuffling Porter.
Success: The animated corpse is empowered and becomes more capable and more dangerous than a normal Shuffling Porter. The corpse’s Strength and Stamina rise to 4 each (adding 3 to its Maximum Health rating as well), and its Intelligence and Wits rise to 1 each.
The corpse gains one dot of the Brawl Ability, with a specialty in Grappling. The corpse can comprehend more complicated commands, and will be imbued with the predatory nature of its master, who it will guard with fierce loyalty.
Shuffling Porters gifted with the Predator’s Bequest stop taking damage from accelerated rot, and can only be destroyed by violent means. They do not heal damage naturally, requiring the application of ectoplasm for repair.
Exceptional Success: In addition to the attributes gained above, the Shuffling Porter inherits a second dot of Brawl and one dot of any other Ability the vampire possesses, as chosen by the vampire.
••••• Ultimo Respiro
The Last Breath, is a truly horrifying spectacle. By invoking her power to the limit, a Sangiovanni can forcibly rip the animating plasm from a walking corpse, damaging it hideously in the process. Animated corpses are unmade in an instant, and vampires suffer terrible wounds. When this power is used, the vampire literally tears visible ectoplasm from the victim’s body, leaving a deep scar in its wake. He must touch the victim, flesh to flesh, and then whip back, pulling the ectoplasm away.
The plasm so removed dissipates in seconds and cannot be used for any other purpose. This power may only be used once on a given victim per night, no matter how many vampires attempt to use it.
Cost: 1 Willpower
Dice Pool: Intelligence + Crafts + Cattiveria – Resolve?
+ Blood Potency
Dramatic Failure: The power catastrophically backfires,rending the Necromancer’s own plasm, which rips itself out through his heart and deals one level of aggravated damage as it goes, leaving a roughly circular scar on his chest.
Failure: The power fails to activate.
Success: The target, which must be some form of walking dead, takes one point of lethal damage per success rolled. The plasm that evacuates the body leaves agonizing burns in its path, searing whorls and loops of tissue before vanishing.
Characters with Auspex may see the plasm whip out of the victim’s body, curling and dissolving in the air around him.
Exceptional Success: As above, but the target is wracked with paralyzing pain and cannot act (except to defend himself) for the duration of the next turn.
The Cenotaph Path Edit
Practitioners of the Cenotaph Path are primarily
concerned with discovering or forging links between
the living world and the Shadowlands. It functions
on the principle that a Kindred, already a corpse, is
an unnatural bridge between the living and the dead,
and the necromancer can use this to find other, similar
linkages. The basic rudiments of the Cenotaph Path
function easily enough once the Kindred learns to attune
himself to these connections. Advanced mastery
of the path usually entails some brief ritual to forge artificial
connections, either through focusing unsavory
passions or commanding this world and the Shadowlands
• A Touch of Death
Just as a necromancer may exert mastery over the
Shadowlands, so too can some ghosts exert themselves
in the mortal world. Whereas obvious displays
of ghostly power such as bleeding walls or disembodied
moans certainly won’t be mistaken, some ghostly abilities
exert subtle effects that aren’t easily recognized.
A necromancer sensitized to the residue of the dead,
though, can feel whether an object has been touched
by a ghost or sense the recent passage of a wraith.
System: The necromancer simply touches a person or
object that he suspects is a victim of ghostly influence.
The player rolls Perception + Awareness (difficulty 6).
If successful, the necromancer can determine whether
a ghost has exerted any sort of power on the subject, or
even crossed nearby, to the duration detailed below.
1 success Last turn; detect use of ghostly powers
2 successes Last three turns; detect use of ghostly
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
On a failure, the necromancer receives no impressions.
A botch reveals a misleading answer (an object
may seem tinged with ghostly power when it’s not, or
vice versa). Should the necromancer succeed in detection
while touching an object or person that a ghost
is possessing, he immediately becomes aware that the
ghost is still inside. The impression gained in such a
case is sufficient to count as an image of the spirit for
purposes of the Sepulchre Path’s powers, so the Kindred
may be able to (for example) immediately command
a ghost to exit a person whom it possesses.
•• Reveal the Catene
Necromantic compulsions function much more effectively
when the caster uses an object of significance
to the ghost in question. Such fetters tie the dead to
the living lands through their remembered importance
— a favored recliner for relaxing, a reviled piece of art
foisted off by hated relatives, or some object of similarly
intense emotion. Many necromancers can detect such
catene through the use of rituals (see Ritual of the Unearthed
Fetter, p. 181). With this power, though, the
necromancer can determine a fetter with just a few moments
of handling. The Kindred simply runs his hands
over the object and concentrates on it. He quickly
receives an impression of the item’s (or person’s) importance
to wraiths, if any; should the wraith be one
known to the necromancer, he immediately recognizes
the object as a fetter to that (or those) ghost(s). Successful
identification of a connected ghost is not exclusive;
that is, if the vampire determines that the object
is important to a given wraith, he can also determine if
there are other ghosts tied to the item, though he must
use the power again to gain their identities.
Many necromancers use this power on objects already
identified with A Touch of Death, in order to
determine whether the ghost is trying to attune a given
fetter or simply toying with the world of the living.
System: The necromancer holds and examines the
object for at least three turns — if it’s an item, this
means turning it over in his hands, running his fingers
along it, or otherwise giving it a critical eye; with
a person, this may require a more… invasive… examination.
The player then spends a blood point and
rolls Perception + Occult (difficulty 7). If successful,
the Kindred determines whether the object holds any
significance to any ghost and, with three or more successes,
the identity of at least one such ghost (which
allows the Kindred to use the Sepulchre Path on that
wraith, if desired). If the necromancer already knows
any of the ghosts involved, their ties are revealed with
their identity — so, if the necromancer already knows
a wraith well enough to summon and compel it with
other powers, successful identification of a fetter tells
whether the object is tied to that ghost, in addition to
any other impressions gained.
If a botch is scored, the necromancer can never successfully
use this power on the item being examined.
••• Tread Upon the Grave
The extended awareness granted with the Cenotaph
Path allows the necromancer to find locations where
the Shadowlands and the living world come close.
Often, the necromancer experiences a chill or shiver
when stepping into an area where the Underworld lies
near the living one. With practice, the vampire can
tell exactly where such locations are.
Experienced necromancers learn that certain locations
are susceptible to ghostly influence; these haunted
areas often become homes of a sort for ghosts. A
knowledgeable vampire can thus discover places where
the dead are likely to congregate, the better to snare
them with other Necromancy powers.
System: The player simply declares intent to sense
the Shroud in an area and makes a Willpower roll
(difficulty 8). Success reveals whether the location is
highly attuned to the Shadowlands, about average (not
particularly close to the world of the dead), or far removed
from the realm of death. A failing attempt at
using the power has no adverse effect, though it may
be attempted only once per scene (so the necromancer
must either wait for a time or move to a different area
before attempting Tread Upon the Grave once more).
A botch stuns the necromancer into inaction for a full
turn and costs him a temporary Willpower point, as he
is overcome by shivers and a sense of overwhelming
With three or more successes, the necromancer can
determine whether the Shroud’s strength has been artificially
altered in the area.
•••• Death Knell
Not all who die go on to become ghosts — many
lack the drive to hang on after death or simply have no
overwhelming needs that compel them to stick around.
Normally, even necromancers have no way to sort
those who might become ghosts from the masses who
go on to whatever rewards await. Over time, though, a
necromancer can become sensitized to the pull that occurs
when a soul escapes from a body only to hover in
wait, enslaved by its desires. The weight of desperation
becomes like a tangible tug, and some necromancers
savor this emotion even as they follow the sensation to
find the new ghost.
Of course, actually discovering the new ghost can be
problematic. The Kindred may need some means to see
through the Shroud or may have to send other wraiths
to look for the new unfortunate, especially if a large
accident or massacre leaves too many corpses for the
necromancer to easily discern and test names.
System: Whenever someone dies and becomes a
ghost within a half-mile or kilometer of the necromancer,
she automatically senses the demise (though many
choose to ignore this “always-on” power unless actively
seeking someone). This power does not automatically
pinpoint the location of the new ghost or identify it,
but the player may spend one Willpower point and roll
Perception + Occult (difficulty 7) for the necromancer
to gain a vague sense of the distance and direction to
the new wraith. With one success, the Kindred may
sense a vague pull in a general direction; with three
successes, the necromancer can sense the direction and
guess distance to within a quarter-mile or half a kilometer.
With five successes, the necromancer immediately
senses the location of the new ghost to within
one foot or 30 cm. A failure carries no penalty but a
botched attempt sends the necromancer scurrying off
in the wrong direction.
The Storyteller may rule that disturbances in the
Underworld, intervening magic, or other similar phenomena
cloud this sensation, simply to prevent overburdening
a chronicle with constant ghost-hunting
and dice rolling.
••••• Ephemeral Binding
The most puissant necromancers learn not only to
sense the ties between living and dead, but to forge
such ties themselves. The master of Ephemeral Binding
turns an otherwise mundane object or person into a
depository for his own necromantic energy. The undying
Curse transforms the subject into a sort of linkage
between the living and dead. The necromancer smears
his blood on the item in question, which mystically absorbs
the vitae and, in doing so, becomes a vessel to
anchor a spirit.
System: The necromancer must coat an object with
his blood (a full blood point’s worth); if the subject is
a person, then that individual must ingest the vitae.
The player marks off the blood point, spends a point
of Willpower, and rolls Manipulation + Occult (difficulty
8). If successful, the item temporarily becomes
a fetter to one wraith. If the Kindred already knows
the name of the wraith or has a strong psychic impression,
then the object can become a fetter at any range,
even to a ghost who normally does not come near the
living world (so long as the ghost still exists). Otherwise,
the necromancer must be able to see or sense the
ghost (with Witness of Death, Shroudsight, or other
A fetter artificially created in this fashion functions
for all necromantic and ghostly purposes as a normal
fetter: It can be detected with other Necromancy powers,
the vampire gains a bonus to Necromancy against
the wraith attuned to it, and the ghost similarly finds
exertion of its powers easier upon the subject (so the
vampire might turn an unwitting ghoul into a consort
for a wraith familiar with possession…). The ghost can
sink into the fetter to heal; conversely, if the fetter is
destroyed, the wraith is banished to some inaccessible
region of the Underworld, perhaps never to return.
A fetter created with Ephemeral Binding lasts for
one night per success scored. The expenditure of an additional
point of Willpower increases this duration to
a week per success, whereas spending a permanent dot
of Willpower extends the duration to a year and a day.
Botching with this power not only causes failure but
also makes the ghost immediately aware of what the
necromancer was trying to do. Most ghosts do not take
kindly to meddling
The Corpse in the Monster Edit
This path enhances the necromantic understanding of the unliving form and allows the user to fully experience the corpse as a gateway between life and death.
The path lets the vampire apply some of a corpse’s traits to a vampire, and she can enhance or reduce these traits at various levels of the power.
• Masque of Death
The character with this ability can assume a visage of death or inflict that shape on another vampire. The victim’s flesh becomes pallid and thin (if it is not already), and skin pulls tight against bone. This ability can be very useful, as it allows one to hide in plain sight in a tomb or crypt at any time (though the character remains as vulnerable to sunlight and fire as ever).
When a necromancer uses this power on another Kindred, the victim gains the same corpselike demeanor. In this sense, the ability works as something of a minor curse.
System: The player spends one blood point for the character to gain the form described. Those afflicted with the Masque of Death lose two points of Dexterity and Appearance (minimum of 1 in Dexterity and 0 in Appearance) for the duration of the power. The player also gets two extra dice to his Intimidation dice pool, should he wish to terrify any onlookers. Further, if the character remains perfectly still, observers must roll five successes on a Perception + Medicine roll (difficulty 7) to distinguish the character from a normal corpse. The player doesn’t need to roll anything to have the character stop moving — vampires have no autonomic functions.
If the user inflicts Masque of Death on another vampire, he must spend a blood point, touch the target, and then make a Stamina + Medicine roll (difficulty equal to the target’s Stamina + 3). The Masque of Death lasts until the next sunset, unless the character who created the masque wishes to extinguish its effects earlier.
•• Cold of the Grave
The dead feel no pain, though most undead do. With this ability, the character can temporarily take on the unfeeling semblance of the dead, in order to protect herself from physical and emotional harm. When assuming the Cold of the Grave, the vampire’s skin becomes unusually cold. When she speaks, her breath mists even in warm air — those with exceptional senses might even see a slight red tinge to the breath.
The power brings a sense of lethargy over the character, as a mortal might feel under the influence of a mildly unpleasant disease. It becomes difficult to rouse oneself to action, and very little seems important enough to really worry about. A corpse has no worries, after all.
System: The player spends one Willpower point. For the remainder of the scene, the character takes no wound penalties, and the player gains an additional die to all dice pools that involve resisting emotional manipulation, such as Intimidation or Empathy. However, the player also loses a die from dice pools to emotionally manipulate others. The character is a cold fish to those she interacts with, and they do not respond readily to her. The Cold of the Grave does not protect the character against the depredations of the Beast. She may be emotionally cold on the surface, but if others taunt and anger her sufficiently, she is still subject to frenzy as normal.
••• Curse of Life
The Curse of Life inflicts some of the undesirable traits of the living upon the undead, removing their corpselike nature and creating a false life to remind them of the worst things about being alive. Targets of this power regain only the unpleasant aspects of life, as culled from the memory of the Discipline’s user. This may include mundane hunger and thirst, sweat and other excretions, the need to urinate and defecate, a decrease in sensory acuity, and a particular vulnerability to attacks that the character might normally shrug off.
System: The player spends one Willpower and rolls Intelligence + Medicine (difficulty 8) to affect a target within line of sight and no farther than 20 yards or meters from the character. If the roll succeeds, the target suffers the weaknesses of the living without gaining any benefit from that state. He does not become immune to sunlight or holy artifacts, for instance. However, he does become badly distracted by mundane needs, with the net result that his player suffers a +2 difficulty penalty to all rolls. He can ignore these distractions at the cost of one Willpower point per scene. Additionally, the victim cannot use blood to raise his Physical Attributes while this power is in effect, and Willpower cannot eliminate this penalty. The power remains in effect until the next sunset.
•••• Gift of the Corpse
This power, one of the most potent on the Corpse in the Monster path, enables a necromancer to ignore most of her race’s inherent weaknesses for a short time.
A dead body is not particularly vulnerable to sunlight, holy artifacts, frenzy, or being staked through the heart, after all, and so it is with a vampire using the Gift of the Corpse. As with the Cold of the Grave, above, the character using this power takes on an even more deathlike mien. It lasts for less than a minute, typically, but that time may be enough to enable a character to charge through a burning building without fearing frenzy or instant death.
System: The player spends one Willpower and rolls Stamina + Occult (difficulty 8). For every success, the character can spend one turn in a state in which he is more akin to an animated corpse than a vampire. Holy artifacts and sanctified ground have no effect, and the character is immune to frenzy and Rötschreck. Sunlight does only bashing damage, and then only if bare skin is exposed on a clear day.
Being staked through the heart is only as much of a danger as getting stabbed through his dead spleen would be. Fire harms him only as it would a mortal — causing lethal damage instead of aggravated.
Should the character end the power’s duration while exposed to any of the aforementioned harmful things, he immediately takes their full effect. If he is staked, he become immobilized; if he is on or near fire, he begins to take the damage a Cainite should take, and he must immediately roll against Rötschreck.
••••• Gift of Life
With the Gift of Life, the character can experience the best and most positive things about being alive. The overwhelming hunger for blood temporarily abates, allowing the character to consume and enjoy food and drink. She can also enjoy sex as she wishes, and the sun does not burn her. The Gift of Life comes with a dark, terrible cost, however. Its use is almost sure to result in the death of a mortal, as the vampire must expend an enormous quantity of vitae in order to initiate it.
The Discipline’s effects last until the midnight after the character uses the power, so it is in her best interests to use it just after midnight.
System: The player spends 12 blood points, burning as much blood as possible each turn until she meets that level. She then rolls Stamina + Occult (difficulty 6) and needs only one success for the power to work. A botch has catastrophic effects. The character might be instantly killed or might inadvertently Embrace her victim, for example. If it takes longer than one turn to spend the necessary blood to enact this ability, it does not take effect until all 12 points have been spent. However, the blood must be spent continuously — the vampire cannot burn five, run off and feed, then burn seven more an hour later.
On the other hand, she may feed as she activates the power — in one turn she might burn one blood point while drinking three. Since few Kindred above the Seventh Generation can easily expend such an amount of blood, the most efficient way to activate this power is to have a human nearby who can be sacrificed to power the transformation.
After her transformation, the character gains many traits of an ordinary human. She is largely immune to the scorching effects of the sun (Fortitude difficulties to soak damage from direct sunlight are halved, and she takes no damage if she is sufficiently covered), and she can experience and enjoy many of the fine thing about human life. She retains a few of her vampiric benefits, however. Fortitude and Auspex abilities remain in place if she has either of those Disciplines, and the Storyteller may allow her to retain other Disciplines as well if he deems them dramatically appropriate. She also retains a vampire’s benefits when it comes to handling bashing damage.
However, she is still vulnerable to holy artifacts, human faith, and being staked. Her blood remains vitae, not human blood. Use of this ability — which creates a mockery of human life — may interfere with a character’s Path advancement, at the Storyteller’s discretion.
The vampire is no more vulnerable to fire than any other mortal while in this half-alive state, but she still suffers somewhat from the Beast. Frenzy and Rötschreck difficulties are halved (round up). She can remain active during the day without Humanity or Path-based dice pool caps, although she is certainly tired during the day, since that is not her usual time of activity.
Their Beast exacts a dangerous retribution when her day of “life” is done. Although its influence is greatly suppressed during this power’s duration, the Beast has its way with the vampire for the next six nights, as all difficulties to resist frenzy increase by three. The wise necromancer hides herself away somewhere during that period, but, depending on morality and temperament, enforced isolation might drive her to frenzy on its own.
Path of the Four Humors Edit
Philosophically, the four humors represent different
qualities, split along two axes: hot and cold, and wet
and dry. Blood is hot and wet; phlegm is cold and wet;
yellow bile is hot and dry; and black bile is cold and dry.
Historically, when a mortal was out of sorts or ill, it was
said that his humors were out of balance, and a philosopher
or physician would try to heal him by bringing his
humors back into balance. Ancient necromancers believed
that in their undead forms, all four humors were
held in a mystical stasis, and that they could tap into all
four of them instead of merely tapping into blood in the
form of vitae as other vampires did.
This antiquated path was primarily considered the
knowledge of the Lamia bloodline, and certainly very
few necromancers have learned this path without tutoring
from a Lamia. Since the loss of the Lamia, elder
necromancers have searched everywhere (both in this
world and the next) for clues to its existence.
• Whispers to the Soul
The necromancer with this ability can let slip a little
of her own undead bilious humor as she speaks to another
being (whether mortal or Kindred). The wicked
vapor slips into the target’s ear and whispers nightmares
to the target throughout the day and night. The
target has a harder time sleeping, and becomes irritable
and distracted during his waking hours.
System: The character must whisper the target’s
name (as she knows it) into his ear. The victim rolls
Willpower (difficulty 8). If the roll fails, the victim suffers
from nightmares and hears mad, wicked mutterings
while awake, for a number of full days equal to the
necromancer’s Manipulation. The victim loses one die
from all dice pools while thus afflicted, and at the Storyteller’s
discretion, the difficulty to resist Rötschreck
may be increased by one at the same time.
•• Kiss of the Dark Mother
Kiss of the Dark Mother allows the necromancer
who uses it to mix her vitae with black bile, turning it
into a noxious poison. The necromancer forces it into
her mouth as saliva might once have come; the vitae
tastes acrid and bitter, as though it had been scorched.
Once the necromancer coats her teeth and lips with it,
she can inflict terrible damage with her bite.
System: The player spends one blood point; activating
this power is a reflexive action, but it must be done
before making a bite attack. If the bite hits, the aggravated
damage inflicted by a single bite is doubled before
soak is calculated. This power does not affect the
character’s ability to drain blood from the target, nor
does it increase the amount of damage done by blood
loss. The necromancer’s bite remains potent until this
ability is discharged by a successful hit or she spends
one turn cleansing the dark blood from her mouth.
••• Dark Humors
The vampire can exude a coat of a particular humor
onto her skin, causing all that touch it to experience
the most intense form of that humor. After a necromancer
has used this power, she generally feels the
opposite of the sensation the humor usually conveys:
Using blood leaves her depressed and pessimistic; using
yellow bile renders her calm and placid; using black
bile leaves her optimistic; and using phlegm makes her
aroused and angry.
System: The player spends two blood points. The
necromancer chooses which humor she wishes to excrete.
The humor can simply coat the skin — in which
case touching the victim’s skin lets the humor take effect
— or it can act as a poison if placed in a beverage
(or in vitae). The victim must make a Stamina roll
(difficulty 8) to resist the effects of the humor:
• Phlegm: Target becomes lethargic; all dice pools
are reduced by two for the remainder of the scene.
• Blood (vitae): Target becomes prone to excessive
bleeding, and any lethal or aggravated wounds he suffers
deal an additional health level of damage on the
turn after they originally occur. Vitae altered by Dark
Humors will not turn a human into a ghoul if ingested,
nor will it initiate a blood bond.
• Black Bile: Target suffers a number of health levels
of damage equal to the necromancer’s Stamina. This
damage is considered lethal and can be soaked (if the
victim is normally capable of soaking such damage),
though armor does not protect against it.
• Yellow Bile: Target becomes melancholic and is
plagued with visions of death. He cannot spend Willpower
for the remainder of the scene, and all Willpower
rolls receive a +2 difficulty.
•••• Clutching the Shroud
Blood, the sanguine humor, was regarded by philosophers
as being both hot and wet. Blood from a cold
corpse has been transubstantiated into a dead form —
a cold incarnation of a hot, wet element. This transformation
of the living into death holds great power;
the necromancer knows how to infuse her own being
with the blood of a cold corpse and transform herself
174 CHAPTER FOUR: DISCIPLINES
into something not wholly vampiric. Instead, the necromancer
edges closer to being an animated corpse in
fact as well as name. She grows distant and chill, as
though possessed by the spirit of Death itself; she has to
work to push her attention into the physical world.
System: The character must drink, and then spend,
five blood points from a cold corpse (one dead for 24
hours or more, but generally less than three days). It
will generally take at least two turns to consume that
blood, and the power is not activated until the character
can spend all of it. For example, if the character
is Twelfth Generation, Clutching the Shroud takes at
least seven turns total to activate (two to consume the
blood and five to spend it).
After the power is active and for the rest of the scene,
the necromancer gains several benefits. First, she receives
two additional soak dice, which may be used to
soak any sort of damage, even if the character does not
possess Fortitude. Second, she gains a mystic sense of
how far those in the area are from death — whether
they are healthy or infirm, suffer from diseases, or are
undead, ghouls, or mortals. Finally, a Manipulation +
Occult roll lets her speak with ghosts freely. The difficulty
for this roll depends on how attuned to death a
locale is; a cemetery would be difficulty 5, while a cozy
apartment might be difficulty 7. However, this ability
makes the necromancer much more susceptible to the
effects of powers used by ghosts, which means that she
must act carefully.
••••• Black Breath
A necromancer who has mastered this path can harness
the undead black bile that festers at the core of her
being; she pulls that melancholy to her lungs and lets it
mingle with her outgoing breath. She then exhales the
dark mist, letting it engulf those nearby. The necromancer
feels curiously lightheaded and optimistic after
using this power, as she has forced some of her most
depressed nature out into the world; those caught in
the black vapors grow despairing and hopeless.
System: The player spends one Willpower and one
blood point, and rolls Stamina + Athletics (difficulty
7). Black Breath allows the character to exhale a dark
cloud of vapor that is five yards or meters in diameter per
success rolled. Those caught in the mists may attempt
a Dexterity + Athletics roll to escape it if they have an
available action; otherwise, they may be overwhelmed
by depression to the point of suicide. Those who cannot
escape the mists must immediately roll Willpower
(difficulty 8 for mortals, 7 for supernatural beings) and
achieve more successes than the invoker did. Mortals
who fail in this actively attempt to kill themselves on
their next turn. They do not attempt such ludicrous
suicides as praying for a lightning bolt or holding their
breath; they use the most effective means at hand to
end their own lives. If prevented from suicide, they attempt
it again as soon as an opportunity presents itself.
This impulse lasts for the rest of the scene, and the Storyteller
may impose flare-ups over the next day or so at
his discretion. Those who succeed on the Willpower
roll still become enchanted with the prospect of death,
whether mortal or Kindred, and lose two dice from all
dice pools for the rest of the scene.
Kindred who fail the Willpower roll do not attempt
suicide; as they are already dead, the malign influences
of undead humors do not have as strong an effect on
them. Instead, the affected vampire sinks into torpor.
The duration of this torpor is based on the vampire’s
Humanity or Path rating, just as if lethal wounds had
forced him into it.
The Grave’s Decay Edit
This path is derived from the observation of the
working of time on all things mortal. Stone crumbles
and the corpse rots away to nothing, a process of endless
fascination to the lost Cainites known as Cappadocians.
Indeed, for the undying, the process of decay
is a fascinating disease that afflicts everyone and everything
save them. Under this path, a practitioner of
Necromancy channels that force.
• Destroy the Husk
Cainites who kill their victims, rather than just feeding
upon them, frequently find themselves in need of a
quick way to dispose of a corpse. While there are many
ways to make sure that a corpse is not found — feed it
to a pack of hounds or weigh it down and throw it in a
river — many of these methods do involve risk to the
vampire and are not guaranteed to succeed. Destroy
the Husk, by contrast, is foolproof. Use of this power
simply turns one human corpse to a pile of about 30
pounds (13 kilograms) of unremarkable dust, roughly
the size and shape of that body.
System: The player spends one blood point as the
vampire drips her vitae onto the corpse. The player
then rolls Intelligence + Medicine (difficulty 6). One
success is all that is needed to render the corpse into
dust, although the process takes a number of turns
equal to five minus the successes.
•• Rigor Mortis
One of the first changes that comes over a dead body
is rigidity; the corpse becomes stiff as a board, frozen
in a single pose. The Cainite who wields Rigor Mortis
is able to push a living or undead body to that frozen
point using only his will and understanding of the forces
of decay. She forces her target to become rigid and
unable to move without enormous effort of will, as his
very muscles betray him.
System: The player spends a point of Willpower and
rolls Intelligence + Medicine (difficulty 7). Each success
freezes the target in place for one turn. A failure
simply indicates the loss of the Willpower point, while
a botch renders the target immune to powers in the
Grave’s Decay path for the next 24 hours. The target
must be visible and within about 25 yards or meters for
this ability to take effect. A frozen target is treated as
though he has been staked (see p. 280). With a Willpower
roll (difficulty 7) and two successes, the target
can break out of the rigor on her turn. Failure causes
her a level of bashing damage and means another turn
wasted and frozen.
Reminiscent of some of the powers of Vicissitude,
Wither allows a vampire to cripple an opponent’s limb.
Whether the foe is living or undead, muscle shrivels
away, skin peels, and bone becomes brittle. The target
is unable to exert any noteworthy strength in the
crippled limb. This injury lasts for far longer than most
injuries trouble vampires, and in mortals it simply does
Wither doesn’t have to be used on a limb, although
that is its usual purpose. It can also be used simply to
affect the target’s face and hair, making him appear far
older than his years. It could also be applied to a target’s
eye or ear, killing the sense in that organ (and
thus requiring two uses to permanently blind or deafen).
Wither cannot be used as an “instant-kill” power
— necromancers cannot wither internal organs — but
it can inflict a wide variety of injuries on a foe.
System: The player spends a Willpower point. The
character chooses a limb on the target and then touches
that limb. If the target is trying to avoid contact, the
invoker’s player rolls Dexterity + Brawl to hit as normal.
If the character succeeds in touching the intended
limb, the target suffers two aggravated wounds. Unless
the target soaks both wounds (such as with Fortitude),
the struck limb is crippled and unusable until both of
those wounds have healed. Kindred heal the wounds as
172 CHAPTER FOUR: DISCIPLINES
they would any other aggravated wound (see p. 285).
Mortals are incapable of healing aggravated wounds, so
they suffer throughout their lives unless they are healed
through supernatural means. A withered limb does not
degenerate further, even on a mortal. The character
may be crippled for life, but the limb won’t become
infected or gangrenous.
The effects of the withering depend on the affected
limb. A crippled arm has a Strength of 0, cannot benefit
from Potence, and cannot carry anything heavier
than about half a pound (200 grams). A crippled leg
prevents the character from moving faster than a stuttering
hop or dragging limp. The character suffers the
effects of the Lame Flaw (see p. 482). A single withered
eye or ear imposes a +1 difficulty to relevant Perception
rolls. Losing both eyes or both ears imposes the effects
of the Blind or Deaf Flaws (see pp. 484 and 483). A
withered tongue imposes the effects of the Mute Flaw
(p. 483), while a withered face reduces the target’s Appearance
by one for each aggravated wound suffered.
•••• Corrupt the Undead Flesh
Corrupt the Undead Flesh blurs the line between life
and undeath, turning an undead creature into something
just living enough to carry and suffer from disease.
The disease inflicts the target, causing lethargy,
dizziness, loss of strength, clumsiness, and the inability
to keep blood in his system. This pernicious influence
is extremely virulent among mortals. They pick
the disease up simply by spending a few hours near the
victim. Other vampires have a harder time acquiring
the disease. They must consume the victim’s blood to
do so, but afterward, they suffer just as much as the
original target — including passing the affliction on
The disease fades after roughly a week.
System: The player chooses a target within her
character’s line of sight and no more than 20 yards or
meters away. She rolls Intelligence + Medicine (difficulty
6) and spends a point of Willpower. The victim’s
player must roll Stamina (+ Fortitude, if appropriate)
against a difficulty equal to the attacker’s Willpower. If
the player scores more successes than the victim, he acquires
a virulent disease immediately. The disease has
the following effects:
• The victim’s Strength and Wits are halved (round
• The victim loses one point of Dexterity.
• The victim’s player must spend one additional
blood point every evening for the vampire to rouse
himself to consciousness. Mortals lose one health level
per day instead.
• The victim’s player must roll Self-Control or Instinct
each time the character feeds (difficulty 8). On
a failure, the vampire cannot keep the blood he just
ingested inside his body, and he vomits it up in great
horrifying gouts of gore, losing any benefit the blood
might have provided. Humans vomit up food.
Every evening at sunset, the victim has a chance to
throw off the plague. The victim’s player rolls Stamina,
with a difficulty equal to 10 minus the number of sunsets
since acquiring the plague. On a successful roll, the
character fights the disease to a standstill and begins
to recover. He instantly regains his ability to manage
blood, and he heals back one lost Attribute point per
hour until all have returned.
••••• Dissolve the Flesh
This ability brings the Grave’s Decay path full circle,
as it causes Destroy the Husk to apply to vampires. Dissolve
the Flesh allows a necromancer to attempt to
turn vampiric flesh to dust or ash, as though the target
had been burned or left out in the sun.
System: The player spends two blood points and a
Willpower point as the vampire extracts a quantity of
her vitae charged with the power of the grave. If she
drips it onto a single Kindred victim anytime within
the next few turns (most of the blood must reach the
victim, so flinging a few drops is ineffective), it causes
whole chunks of the victim’s body to crumble to ash.
The player rolls Willpower against a difficulty of the
victim’s Stamina + 3. For every success, the target
takes one aggravated wound.
The undead flesh damaged by this power turns to
dust (gone for the time being), and it must be regenerated
painstakingly by the victim, should he survive.
That dust doubtlessly has mystical properties that various
sorcerers might be able to take advantage of. Every
wound inflicted by this ability represents the loss of
about one-eighth of the target’s weight; the Storyteller
chooses where the loss comes from. (It might also be
shed from all over, leaving the victim a bit gaunter or
missing chunks of flesh.)
Regenerating body parts occurs naturally while healing
aggravated wounds at the normal rate (see p. 285).
The Sepulchre Path Edit
Through the Sepulchre path, the vampire can witness, summon, and command the spirits of the dead.
Note: If a Kindred uses a Sepulchre Path power in the presence of something of great importance to the ghost the power affects, the chances for success in the summoning increase dramatically (reduce the difficulty by 2). This might be the bathtub in which the ghost’s mortal body was drowned, the rusted-out wreck of the car where the ghost’s physical body was trapped alive, or something unrelated to the ghost’s demise, such as a favorite book or a child-ghost’s beloved nursery.
Level 1: Witness of Death
Before it is possible to control the dead, one must perceive them. This power allows just that, attuning
a vampire’s unliving senses to the presence of the incorporeal. Under its effects, a necromancer sees ghosts as translucent phantoms gliding among the living and hears their whispers and moans. She feels the spectral cold of their touch and smells their musty hint of decay. Yet one cannot mistake the dead for the living, as they lack true substance, and appear dimmer and less real than creatures of flesh and blood. When a vampire uses this power, her eyes flicker with pale blue fire that only the dead can see.
Ghosts resent being spied upon, and more powerful shades may use their own powers to inflict their displeasure on the incautious.
System: The player rolls Perception + Awareness (difficulty 5). Success allows the vampire to perceive
ghosts as described for the rest of the scene (in the mortal world — seeing ghosts in the land of the dead
requires Shroudsight). Failure has no special effect, but a botch means the vampire can see only the dead for the scene; everything else appears as shapeless, dim shadows. While the vampire’s other senses remain attuned to the living, he is all but blind in this state and suffers a +3 difficulty to most vision-based Perception rolls and attacks. Ghosts notice the glowing eyes of a vampire using this power only with a successful Perception + Alertness roll (difficulty 7).
Level 2: Summon Soul
The power of Summon Soul allows a necromancer to call a ghost back from the Underworld, for conversational purposes only. In order to perform this feat (and indeed, most of the feats in this path), the vampire must meet certain conditions:
• The necromancer must know the name of the wraith in question, though an image of the wraith obtained
via Witness of Death (see above), Shroudsight, Auspex, or other supernatural perception will suffice.
• An object with which the wraith had some contact in life must be in the vicinity, though it need not be
something of significant importance to the ghost’s living consciousness. A piece of the ghost’s corpse works
well for this purpose (and even provides a -1 difficulty
modifier). Certain types of ghosts cannot be summoned with this power. Vampires who achieved Golconda before their Final Deaths, or who were diablerized, are beyond the reach of this summons. Likewise, many ghosts of the dead cannot be called — they are destroyed, unable to return to the mortal plane, or lost in the eternal storm of the Underworld.
System: The player spends one blood point and rolls Manipulation + Occult (difficulty equal to 7 or the
ghost’s Willpower, whichever is higher). The vampire must know the name of the ghost and have on hand an object the ghost had contact with in life. Provided that the target has died and become a ghost, success means the shade appears before the necromancer as described above. Not everyone becomes a ghost — it requires a strong will to persevere in the face of death, and souls that have found peace pass on to their eternal rewards. Moreover, it is possible for the dead to suffer spiritual dissolution and destruction after they become ghosts.
The Storyteller should consider all these factors when deciding whether a particular ghost exists for a vampire to summon.
Vampires know if their summons should have succeeded by a feeling of sudden, terrifying descent as they
reach too far into the great Beyond, so this power can be used to determine whether a soul has endured beyond death. While a failure means the vampire wastes blood, a botch calls a spirit other than the one sought — usually a malevolent ghost known as a Spectre. Such a fiend torments the one who summoned it with every wicked power at its disposal.
Once a ghost is summoned, it may not deliberately move out of sight of the vampire, though it can take any other actions, including direct attack. The vampire’s player may spend a Willpower point to dismiss the ghost at any time (unless he rolled a botch). Otherwise, at the end of the scene, shadows engulf the spirit once more and return it to its original location.
Level 3: Compel Soul
With this power, a vampire can command a ghost to do his bidding for a while. Compulsion of the soul is a perilous undertaking and, when used improperly, can endanger vampire and wraith alike.
System: The vampire locates and approaches the intended ghost or calls it to his presence with Summon Soul. As with the previous power, he must have the ghost’s name and an object it handled in life. His player then spends one blood point and rolls Manipulation + Occult in a resisted roll against the ghost’s Willpower (difficulty 6 for both rolls). If the vampire wins, the number of net successes determines the degree of control he has over the ghost (as described below).
Moreover, the vampire’s control keeps ghosts that have been called with Summon Soul from returning to their original locations at the end of the scene. If the ghost wins, the vampire loses a number of Willpower points equal to the ghost’s net successes.
On a tie, the roll becomes an extended contest that continues each turn until one side wins. If the vampire botches at any point, the ghost is immune to any use of the vampire’s Necromancy for the rest of the scene. If the ghost botches, it must obey as if the vampire’s player had rolled five net successes.
1 success: The ghost must perform one simple task for the vampire that does not place it in certain danger. It must attend to this task immediately, although it can delay the compulsion and pursue its own business at a cost of one Willpower point per scene. The ghost may not attack the vampire until this task is complete. It is possible to issue the task of answering one question, in which case the ghost must answer truthfully and to the best of its knowledge.
2 successes: The vampire may issue two orders or ask two questions as outlined for one success. Alternatively, the vampire may demand a simple task with a real possibility of danger, as long as the danger is not certain. The ghost may delay this compulsion with Willpower.
3 successes: The vampire may issue three orders as outlined for one success. Alternatively, he may demand the ghost fulfill one difficult and dangerous task or a simple assignment that has an extended duration of up to one month. The ghost may delay such orders with Willpower.
4 successes: The vampire may issue four orders, as outlined for one success, or assign two tasks, as for two successes. Alternatively, the vampire may command the ghost to perform one complex assignment that puts the ghost at extreme risk, or perform any number of non-threatening tasks as the vampire’s slave for up to one month (or, if the necromancer spends a permanent point of Willpower, for a year and a day). It is possible for ghosts to delay individual tasks, but not put off enslavement.
5+ successes: The vampire may issue multiple orders that have a sum complexity or danger of five successes’ worth. Instead, the vampire may order the ghost to perform any one action that it is capable of executing within one month. Such a task can place the ghost in immediate peril of destruction, or even force it to betray and assault loved ones. It is not possible for ghosts to delay a task of this magnitude with Willpower —they must obey.
Level 4: Haunting
Haunting binds a summoned ghost to a particular location or, in extreme cases, an object. The wraith cannot leave the area to which the necromancer binds it without risking destruction.
System: The player spends one blood point while standing at the location for the haunting or touching the intended prison. She then has the ghost brought to her by whatever means she desires, though Summon Soul is quickest and most reliable. Her player then rolls Manipulation + Occult (difficulty is equal to the target’s current Willpower points if resisted, to a minimum of 4; otherwise it is 4). The difficulty rises by one if the vampire wishes to place the ghost in an object.
As usual, the difficulty decreases by one if the necromancer has a part of the spirit’s corpse in addition to knowing its name (minimum difficulty 3). Each success binds the ghost within the location or object for one night. This duration extends to one week if the player spends a Willpower point or a year and a day for a dot of permanent Willpower. A wraith attempting to leave the area of a haunting must make an extended Willpower roll (difficulty 9, four cumulative successes necessary in a single scene) or take a level of aggravated damage for each roll. If the wraith runs out of health levels, it is hurled deep into the Underworld to face destruction.
Level 5: Torment
It is through the use of this power that powerful necromancers convince bound ghosts to behave — or else. Torment allows the vampire to strike a wraith as if he himself were in the lands of the dead, inflicting damage on the wraith’s ectoplasmic form. The vampire remains in the real world, however, so he cannot be struck in return. System: The player rolls Stamina + Empathy (difficulty equal to the wraith’s current Willpower points), and the vampire reaches out to strike the wraith. Each success inflicts a level of lethal damage on the wraith. Should the wraith lose all health levels, it immediately vanishes into what appears to be a doorway to some hideous nightmare realm. Ghosts “destroyed” thus cannot reappear in or near the real world for a month.
Vitreous Path Edit
The Vitreous Path allows a necromancer to control
and influence the energies pertaining to death. This
extremely rare path manipulates entropy, a force that
even most necromancers are uncomfortable harnessing.
A development of the Nagaraja bloodline (p. 406,
although they sometimes call the path “Nihilistics”),
the Vitreous Path makes a formidable complement to
the necromantic craft, and those obsessed with mastery
over death and souls — such as the Harbingers of
Skulls — would certainly risk much to uncover this
Like most necromancers, Nagaraja generally learn
the Sepulchre Path before any others. The Vitreous
Path is usually their second focus of study.
• Eyes of the Dead
The necromancer employing the Eyes of the Dead
can see with the perceptions of the Restless Dead
(called Deathsight). To such a manipulator of ghostly
energies, the auras of surrounding beings give off telltale
hints as to their health and even their ultimate
fate; the necromancer can see the energies of death
flowing through everyone, just as ghosts can. By looking
at the entropic markings on a person’s body, the
necromancer can gain rough knowledge of how far that
person is from death, how soon that person is likely to
die, and even what the cause of her death is likely to
VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 175
be. The information thus gained is not exact by any
means, but it gives the necromancer an edge over those
System: The player rolls Perception + Occult, difficulty
6. One success lets a necromancer determine
whether someone is injured, diseased, or dying, as well
as whether the individual labors under any sort of curse
or baleful magic.
Further, the vampire can divine the target’s eventual
demise, depending on the successes scored. One success
means the character can guess how long the target
has to live to within a few weeks. Three successes
means the character can estimate how long the target
has to live and what the probable source of death will
be, as the entropic markings show the wounds that will
someday exist on that person. Five successes means the
character can actually see where and when the event
will occur by interpreting the black marks on the target’s
This ability lasts for one scene, though the necromancer
may choose to end the power early. It can be
used to read the fate of only one target at a time. Storytellers
should exercise judgment with this power, since
the markings of death are typically unavoidable. He
may decide to roll the dice himself, so that the player
has no way of knowing whether her insight is correct.
•• Aura of Decay
The necromancer can strengthen the feeling of entropy
around her to the point where it breaks down
nonliving objects and machines. It can gnarl wood,
rust metal, crack silicon chips, and erode plastic, glass,
and dead organic material. This power has a range of
one yard or meter from the necromancer’s body, but all
those in the presence of the vampire can feel her corruption
as an icy wind.
System: No roll is required, but this power does cost
at least one blood point. Objects subjected to this Aura
of Decay break down and become useless after being
targeted. How the object gives out, as well as the exact
mechanism of failure, is up to the Storyteller. Corrosion,
metal fatigue, or sheer brittleness are all suitably
likely for any given item’s demise, but the in-game effect
of using a doomed item is as if the owning character
rolled a botch. The speed at which an item breaks
down depends on how many blood points are spent.
Blood Spent Time to Breakdown
One One week
Two One day
Three End of scene
Four Five turns
Five One turn
Note that since this power requires the expenditure
of blood points, a character cannot cause an Aura of
Decay while staked.
••• Soul Feast
Just as the necromancer can release entropic energies
from within, she may also pull them into herself
as a source of power. Soul Feasting allows the caster
to either draw on the ambient death energies around
her or to actively feed on a ghost, stealing the wraith’s
substance and mystically transforming that energy into
System: The player spends one Willpower point to
allow the vampire to feed on the negative energies of
the dead. If the character is drawing the energies from
the atmosphere, she must be in a place where death has
occurred within the hour or in a place where death is
common, such as a cemetery, a morgue, or the scene of
a recent murder. Generally, the necromancer can draw
anywhere from one to four points of entropy from such
a location, although the difficulty in using all Necromancy
and similar deathly powers within the area
increases by an equal amount for a number of nights
equal to the points taken. The energies of such an area
may only be drained once until the area’s entropy replenishes.
In cases when the necromancer feeds on a ghost, the
vampire must actually attack the wraith as if feeding
normally. Wraiths have up to 10 “blood points” that
may be taken from them, and they become less and
less substantial as their spirit essence drains away. The
character is vulnerable to any attack the ghost might
make, even those that do not normally affect the physical
world; while feeding, the vampire is essentially in
a half-state, existing in both the living lands and the
Underworld simultaneously. The wraith so attacked is
considered immobilized and cannot run or escape unless
it can defeat the vampire in a resisted Willpower
roll (difficulty 6 for both sides). This power may also
be used in conjunction with Ash Path Necromancy,
allowing the vampire to drain power (though not sustenance)
from ghosts while traveling in the lands of
This soul energy may be used just like blood in every
respect except for when the vampire rises for the
176 CHAPTER FOUR: DISCIPLINES
night. It can activate Disciplines, heal wounds, boost
Attributes, etc. Botching this power renders the vampire
unable to feed through the Shroud for the rest of
the night. However, she remains susceptible to the assaults
of ghosts and spirits for several turns (generally,
a number of turns equal to the amount of energy that
could have been drawn from the area, or one turn if attacking
a ghost) as she hovers between worlds, unable
to function effectively in either.
•••• Breath of Thanatos
The Breath of Thanatos allows the necromancer to
draw out entropic energy and focus it upon an area
or person by taking a deep breath and then forcefully
exhaling a fog of necromantic energy. This cloud of
virulence is completely invisible to anyone without the
ability to see the passing of entropy. The energy of this
cloud is like a beacon for Spectres, and they are drawn
to the entropic force like moths to a flame.
Once the energy is pulled from the necromancer’s
body, she can either disperse it over a large area as a
lure for Spectres, or use the mist for more sinister purposes.
Channeled into an object or person, the deathmist
inflicts the subject with a debilitating, wasting illness.
Furthermore, the focused energies are tainted and
eerie, and though generally invisible (except to powers
such as Aura Perception), they tend to cause people
and animals to feel uncomfortable around the victim.
System: The player spends one blood point and rolls
Willpower (difficulty 8). Only one success is needed to
draw out the Breath of Thanatos. If dispersed to summon
Spectres, the energies cover roughly one-quarter
of a mile (400 meters) in radius, centered around the
necromancer. The range increases by an additional
one-quarter mile or 400 meters for every additional
blood point expended.
Spectres summoned with this power will ignore the
summoning necromancer for the duration of the power
unless provoked, but may well go out of their way
to wreak havoc on anyone else in the vicinity. The
necromancer can then use other Necromancy powers
(such as those in the Sepulchre Path) to manipulate
and affect these Spectres. Ghosts so targeted may then
interact with the necromancer as normal, although the
other Spectres in the area will continue to ignore both
the vampire and the targeted ghost. This energy disperses
after a scene, after which the Spectres leave to
find new prey. Mechanics for Spectres can be found on
If the cloud is directed toward a particular target, the
necromancer must either touch the target or direct the
stream of entropy using Dexterity + Occult (difficulty
7). A target laden with entropy suffers one (and only
one) level of aggravated damage; this generally manifests
as sudden illness or decay. The target’s social difficulties
while interacting with those unfamiliar with
the touch of death — most normal humans, as well as
some supernatural creatures — increase by 2. Furthermore,
supernatural perceptions indicate the target is
tainted with decay, which can be dangerous. This form
of taint lasts until sunrise; a victim already plagued by
this power cannot be affected again until the previous
fog of entropy has dispersed.
A botch on the roll to control this power indicates
that the vampire has turned the energy upon himself,
and suffers all the effects of the vitriolic breath. This
inflicts the usual injury and may subject the necromancer
to the possibly dangerous attention of provoked
Spectres and other creatures from beyond the grave.
••••• Night Cry
The breath of entropic energy becomes a scream of
pure chaos. The necromancer can issue an unearthly cry
(heard both in the living world and in the Shadowlands).
The howl pours icy oblivion into a target or group of
targets — either sweeping away the inherent entropy or
collecting that destruction and unleashing it.
System: The vampire chooses a number of targets
within one yard or meter per dot of Necromancy and
invokes Night Cry with a terrible scream. The player
spends a Willpower point and a blood point for each
target beyond the first. (In other words, she spends
no blood if only going after one target, or one blood
for two targets. Generational blood limits apply, and
the vampire may not “pre-spend” blood prior to using
The player then chooses whether the vampire will aid
or harm the targets, and rolls Manipulation + Occult
(difficulty 6). If she chooses to aid the target or targets,
each success gives each affected target a -2 difficulty
modifier to all of his actions for one turn per success. If
she instead chooses harm, each success causes an aggravated
wound to each target. Targets may be any kind of
living creature, including supernatural ones.
No matter the result, the Night Cry is heard on both
sides of the Shroud, attracting the attention of anyone
nearby. On a botch, the necromancy may summon unruly
ghosts or Spectres, similar to Breath of Thanatos
VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 177
(although the ghosts are under no compulsion to ignore