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 Assamite Sorcery Dur-An-Ki Awakening of the Steel

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PostSubject: Assamite Sorcery Dur-An-Ki Awakening of the Steel   Sun Jun 21, 2015 5:27 pm

From a purely functional standpoint, the blood magic that the Assamite sorcerer caste practices differs little from that wielded by the Tremere. From a philosophical perspective, however, worlds of difference separate the two. The Tremere force every piece of knowledge they incorporate into the structured, rigid framework of high Hermetic invocation. By contrast, the sorcerer caste's practices are the result of millennia of adaptation and melding, and are too disparate to be considered "structured" in any real sense. The modern body of knowledge that is Assamite Sorcery draws its content from a wide array of magical traditions, from the ecstatic rites of Kali and Shiva's followers to the subtle precision of feng shui to the elegant symbolic and mathematical transformations of Islamic alchemists and astronomers.

Assamite Sorcery is mechanically identical to the more common Thaumaturgy. However, though they work on similar principles (the use of vampiric vitae to fuel exertions of conscious will in order to effect change upon the physical or spiritual world), the two are not cross-compatible. A Tremere strives to perform his magic the same way, all the time, every time. An Assamite might never enact the same ritual the same exact way twice in a millennium.

As may be expected, students of Assamite Sorcery have great difficulty learning the practices of other blood magic traditions. All experience points costs to learn other blood magic paths and rituals are increased by half (round up) for Assamite sorcerers. In addition, even once the sorcerer has incorporated these lessons into her repertoire, they are still alien to her. All invocations of a "foreign" path require one extra blood point and all rituals take triple the normal time and require one extra success for any desired result.

Although combat mastery is hardly the sorcerer caste's primary goal, they have a long tradition of standing ready to defend themselves and, if need be, assisting the warrior caste on the battlefield. Awakening of the Steel is one legacy of this preparedness, a path that some say began with the alchemists who studied in the forges of Toledo and Damascus. This set of techniques focuses on the symbolism of the sword as the ultimate extension of a trained warrior's body, drawing on the myths that various warrior traditions attached to their swords and daggers: European Crusaders and their blessed blades, the kris of Indonesian Pentjak-Silat practitioners, and Indian Ghurkas and their kukri knives, among others. The practitioner of Awakening of the Steel focuses on this symbolism as he uses the power of his blood to enhance his weapon and his skill.

A student of Awakening of the Steel finds that a keen understanding of both the form and the function of a blade is necessary for full mastery of this path. A character must have a level of either Melee or Crafts Ability equal to his level in Awakening of the Steel. Those who practice this path also find that its lessons are tightly focused, perhaps to the point of over-specialization. The path is at its most effective with swords and knives, and the wielder can only extend its effects to other edged weapons. Any attempt to use a technique of this path on another edged weapon is at +1 difficulty.

Dur-An-Ki botches cause the ashipu to briefly become lost to the spirits from which her powers flow. The ashipu temporarily (and immediately) gains the Fugue Derangement. Assamite Sorcerers do not suffer from this effect, but all other Assamite ashipu do, as do all ashipu outside that Clan. [Rites Of The Blood -- Page 132]

*Confer With The Blade  

Although few Assamites claim to have actually spoken to a weapon's soul, blacksmiths and warriors alike have ascribed spiritual qualities to hand-forged blades for centuries. Practitioners of Auspex are familiar with the manner in which inanimate objects can bear impressions of their own history. Confer with the Blade allows a weapon's wielder to delve into the events that have occurred around his weapon. Some practitioners of this power claim this makes the weapon feel more "comfortable" in their hands, while others speak of the sense of history that an ancient blade bears. The actual impressions only take an instant to gain, though many prefer to spend much longer in contemplation if time permits.

System: The number of successes determines the amount of information the sorcerer gains regarding the blade's history and its present state, as well as all information yielded by a lesser number of successes. With three or more successes, the sorcerer may lower the difficulty on his next attempt to apply a blood-magic ritual to the weapon by one.

Successes Result
1 Physical information only: precise length and weight (to the micrometer and milligram), chemical composition (assuming the character understands metallurgy), number of damage dice and type of damage (lethal or aggravated).
2 Historical overview: when and where the blade was forged, the name and face of its smith, brief glimpses of significant events in its existence.
3 Sorcerous understanding: the type and relative level of power of any enchantments or supernatural enhancements that the blade possesses as well as the name and face of the individual who laid them.
4 Subliminal synthesis: comprehensive knowledge of the sword's history. For the next seven nights, the character recognizes the taste of any blood that has ever stained the blade if she tastes it herself.
5 Total communion: The sword and the wielder become linked at a level deeper than the physical and more enduring than the immediate. The Storyteller determines what information the sword holds for the character, but it may include any event in the blade's history or any aspect of its present existence and condition.

**Grasp Of The Mountain  

The best scimitar in all creation does its owner no good if it's lying five yards away from him. Grasp of the Mountain strengthens the spiritual bond between the sword and the swordsman in order to reinforce the wielder's physical grip on his weapon. A blade that is under the effect of this art never leaves its master's hand unless he so wills it.

System: For the rest of the scene, the character has a number of automatic successes to resist all attempts to disarm him, equal to the number of successes rolled. He cannot accidentally drop the blade (which means his botches are likely to result in self-mutilation instead of an empty hand). If the character is somehow disarmed in spite of Grasp of the Mountain, he may call the blade back to his hand by successfully invoking this power again, assuming he has a clear line of sight to the weapon.

***Pierce Steel's Skin  

At this level of understanding, the sorcerer can command his blade with such precision that he can strike at an opponent's physical protection rather than his body. The sword transfers its full fury to the intended target, shredding even the toughest chain or plate. This strips away the victim's defenses, leaving him vulnerable to the next attack. While this power is of limited utility in modern nights, as traditional armor has fallen by the wayside, it remains in the path's progression of lessons due to its utility in destroying other obstacles.

System: While Pierce Steel's Skin is in effect, an attack against an unarmored target inflicts half damage (rounded down). However, for a number of turns equal to the number of successes rolled, each successful attack the character makes against an armored foe inflicts damage on the target's body armor rather than injuring him directly. Only metal armor can be damaged by this power. When the character makes a successful attack against an armored target, the player does not roll damage. Instead, he rolls a number of dice equal to the sword's damage bonus (the number of dice that it adds to his Strength) against a difficulty of 7. Each success reduces the armor's soak bonus by one die. Armor that is reduced to zero soak dice in this manner is completely destroyed and unsalvageable. Additional successes beyond those needed to destroy a piece of armor have no effect. At the Storyteller's discretion, Pierce Steel's Skin may destroy other inanimate objects (walls, doors, cars, dramatically appropriate obstacles) without significant damage to the sword. For the purposes of this power, Fortitude counts as part of the target's Stamina, not external armor.

****Razor's Shield  

Many swordsmen hold that the duel is the ultimate test of the warrior because it places all opponents on an equal footing: Death is only three feet of steel away, and only the skill of the combatants determines who walks away. However, observers who are more pragmatic than romantic note that an enemy with a ranged weapon (be it bow, sling, or gun) has the advantage of striking from much farther away than arm's length. While Awakening of the Steel cannot completely counteract this advantage, this power allows the skilled sorcerer some measure of defense as the sword interposes itself between its master and attacks from afar.

System: For a number of turns equal to the number of successes rolled, the character may attempt to parry projectiles. This requires one action for each projectile that the player wishes to block, and the character must be able to see the shot coming (Heightened Senses allows visual tracking of bullets). Each parrying attempt requires a Dexterity + Melee roll, with a difficulty determined by the speed of the projectile. Thrown objects have a difficulty of 6, arrows and crossbow bolts a difficulty of 7, and bullets a difficulty of 9. Each success subtracts one success from the attacker's attack roll. Razor's Shield does not allow the character to parry ranged attacks that do not incorporate solid projectiles, such as flame, lightning, or spat blood.

*****Strike At The True Flesh  

Although pacifists may find other uses for blades, a warrior knows that swords were created for one purpose: To carve an enemy's flesh into bloody ruin. Strike at the True Flesh invokes the very essence of the sorcerer's weapon, reducing it to the embodiment of its very definition (or, as the more classically minded would put it, invoking the Platonic form) while simplifying its target to a similarly basic level. The results of such an invocation are usually devastating on both a philosophical and practical level as weapon and victim momentarily lose all supernatural attributes.

System: The effects of Strike at the True Flesh last for a number of turns equal to the number of successes rolled, and they end with the first successful attack that the character makes within this time period. The sword inflicts only the base amount of lethal damage that a weapon of its size and type would normally cause, disregarding all enhancements that it may have received (though augmentations to the wielder's strength or speed, such as Potence and Celerity, still have their normal effects, as do extra successes on the attack roll). However, all the target's supernatural defenses (including Fortitude) are likewise negated -- he soaks the attack only with his base Stamina. If the negation of his powers and defenses renders the target unable to soak lethal damage, he cannot soak the attack at all. Body armor does protect against this attack, as it is a mundane form of defense.
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