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"What is life? It is the beginning of death. What is death? It is the end of life."

---- Coffin Joe
Necromancy symbol

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

Shroudsight allows a necromancer to see through the

Shroud, the mystical barrier that separates the living

world from the Underworld. By using this power, the

vampire can spot ghostly buildings and items, the landscape

of the so-called Shadowlands, and even wraiths

themselves. However, an observant wraith may notice

when a vampire suddenly starts staring at him, which

can lead to unpleasant consequences.

System: A simple roll of Perception + Awareness

(difficulty 7) allows a necromancer to utilize Shroudsight.

The effects last for a scene.

•• Lifeless Tongues

Where Shroudsight allows a necromancer to see

ghosts, Lifeless Tongues allows her to converse with

them effortlessly. Once Lifeless Tongues is employed,

the vampire can carry on a conversation with the denizens

of the ghostly Underworld without spending blood

or causing the wraiths to expend any effort.

System: To use Lifeless Tongues requires a roll of

Perception + Occult (difficulty 6) and the expenditure

of a Willpower point.

••• Dead Hand

Similar to the Sepulchre Path power Torment, Dead

Hand allows a necromancer to reach across the Shroud

and affect a ghostly object as if it were in the real world.

Ghosts are solid to necromancers using this power,

and can be attacked. Furthermore, the necromancer

can pick up ghostly items, scale ghostly architecture

(giving real-world bystanders the impression that he’s

climbing on air!), and generally exist in two worlds.

On the other hand, a necromancer using Dead Hand is

quite solid to the residents of the Underworld — and

to whatever hostilities they might have.

System: The player spends a point of Willpower and

makes a successful Wits + Occult roll (difficulty 7) to

activate Dead Hand for one scene. For each additional

scene the vampire wishes to remain in contact with

the Underworld, he must spend a point of blood.

•••• Ex Nihilo

Ex Nihilo allows a necromancer to enter the Underworld

physically. While in the lands of the dead,

the vampire is essentially a particularly solid ghost. He

maintains his normal number of health levels, but can

be hurt only by things that inflict aggravated damage

on ghosts (weapons forged from souls, certain ghostly

powers, etc.). A vampire physically in the Underworld

can pass through solid objects in the real world (at the

cost of one health level) and remain “incorporeal” for

a number of turns equal to her Stamina rating. On the

other hand, vampires present in the Underworld are

subject to all of the Underworld’s perils, including ultimate

destruction. A vampire killed in the realm of the

dead is gone forever, beyond even the reach of other

necromancers.

System: Using Ex Nihilo takes a tremendous toll on

the necromancer. To activate this power, the vampire

must first draw a doorway with chalk or blood on any

available surface. (The vampire may draw doors ahead

of time for exactly this purpose.) The player must then

expend two points of Willpower and two points of

blood before making a Stamina + Occult roll (difficulty

8) as the vampire attempts to open the chalk door

physically. If the roll succeeds, the door opens and the

vampire steps through into the Underworld.

When the vampire wishes to return to the real world,

he merely needs to concentrate (and the player spends

another Willpower point and rolls Stamina + Occult,

difficulty 6). At Storyteller discretion, a vampire who

is too deeply immersed in the Underworld may need

to journey to a place close to the lands of the living in

order to cross over. Vampires who wander too far into

the lands of the dead may be trapped there forever.

Vampires in the Underworld cannot feed upon

ghosts without the use of another power; their only

sustenance is the blood they bring with them.

••••• Shroud Mastery

Shroud Mastery offers the Kindred the ability to

manipulate the veil between the worlds of the living

and the dead. By doing so, a necromancer can make

it easier for bound wraiths in his service to function,

or make it nearly impossible for ghosts to contact the

material world.

System: To exercise Shroud Mastery, the necromancer

expends two points of Willpower, then states

whether he is attempting to raise or lower the Shroud.

The player then makes a Willpower roll (difficulty 9).

Each success on the roll raises or lowers the difficulties

of all nearby wraiths’ attempts to cross the Shroud in

any way by one, to a maximum of 10 or a minimum of

3. The Shroud reverts to its normal strength at a rate of

one point per hour thereafter.

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.

Cost: —

Dice Pool: Wits + Medicine + Cattiveria

Action: Extended

Roll Results

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

Action: Instant

Roll Results

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

Action: Instant

Roll Results

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

Action: Instant

Roll Results

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

Action: Instant

Roll Results

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

together.

A Touch of Death

Just as a necromancer may exert mastery over the

Shadowlands, so too can some ghosts exert themselves

in the mortal world. Whereas obvious displays

of ghostly power such as bleeding walls or disembodied

moans certainly won’t be mistaken, some ghostly abilities

exert subtle effects that aren’t easily recognized.

A necromancer sensitized to the residue of the dead,

though, can feel whether an object has been touched

by a ghost or sense the recent passage of a wraith.

System: The necromancer simply touches a person or

object that he suspects is a victim of ghostly influence.

The player rolls Perception + Awareness (difficulty 6).

If successful, the necromancer can determine whether

a ghost has exerted any sort of power on the subject, or

even crossed nearby, to the duration detailed below.

Successes Result

1 success Last turn; detect use of ghostly powers

2 successes Last three turns; detect use of ghostly

powers

3 successes Last hour; detect ghost’s touch and

use of ghostly powers

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

of ghostly powers

5 successes Last week; detect nearby passage of

ghost, ghost’s touch, and use of

ghostly powers

On a failure, the necromancer receives no impressions.

A botch reveals a misleading answer (an object

may seem tinged with ghostly power when it’s not, or

vice versa). Should the necromancer succeed in detection

while touching an object or person that a ghost

is possessing, he immediately becomes aware that the

ghost is still inside. The impression gained in such a

case is sufficient to count as an image of the spirit for

purposes of the Sepulchre Path’s powers, so the Kindred

may be able to (for example) immediately command

a ghost to exit a person whom it possesses.

•• Reveal the Catene

Necromantic compulsions function much more effectively

when the caster uses an object of significance

to the ghost in question. Such fetters tie the dead to

the living lands through their remembered importance

— a favored recliner for relaxing, a reviled piece of art

foisted off by hated relatives, or some object of similarly

intense emotion. Many necromancers can detect such

catene through the use of rituals (see Ritual of the Unearthed

Fetter, 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

despair.

With three or more successes, the necromancer can

determine whether the Shroud’s strength has been artificially

altered in the area.

•••• Death Knell

Not all who die go on to become ghosts — many

lack the drive to hang on after death or simply have no

overwhelming needs that compel them to stick around.

Normally, even necromancers have no way to sort

those who might become ghosts from the masses who

go on to whatever rewards await. Over time, though, a

necromancer can become sensitized to the pull that occurs

when a soul escapes from a body only to hover in

wait, enslaved by its desires. The weight of desperation

becomes like a tangible tug, and some necromancers

savor this emotion even as they follow the sensation to

find the new ghost.

Of course, actually discovering the new ghost can be

problematic. The Kindred may need some means to see

through the Shroud or may have to send other wraiths

to look for the new unfortunate, especially if a large

accident or massacre leaves too many corpses for the

necromancer to easily discern and test names.

System: Whenever someone dies and becomes a

ghost within a half-mile or kilometer of the necromancer,

she automatically senses the demise (though many

choose to ignore this “always-on” power unless actively

seeking someone). This power does not automatically

pinpoint the location of the new ghost or identify it,

but the player may spend one Willpower point and roll

Perception + Occult (difficulty 7) for the necromancer

to gain a vague sense of the distance and direction to

the new wraith. With one success, the Kindred may

sense a vague pull in a general direction; with three

successes, the necromancer can sense the direction and

guess distance to within a quarter-mile or half a kilometer.

With five successes, the necromancer immediately

senses the location of the new ghost to within

one foot or 30 cm. A failure carries no penalty but a

botched attempt sends the necromancer scurrying off

in the wrong direction.

The Storyteller may rule that disturbances in the

Underworld, intervening magic, or other similar phenomena

cloud this sensation, simply to prevent overburdening

a chronicle with constant ghost-hunting

and dice rolling.

••••• Ephemeral Binding

The most puissant necromancers learn not only to

sense the ties between living and dead, but to forge

such ties themselves. The master of Ephemeral Binding

turns an otherwise mundane object or person into a

depository for his own necromantic energy. The undying

Curse transforms the subject into a sort of linkage

between the living and dead. The necromancer smears

his blood on the item in question, which mystically absorbs

the vitae and, in doing so, becomes a vessel to

anchor a spirit.

System: The necromancer must coat an object with

his blood (a full blood point’s worth); if the subject is

a person, then that individual must ingest the vitae.

The player marks off the blood point, spends a point

of Willpower, and rolls Manipulation + Occult (difficulty

8). If successful, the item temporarily becomes

a fetter to one wraith. If the Kindred already knows

the name of the wraith or has a strong psychic impression,

then the object can become a fetter at any range,

even to a ghost who normally does not come near the

living world (so long as the ghost still exists). Otherwise,

the necromancer must be able to see or sense the

ghost (with Witness of Death, Shroudsight, or other

such means).

A fetter artificially created in this fashion functions

for all necromantic and ghostly purposes as a normal

fetter: It can be detected with other Necromancy powers,

the vampire gains a bonus to Necromancy against

the wraith attuned to it, and the ghost similarly finds

exertion of its powers easier upon the subject (so the

vampire might turn an unwitting ghoul into a consort

for a wraith familiar with possession…). The ghost can

sink into the fetter to heal; conversely, if the fetter is

destroyed, the wraith is banished to some inaccessible

region of the Underworld, perhaps never to return.

A fetter created with Ephemeral Binding lasts for

one night per success scored. The expenditure of an additional

point of Willpower increases this duration to

a week per success, whereas spending a permanent dot

of Willpower extends the duration to a year and a day.

Botching with this power not only causes failure but

also makes the ghost immediately aware of what the

necromancer was trying to do. Most ghosts do not take

kindly to meddling

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.

••• Wither

Reminiscent of some of the powers of Vicissitude,

Wither allows a vampire to cripple an opponent’s limb.

Whether the foe is living or undead, muscle shrivels

away, skin peels, and bone becomes brittle. The target

is unable to exert any noteworthy strength in the

crippled limb. This injury lasts for far longer than most

injuries trouble vampires, and in mortals it simply does

not heal.

Wither doesn’t have to be used on a limb, although

that is its usual purpose. It can also be used simply to

affect the target’s face and hair, making him appear far

older than his years. It could also be applied to a target’s

eye or ear, killing the sense in that organ (and

thus requiring two uses to permanently blind or deafen).

Wither cannot be used as an “instant-kill” power

— necromancers cannot wither internal organs — but

it can inflict a wide variety of injuries on a foe.

System: The player spends a Willpower point. The

character chooses a limb on the target and then touches

that limb. If the target is trying to avoid contact, the

invoker’s player rolls Dexterity + Brawl to hit as normal.

If the character succeeds in touching the intended

limb, the target suffers two aggravated wounds. Unless

the target soaks both wounds (such as with Fortitude),

the struck limb is crippled and unusable until both of

those wounds have healed. Kindred heal the wounds as

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

to others.

The disease fades after roughly a week.

System: The player chooses a target within her

character’s line of sight and no more than 20 yards or

meters away. She rolls Intelligence + Medicine (difficulty

6) and spends a point of Willpower. The victim’s

player must roll Stamina (+ Fortitude, if appropriate)

against a difficulty equal to the attacker’s Willpower. If

the player scores more successes than the victim, he acquires

a virulent disease immediately. The disease has

the following effects:

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

down).

• The victim loses one point of Dexterity.

• The victim’s player must spend one additional

blood point every evening for the vampire to rouse

himself to consciousness. Mortals lose one health level

per day instead.

• The victim’s player must roll Self-Control or Instinct

each time the character feeds (difficulty 8). On

a failure, the vampire cannot keep the blood he just

ingested inside his body, and he vomits it up in great

horrifying gouts of gore, losing any benefit the blood

might have provided. Humans vomit up food.

Every evening at sunset, the victim has a chance to

throw off the plague. The victim’s player rolls Stamina,

with a difficulty equal to 10 minus the number of sunsets

since acquiring the plague. On a successful roll, the

character fights the disease to a standstill and begins

to recover. He instantly regains his ability to manage

blood, and he heals back one lost Attribute point per

hour until all have returned.

••••• Dissolve the Flesh

This ability brings the Grave’s Decay path full circle,

as it causes Destroy the Husk to apply to vampires. Dissolve

the Flesh allows a necromancer to attempt to

turn vampiric flesh to dust or ash, as though the target

had been burned or left out in the sun.

System: The player spends two blood points and a

Willpower point as the vampire extracts a quantity of

her vitae charged with the power of the grave. If she

drips it onto a single Kindred victim anytime within

the next few turns (most of the blood must reach the

victim, so flinging a few drops is ineffective), it causes

whole chunks of the victim’s body to crumble to ash.

The player rolls Willpower against a difficulty of the

victim’s Stamina + 3. For every success, the target

takes one aggravated wound.

The undead flesh damaged by this power turns to

dust (gone for the time being), and it must be regenerated

painstakingly by the victim, should he survive.

That dust doubtlessly has mystical properties that various

sorcerers might be able to take advantage of. Every

wound inflicted by this ability represents the loss of

about one-eighth of the target’s weight; the Storyteller

chooses where the loss comes from. (It might also be

shed from all over, leaving the victim a bit gaunter or

missing chunks of flesh.)

Regenerating body parts occurs naturally while healing

aggravated wounds at the normal rate (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.

Successes Result

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

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

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

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

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

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

path’s secrets.

Like most necromancers, Nagaraja generally learn

the Sepulchre Path before any others. The Vitreous

Path is usually their second focus of study.

• Eyes of the Dead

The necromancer employing the Eyes of the Dead

can see with the perceptions of the Restless Dead

(called Deathsight). To such a manipulator of ghostly

energies, the auras of surrounding beings give off telltale

hints as to their health and even their ultimate

fate; the necromancer can see the energies of death

flowing through everyone, just as ghosts can. By looking

at the entropic markings on a person’s body, the

necromancer can gain rough knowledge of how far that

person is from death, how soon that person is likely to

die, and even what the cause of her death is likely to

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

she scrutinizes.

System: The player rolls Perception + Occult, difficulty

6. One success lets a necromancer determine

whether someone is injured, diseased, or dying, as well

as whether the individual labors under any sort of curse

or baleful magic.

Further, the vampire can divine the target’s eventual

demise, depending on the successes scored. One success

means the character can guess how long the target

has to live to within a few weeks. Three successes

means the character can estimate how long the target

has to live and what the probable source of death will

be, as the entropic markings show the wounds that will

someday exist on that person. Five successes means the

character can actually see where and when the event

will occur by interpreting the black marks on the target’s

soul.

This ability lasts for one scene, though the necromancer

may choose to end the power early. It can be

used to read the fate of only one target at a time. Storytellers

should exercise judgment with this power, since

the markings of death are typically unavoidable. He

may decide to roll the dice himself, so that the player

has no way of knowing whether her insight is correct.

•• Aura of Decay

The necromancer can strengthen the feeling of entropy

around her to the point where it breaks down

nonliving objects and machines. It can gnarl wood,

rust metal, crack silicon chips, and erode plastic, glass,

and dead organic material. This power has a range of

one yard or meter from the necromancer’s body, but all

those in the presence of the vampire can feel her corruption

as an icy wind.

System: No roll is required, but this power does cost

at least one blood point. Objects subjected to this Aura

of Decay break down and become useless after being

targeted. How the object gives out, as well as the exact

mechanism of failure, is up to the Storyteller. Corrosion,

metal fatigue, or sheer brittleness are all suitably

likely for any given item’s demise, but the in-game effect

of using a doomed item is as if the owning character

rolled a botch. The speed at which an item breaks

down depends on how many blood points are spent.

Blood Spent Time to Breakdown

One One week

Two One day

Three End of scene

Four Five turns

Five One turn

Note that since this power requires the expenditure

of blood points, a character cannot cause an Aura of

Decay while staked.

••• Soul Feast

Just as the necromancer can release entropic energies

from within, she may also pull them into herself

as a source of power. Soul Feasting allows the caster

to either draw on the ambient death energies around

her or to actively feed on a ghost, stealing the wraith’s

substance and mystically transforming that energy into

sustenance.

System: The player spends one Willpower point to

allow the vampire to feed on the negative energies of

the dead. If the character is drawing the energies from

the atmosphere, she must be in a place where death has

occurred within the hour or in a place where death is

common, such as a cemetery, a morgue, or the scene of

a recent murder. Generally, the necromancer can draw

anywhere from one to four points of entropy from such

a location, although the difficulty in using all Necromancy

and similar deathly powers within the area

increases by an equal amount for a number of nights

equal to the points taken. The energies of such an area

may only be drained once until the area’s entropy replenishes.

In cases when the necromancer feeds on a ghost, the

vampire must actually attack the wraith as if feeding

normally. Wraiths have up to 10 “blood points” that

may be taken from them, and they become less and

less substantial as their spirit essence drains away. The

character is vulnerable to any attack the ghost might

make, even those that do not normally affect the physical

world; while feeding, the vampire is essentially in

a half-state, existing in both the living lands and the

Underworld simultaneously. The wraith so attacked is

considered immobilized and cannot run or escape unless

it can defeat the vampire in a resisted Willpower

roll (difficulty 6 for both sides). This power may also

be used in conjunction with Ash Path Necromancy,

allowing the vampire to drain power (though not sustenance)

from ghosts while traveling in the lands of

the dead.

This soul energy may be used just like blood in every

respect except for when the vampire rises for the

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

p. 385.

If the cloud is directed toward a particular target, the

necromancer must either touch the target or direct the

stream of entropy using Dexterity + Occult (difficulty

7). A target laden with entropy suffers one (and only

one) level of aggravated damage; this generally manifests

as sudden illness or decay. The target’s social difficulties

while interacting with those unfamiliar with

the touch of death — most normal humans, as well as

some supernatural creatures — increase by 2. Furthermore,

supernatural perceptions indicate the target is

tainted with decay, which can be dangerous. This form

of taint lasts until sunrise; a victim already plagued by

this power cannot be affected again until the previous

fog of entropy has dispersed.

A botch on the roll to control this power indicates

that the vampire has turned the energy upon himself,

and suffers all the effects of the vitriolic breath. This

inflicts the usual injury and may subject the necromancer

to the possibly dangerous attention of provoked

Spectres and other creatures from beyond the grave.

••••• Night Cry

The breath of entropic energy becomes a scream of

pure chaos. The necromancer can issue an unearthly cry

(heard both in the living world and in the Shadowlands).

The howl pours icy oblivion into a target or group of

targets — either sweeping away the inherent entropy or

collecting that destruction and unleashing it.

System: The vampire chooses a number of targets

within one yard or meter per dot of Necromancy and

invokes Night Cry with a terrible scream. The player

spends a Willpower point and a blood point for each

target beyond the first. (In other words, she spends

no blood if only going after one target, or one blood

for two targets. Generational blood limits apply, and

the vampire may not “pre-spend” blood prior to using

Night Cry.)

The player then chooses whether the vampire will aid

or harm the targets, and rolls Manipulation + Occult

(difficulty 6). If she chooses to aid the target or targets,

each success gives each affected target a -2 difficulty

modifier to all of his actions for one turn per success. If

she instead chooses harm, each success causes an aggravated

wound to each target. Targets may be any kind of

living creature, including supernatural ones.

No matter the result, the Night Cry is heard on both

sides of the Shroud, attracting the attention of anyone

nearby. On a botch, the necromancy may summon unruly

ghosts or Spectres, similar to Breath of Thanatos

VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 177

(although the ghosts are under no compulsion to ignore

the necromancer…).

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