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 Obtenbration Rituals 1-5

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PostSubject: Obtenbration Rituals 1-5   Tue Apr 26, 2011 3:12 pm

The following rituals do not adhere to the same rules as other forms of blood magic, in large part because they build on a Discipline not commonly regarded as a form of sorcery. Cainites may not learn Abyss rituals rated higher than their Obtenebration or Occult score (whichever is lower). Moreover, characters without the Occult specialty Abyss Mysticism must have a minimum of Occult 3 to learn these rituals and add one to the base difficulty of all castings. As the rituals collective represent a unique Discipline unto themselves, each costs 3 experience points per level to learn or a number of bonus points equal to the level of the ritual. Finally, most of these rituals have side effects associated with their use as befits the alien and malignant nature of the Abyss. Under no circumstances do Flaws obtained from side effects reward the vampire with bonus or experience points.

Level One Rituals

Weight Of Shadows

For the rest of the evening, the caster may concentrate and control naturally occurring shadows, making them move, act, or otherwise obey the caster's commands. So long as the caster takes no other action, she may thus control any shadow that is not currently being controlled by another individual.

System: This ritual only allows the caster to control natural shadows, not shadows created by Obtenebration. Shadows controlled by the caster can gain or lose a small amount of size (thus a woman's shadow could be made look like a man's, but a dog's shadow could not). Only one such shadow may be controlled at a time. The Storyteller is the arbiter of what kinds of shadows are simply too large for this power to affect (such as the shadow of a skyscraper). The effects of this ritual last until the next sunrise.

Side Effect: Shadows are drawn toward the caster, and when not controlled, will attempt to move toward her, even to the point of bending against the light. The caster gains the Eerie Presence Flaw (with the above descriptor) for the duration of this ritual's effects.

Pierce the Murk

It is a simple fact that understand flows from perception and darkness thwarts perception. Most individuals incorrectly assume no answers are to be found in the dark, but that is simply because they do not know how or where to look. This ritual resolves the first paradox, attuning a mystic's eyes to the primordial darkness even as they forsake light.

System: The mystic invokes the Obtenebration power Shadow Play and concentrates, focusing the manipulated shadows to gather into a sphere. She holds this intangible sphere in one hand and gazes into its depths, while her player rolls Perception + Occult (difficulty Cool. Success means the vampire permanently gains the Merit Darksight, while a botch results in the mystic permanently gaining Darksight as a Flaw. A failure means the Cainite fails to comprehend the lesson and must try again another night.

Side Effect: When a vampire uses Darksight obtained from this ritual, her pupils appear to grow in an inky stain that envelopes iris and white in pure black. Those who botch this ritual obtained blackened eyes for the rest of their unlife along with their warped perceptions.

The Shadow of Hands that Serve

This ritual summons the smallest beings that dwell in the Abyss and grants them brief existence in the material world as servitors of the mystics who invoke them. Such entities are not demons or ghosts or true spirits, but rather something else that defies comprehension or classification. All that is certain is that they hate light, hunter for life, and bear a malign cognition that would shatter the sanity of any who truly understood it. Although the creatures summoned with this ritual are harmless, they make excellent spies and are so called the Eyes of Ahriman.

System: The vampire crushes and extinguishes a candle in his fist, suffering one level of aggravated damage and prompting an immediate check for Rötschrek (difficulty 5). If the vampire can maintain control, his player rolls Intelligence + Occult (difficulty 6). Botching this roll results in a further level of unsoakable aggravated damage. If successful, however, the vampire tightens his fist until blood drips from his fingers. When the blood lands, it shrieks in pani and births a momentary gateway to the Abyss. Out of this brief rift emerges a globe of shadow substance the size of a child's hand. The creature endures one night per success on the casting roll before returning to the Abyss. Until this time, it serves the vampire's spoken will with unquestioning if unimaginative fervor. It can crudely communicate with material beings in images and emotional impressions, but only while in physical contact.

A level-two version of this ritual exists, known as The Heart That Beats in Silence. This ritual follows the same rules and process, save that the summoned being is twice as large and possesses greater mastery of Obtenebration, allowing it to attack its caster's foes physically. A vampire may not summon more beings through castings of The Shadow of Hands That Serve and/or The Heart That Beats in Silence than his occult rating.

Side Effects: None


Level Two Rituals

Transubstantiation of Essence

Supplanting her accursed blood with the substance of the Abyss, a mystic may devour the shadow essence to accelerate her healing.

System: The mystic devotes a full turn to meditating; her player spends one Willpower point and rolls Stamina + Occult (difficulty Cool. A botch inflicts one level of aggravated damage. For every success rolled, the vampire may spend one blood point to heal two levels of bashing or lethal damage. For the purpose of this unholy healing, the vampire may even surpass normal generational limits on blood expenditure. The Abyss takes its due, however. Whenever the vampire feeds, the Abyss consumes the blood until it has taken a total number of points equal to twice the number of health levels healed. No blood actually enters the vampire's system until the cost is paid in full. Moreover, this ritual cannot be used again until the Abyss receives its toll and never more than once per night.

Side Effect: The taint of the Abyss never fully leaves a vampire's blood after casting this ritual. As a result, the mystic's vitae thereafter has an unnatural darkened hue. This effect is purely cosmetic, though few sights are more disturbing than the ebon tears of a weeping Abyss mystic, save perhaps the horrors that make her weep.

Feed The Darkness

For the rest of the evening, the caster may feed through the touch of an Arm of the Abyss. Any Flaws or other issues the caster naturally suffers are still in effect: The Arm's absorption of blood can be excruciatingly painful if the caster has the Grip of the Damned Flaw, all feeding restrictions still apply, and so forth. However, the Arm of the Abyss leaves a deep, black bruise on the subject's body that looks similar to the mark of a feeding leech, rather than the tell-tale sign of a vampire's fangs.

System: The caster must spend fifteen minutes in contemplation at the beginning of the evening, chanting in Abyssal tongues and calling upon the spirits of the Abyss. The effects of this ritual last until the next sunrise.

Side Effect: While the caster's body contains any vitae gained through the use of this ritual, her blood is a dark, blackish color. This causes notable dark streaks where her veins and arteries are near the surface of her flesh.


Level Three Rituals

Abyssal Threads

The caster creates a shining, jet-black thread and affixes it to a single target of any kind. The thread stretches through shadow and into the Abyss, to the caster's wrist. If the thread is affixed to a person or creature, at any point during the evening, the individual on either end may tug on this thread, causing a similar pull to manifest on the other end. If the thread is attached to an inanimate object, a tug will manifest on the caster's end of the thread if that object is moved in any way.

System: The individual or item to which the thread is being affixed must be present while the ritual is cast. This ritual takes thirty minutes of casting, during which time the Abyss Mystic draws forth a point of his blood and mixes it with the preternatural essence of the Abyss. By spinning this combined matter upon a skein, the caster forms the Abyssal Thread, and may then attach it as desired. The effects of this ritual last until the next sunrise.

Side Effect: While this ritual is in effect, the cold air of the Abyss circulates around the caster, and may draw unwanted attention. The caster effectively gains the Flaw Cold Breeze for the duration of this ritual's effects.

Call the Thing in Darkness

Arms of the Abyss can draw out portions of the Abyss intelligence, which coupled with proper occult preparation. This requires a one hour ritual and one blood point. Then the summoner invokes Arms of the Abyss. When used this way, only a single arm manifests. It has its regular physical statistics and one dot of Mental Attributes per dot of Obtenebration the summoner possesses. The summoner can decide how to allocate the dots. Each success beyond the first provides another dot, as does each additional blood point spent at the time of invocation.

The Abyss creature possesses at least one powerful derangement and an obsession that resembles one particular sin from a Path of Enlightment (usually level six or higher on the Hierarchy of Sins). Each Abyss creature emerges driven to do something, which may or may not fit with the summoner's plan. The creature can move independently at the summoner's running speed and exists for the duration of a scene or one hour. Intense light dispel the creature immediately. The summoner can repeat the ritual steps to reinforce the creature's presence.

System 1: If all steps succeed, the creature remains for the rest of the night. The summoner can try to summon the same creature again, and three successes in a row allow it permanent presence as long as the summoner feeds it (10-the character's Obtenebration rating) points of blood each night.

System 2: The summoner can attempt to absorb the manifestation into himself. This requires the summoner to defeat it in battle, reducing it to zero health levels. This done, the summoner can drain its darkness into himself. He gains half the creature's dots in each Attribute added to his own for the duration of the night.

Side Effect: Once Defeated the summoner also gains the creature's derangement and cannot spend Willpower points to resist its effect. If the creature succeeds in reducing its summoner to torpor, it can it can invade his body and control it for the rest of the night. It can also return the following night and try again, and if it defeats him this way three nights in a row, it can possess him until driven out. The dispossession requires some other practitioner of Obtenebration to reduce the invaded vampire to torpor and go through the steps of the summoning ritual. If they all succeed, the Abyss creature returns to the void and never returns again with quite that combination of Attributes.

Descent Into Darkness

An expert in Obtenebration can actually enter the Abyss. This requires an hour-long ritual, one blood point. The vampire than uses Shadowstep. If each step works, he passes into the Abyss, in the Obtenebration equivalent of Psychic Projection. He also risks encountering Abyss spirits. Coalesced fragments of Abyss can be sensed. Creatures with statistic equivalents to one called with the Call the Thing in Darkness will approach. The more skillful the traveler is, the more powerful the entity that will try to possess him.

The vampire moves at up to a thousand miles an hour and can peer into any environment in total or near-total darkness--Night Sight Merit or Flaw comes in handy for this purpose.

Risk: If a vampire loses all of his Willpower in astral combat, no ''silver cord'' is severed but the Abyss spits out the vampire into the nearest dark place in the material world.


Drinking the Blood of Ahriman

By drawing the shadow essence of the Abyss into himself and fusing it with his blood, a mystic who knows this ritual may undergo a frightening transformation.

System: The mystic summons a Nocturne and cuts her palm with a knife that has never tasted blood. Chanting softly, the mystic flicks blood into the Nocrturne, drawing its hunger into her wound. The shadow melds into the palm, traveling through the veins to suffuse the vampire's entire form. This painful process takes half an hour. During this time the vampire is at -2 dice from the cold agony of the fusion. At the end of the ritual, the vampire's player rolls Manipulation + Occult (difficulty Cool. Failure means the fusion is unsuccessful and the shadow escapes to the Abyss. A botch means that the shadow drinks one blood point per 1 rolled before departing. Success causes the vampire's skin to darken noticeably and her eyes to become the impossibly inky black of the Abyss. In this augmented state, all Physical Attributes lower than her Obtenebration rating rise to that level. All Obtenebration powers up to level three receive a -2 difficulty, and the blood cost to grow or expand an Arm of Ahriman is halved (rounded up). The void-augmented vampire must spend a number of blood points upon awakening each night equal to her Obtenebration rating. Failure to pay this surcharge immediately revokes the transformation. In addition, the vampire's shadowy form takes triple damage from sunlight and her Appearance drops by one dot while this ritual is in effect.

Side Effect: Once a vampire spends more consecutive days in spectral form than her highest Virtue, the darkening of her skin becomes parmanent. This resembles the darkening of an elder Assamite and grows more pronounced the more frequently the mystic casts and maintains this ritual.

Calling the Hungry Shade

Extending his mastery of the Abyss beyond The Heart That Beats in Silence, a mystic who knows this ritual may call forth an actual Hungry Shade into a circle of blood. Such entities are incalculably malicious and resent attempts to bind them into service. If they break free of the magic that enslaves them, they do not hesitate to drag the errant Cainite to the Abyss or tear him asunder on the spot.

System: A mystic may initiate this ritual any time between dusk and midnight. To begin, the vampire stands at the center of the intended summoning area and slits his left palm. He then turns counterclockwise in silence with a bloody hand outstretched to drip a circle of blood. Next he steps out of the circle, taking care to drip no more blood outside its edge. He then begins a whispered chant of invocation as he prowls around the circle in a spiral that winds slowly inward. Multiple Abyss mystics who know this ritual may assist and usually do, circling equilaterally apart from one another in synchronous steps. The total number of participating mystics cannot exceed the highest Occult rating in the group.

Make an extended Intelligence + Occult check (difficulty 6) for every mystic involved, rolling once per hour of chant. The Storyteller should privately keep track of the total number of successes amassed and permit players of the participant mystics to continue as long as they like until an hour before dawn. A botch from any mystic reduces the number of accumulated successes by five. When the mystics choose to resolve their processional litany, they stop and turn to face the center of the circle. Each speaks a syllable of summons in perfect unison and their players spend one point of Willpower. It is at this moment that the air tears asunder and a Hungry Shade rises in the blood circle.

Once the Hungry Shade is summoned, the player of the lead mystics makes an opposed roll of Willpower against the sum of the shade's two highest permanent traits other than Willpower (both rolls at difficulty 4). The vampire receives one extra die per assisting mystic. If the vampire wins, the shade must serve him faithfully in all endeavors for a number of nights equal to his Willpower. This duration may be extended by one night per point of fresh human or vampire blood immediately fed to the monster. It is not possible to increase the duration of servitude after the ritual ends, though it is believed that more powerful summoning rituals may exist for such purposes. If the shade wins the contest of wills, it may freely attack the mystics and usually does, though some have been known to flee the area and wreak havoc elsewhere or even return to the Abyss without incident. A freed shade may remain in the physical world as long as it desires, although it loses points of Willpower equal to its Obtenebration rating each dawn. If it runs out of Willpower, it can no longer bear separation from the Abyss and returns home through the cloest shadow.

Side Effect: None


Level Four Rituals

Maw Of Ahriman
Once a caster has invoked this ritual, her mouth becomes a portal to the Abyss. She may not speak or make sounds, and anyone looking into her mouth will see a deep chasm of blackness beyond instead of the workings of human physiology.
P>System: The caster may consume anything she can fit into her mouth, eradicating the item (or creature, or part of a creature) utterly by absorbing it into the Abyss. Biting an opponent deals aggravated damage as per a standard bite, but also removes one Willpower dot from the opponent's total Willpower. Willpower lost in this manner may not be regained for one lunar month. The effects of this ritual last until the next sunrise, or the caster may end the ritual at any time.

Side Effect: The caster cannot speak or otherwise use her vocal cords, mouth, tongue, or fangs for the duration of this ritual's effects.

Reflections of Hollow Revelation

By gazing into the sphere of a conjured Nocturne, a mystic with this ritual may reach his senses into the orb to spy through a distant shadow. THis is among the more pragmatic powers of Abyss Mysticism, but it too exalts the void on the principle that all secrets do not lie in darkness, but all secrets lie through darkness.

System: The Cainite calls upon the Obtenebration power Nocturne and wills the globe to contract (this costs one Willpower point). The sphere shrinks to the size of a man's head and becomes tantalizing translucent, dimming everything seen through its murky depths. The vampire gazes into the orb and concentrates on a being or location he has previously seen. If the target is within a number of miles equal to the Vampire's Obtenebration + Occult and the vampire's player successfully rolls Perception + Occult (difficulty 7), the target appears in the Nocturne as seen through the shadow that has the best view of the scene. The vampire may continue to spy through this sensory portal for the rest of the scene or until the target leaves the vision of the shadow. Any vampire or supernatural being with Obtenebratioon, Auspex, or powers similar to either may sense the thickening shadow that spies upon them on a successful Perception + Occult roll (difficulty Cool. Botching this ritual disperses the Nocturne and leaves the mystic confused for the rest of the scene (-2 to all dice pools). Failure releases the Nocturne to expand and act as normal.

Side Effect: A Cainite who sees and plots too far may not see the obvious. For the rest of the night following a successful casting of this ritual, the mystic loses two dice from all Alertness checks to notice events in her immediate presence.


Level Five Rituals

Ahriman's Wight

By drawing on the Abyss in time of need, a caster may allow the sentience within the darkness to move through their very spirit and reinforce his flesh.

System: After casting this ritual, the character gains a number of additional "Shadow" wound levels at the "Wounded" health level, equal to his dots in Obtenebration. However, if the character takes an injury that crosses off one of these Shadow health levels, he loses a commensurate number of dots of Obtenebration as well. Dots of Obtenebration lost in this way return after one week.

Side Effect: While this ritual is in effect, all failed rolls using the caster's Conscience/Conviction are considered to be botches.

Whispers in the Dark

All enlightenment returns to the Abyss. The light of life and learning perishes with the death of flesh and soul and no tutelage can pass on wisdom in its entirety. But Ahriman remembers. Ahriman is all that is not, or was and is no more. In the primordial darkness lie echoes and whispers frozen in silent waiting for someone cunning enough to ask the right questions and daring enough to receive the answers.

System: The vampire conjures a Nocturne and forces it to contract as outlined for the ritual Reflections of Hollow Revelation. Rather than staring into the orb and viewing another place, the mystic swallows the darkness and so is swallowed by it. The vampire falls into immediate torpor as her consciousness merges with the Abyss. The vampire may ask one question of void, which may be as mundane or arcane as desired. The Storyteller assigns a rating for the question from 1 to 10 based on complexity and significance. Truly impossible or momentous questions may even surpass 10, rising as high as the Storyteller deems appropriate. The vampire's player rolls Intelligence + Occult (difficulty 9) at the conclusion of every night the mystic spends in torpid contemplation. Successes accumulate from night to night until they match the rating of the question and the vampire awakens knowing the answer. If the vampire fails to obtain any successes during a night, the interval between rolls increases to weeks. Further failure to obtain successes extends the interval to months, then years, decades, centuries, milennia, and perhaps onward to the end of time itself. A fable among Abyss mystics states that the first mystic, a beloved childe of the Eldest, asked the Abyss how he might slay God. It is said that he slumbers still in some forgotten tomb, dreaming the incomprehensible nightmares of that which preceded light.

Side Effect: A vampire who has successfully communed with the Abyss thereafter reduces the difficulty of all Intimidation rolls by one and adds one to the difficulty of all other Social rolls. These modifiers do not apply when interacting with other Abyss mystics. She also suffers the effects of the Flaw Nightmares. All who behold the mystic instictively know she bears the touch of something alien and inimical to the whole of creation.
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