World of Darkness: Tenebris Raptis

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PostSubject: Necromancy   Mon Feb 08, 2010 4:27 pm

Necromancy is at once a Discipline and a school of magical learning, all dedicated toward the command of the souls of the dead. It has some similarities to Thaumaturgy in that, rather than being a strict linear progression of powers, Necromancy consists of several "paths" and accompanying "rituals." Well-trained and puissant vampiric necromancers can summon the dead, banish or imprison souls, and even reinsert ghosts into living - or unliving - bodies. Needless to say, the study of Necromancy is not widespread among the Kindred, and its practitioners - primarily Giovanni Kindred - are shunned or ignored whenever possible.

Over the centuries, the various schools of vampiric Necromancy have diversified, leaving three distinct paths of necromantic magic available to Cainites. All necromancers first learn the so-called Sepulchre Path, then extend their studies to the Bone Path or the Ash Path as time and opportunity permit. The Sepulchre Path is always considered the character's "primary" path; it increases automatically as the character increases her overall Necromancy rating. The Bone and Ash Paths must be bought separately, using the experience costs for secondary paths.

Like Thaumaturgy, Necromancy has also spawned a series of rituals. While not nearly so immediate in effect as the basic powers of Necromancy, Necromantic rituals can have impressive long-term effects. Unsurprisingly, the elements of Necromantic ritual are things like long-buried corpses, hands from the cadavers of hanged men, and so on, and so obtaining suitable materials can be quite difficult. Scarcity of supply limits the frequency of Necromantic rituals, giving cause for many other Kindred to breathe a metaphorical sigh of relief.

System: A Cainite necromancer must learn at least three levels in the Sepulchre Path before learning his first level in either the Bone Path or the Ash Path. He must then achieve mastery in the Sepulchre Path (five levels) before acquiring any knowledge of the third path.

As with Thaumaturgy, advancement in the primary path (in this case, the Sepulchre Path) costs the normal experience amount, while study of secondary Necromantic paths incurs an additional experience-point cost. Because Necromancy is not quite so rigid a study as Thaumaturgy is, the rolls required to use Necromantic powers can vary from path to path and even within individual paths.


Sepulchre Path
*Insight

This power allows a necromancer to stare into the eyes of a corpse and see reflected there the last thing the dead man witnessed. The vision appears only in the eyes of the cadaver and is visible to no one except the necromancer using Insight.
System: This power requires a roll of Perception + Occult (Diff 8 for formerly living creatures, 10 for unloving creatures such as vampires) as the vampire stares into the target’s eyes. The number of successes on the roll determines the clarity of the vision; a botch shows the necromancer his own Final Death, which can induce Rotschreck. This power cannot be used on the corpses of vampires who have reached Golconda, or those in whom advanced decomposition has set in.
1 Success A basic sense of the subject’s death
2 Successes A clear image of the subject’s death and the seconds proceeding it
3 Successes A clear image, with sound, of the minutes proceeding death
4 Successes A clear image, with sound, of the half hour before the subject’s demise
5 Successes Full sensory perception of the hour leading up to the target’s death

**Summon Soul

The power of Summon Soul allows a necromancer to call a ghost back from the Underworld, though for conversational purposes only. In order to perform this feat, the Giovanni must meet certain conditions:
1. The necromancer must know the name of the wraith in question, though an image of the wraith obtained via Psychometry will suffice.
2. An object with which the Wraith had some contact in life must be in the vicinity. If the object is something of great importance to the ghost, the chances for success in the summoning increase dramatically (-2 Diff). Note: This bonus applies for all powers on the Sepulchre Path.
Certain types of ghosts cannot be summoned with this power. Vampires who achieved Golconda before their Final Deaths, or who were diablerised, are beyond the reach of the summons. Likewise, many ghosts of the dead cannot be called – they are destor5yed, unable to return to the mortal plane, or lost in the eternal storm of the Underworld.
System: To use Summon soul, the vampire’s player must roll Perception + Occult (Diff 7, or the ghost’s Willpower if the Storyteller knows it). The number of successes on the roll indicates the tractability of the summoned spirit and how long the summoned wraith remains in the vicinity of her summoner. Summoned ghosts are visible and audible to the vampire who summoned them, and remain so up until the time the summoning wears off. Ghosts who wish to be summoned can voluntarily appear. For each question the vampire asks the summoned spirit, The Storyteller should roll one dice per summoning success. At least one success is needed on the second roll (Diff 6) in order to keep the wraith around long enough to answer the question. If a vampire botches a summoning roll, she calls forth a malevolent ghost (known as a spectre), which immediately sets about tormenting it’s summoner.

***Compel Soul

With this power, a vampire can command a ghost to do his bidding for a while. Compel is a perilous undertaking and, when used improperly, can endanger vampire and Wraith alike.
System: In order to compel a wraith, the vampire must first successfully summon it. Before the wraith has left the scene of the summoning, the vampire’s player must roll Manipulation + Occult (Diff equal to the target’s Willpower). The wraith can spend Pathos (the ghostly equivalent of blood; assume a pool of 7 for all ghosts) to combat the compulsion; each point spent removes one of the vampire’s successes. The vampire may attempt to compel a wraith multiple times during a single summoning. For each success achieved on the Manipulation + Occult roll, the necromancer achieves a greater degree of control over the wraith. The breakdown is as follows:
Failure The compulsion of the summoning ends and the wraith is free to leave. Many wraiths take the opportunity to assault their would-be masters as they leave.

1 Success The wraith must remain in the vicinity and refrain from attacking any creature without the necromancer’s consent.

2 Successes The wraith is bound to remain and answer any questions truthfully, though the questions had best be phrased carefully.

3 Successes The wraith is forced to remain and answer any questions truthfully, without evasion or omission.

4 Successes The wraith must remain, answering truthfully any questions asked of it. It must also perform any services commanded by its new master, though it is bound only by the letter of the command, not the spirit.

5 Successes The wraith is trapped, obeying the spirit of the vampire’s commands to the best of its ability.

Compel holds a ghost for one hour per success rolled. If the vampire wishes, she can expend a temporary Willpower point to keep the wraith under the compulsion for an extra night. The expenditure of a permanent point of Willpower on the Vampire’s part binds the wraith for a year and a day.

****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 self destruction. A wraith attempting to leave the area of a haunting must make a willpower roll (Diff 10, two successes necessary) or take a level of aggravated damage; if the wraith runs out of health levels, it is hurled deep into the Underworld to face destruction.
System: The player rolls Manipulation + Occult (Diff is target’s Willpower if she resists; otherwise it is 4). Each success ties the wraith to a particular spot of the necromancer’s choosing for a night; with the expenditure of a Willpower point, that becomes a week. Expenditure of a point of permanent Willpower extends the duration to a year.

*****Torment

It is through the use of this power that elder Giovanni convince bound ghosts to behave – or else. Torment allows the vampire to strike a wraith as if he himself were in the lands of the dead, inflicting damage on the wraith’s ectoplasmic form. The vampire remains in the real world, however, so he cannot be struck in return by the wraith.
System: The Player rolls Stamina + Empathy (Diff is the wraith’s Willpower), and the vampire reaches out to “touch” the wraith. Each success inflicts a level of lethal damage on the wraith. Should the wraith lose all health levels, it immediately vanishes into what appears to be a doorway to some hideous nightmare realm. Ghosts “destroyed” thus cannot reappear near the real world for a month.


Ash Path
*Shroud Sight

Shroud Sight 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 Shadow lands, and even wraiths themselves. However, the odds are that an observant wraith will notice when a vampire suddenly starts staring at him, which can lead to unpleasant consequences.
System: A simple roll of Perception + Alertness (Diff 7) allows the necromancer to use Shroud Sight. The effects last for a scene.

** Lifeless Tongues

Where Shroud Sight 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 (Diff 6) and the expenditure of a Willpower point. This power also grants the effects of Shroud Sight, so the vampire can see with whom, or what, she is conversing.

***Dead Hand

Similar to the Sepulchre Path power Torment, Dead Hand allows a necromancer to reach across the shroud and affect a ghostly object as if it were in the real world. Ghosts are solid to necromancers using this power, and can be attacked. Furthermore, the necromancer can pick up ghostly items, scale ghostly architecture (giving real-world bystanders the impression that he’s climbing on air) and generally exist in two worlds. On the other hand, a necromancer using Dead Hand is quite solid to the residents of the Underworld – and to whatever weapons they might have.
System: The player spends a point of Willpower and makes a successful Wits + Occult roll (Diff 7) for the vampire to activate Dead Hand. For each scene the vampire wishes to remain in contact with the Underworld, he must spend a point of blood.

****Ex Nihilo

Ex Nihilo allows a necromancer to enter the Underworld physically. While in the lands of the dead, the vampire is essentially an extra-solid ghost. He maintains his normal number of health levels, but can be hurt only by things that inflict aggravated damage on ghosts (weapons forged from souls, certain ghostly powers, etc.). A vampire physically in the Underworld can pass through solid objects (at the cost of one health level) and remain “incorporeal” thus for a number of turns equal to his Stamina rating. On the other hand, vampires present in the Underworld are subject to all of the Underworld’s perils, including ultimate destruction. A vampire Killed in the Deadlands is gone forever, beyond 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. (Note: Doors can be drawn ahead of time for exactly this purpose.) The player must then expend two points of Willpower and two points of Blood, then make a Stamina + Occult roll (Diff Cool 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 needs merely to concentrate (and the player spends another Willpower point and rolls Stamina + Occult, Diff 6). At Storyteller discretion, a vampire who is to deeply immersed in the Underworld may need to journey to a place close to the lands of the living in order to cross over. Vampires who wander too far into the lands of the dead may be trapped there forever. Vampires in the Underworld cannot feed upon ghosts; their only sustenance is the blood they bring with them.

*****Shroud Mastery

A bit of an exaggeration, Shroud Mastery is the ability to manipulate the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead. By doing so, a necromancer 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 (Diff 9). Each success on the roll raises or lowers the difficulties of all nearby wraiths’ actions by one, to a maximum of 10 or a minimum of 3. The Shroud reverts to its normal strength at a rate of one point per hour thereafter.


Bone Path
*Tremens

Tremens allows a necromancer to make the flesh of a corpse shift once. An arm might suddenly flop forward, a cadaver might sit up, or dead eyes might abruptly open. Needless to say, this sort of thing tends to have an impressive impact on people who aren’t expecting a departed relative to roll over in his coffin.
System: To use Tremens, the necromancer spends a single blood point, and the player must succeed on a Dexterity + Occult roll (Diff 6). The more successes achieved, the more complicated an action can be inculcated into the corpse. One success allows for an instantaneous movement, such as a twitch, while five allow the vampire to set up specific conditions under which the body animates (“the next time someone enters the room, I want the corpse to sit up and open its eyes.”) Under no circumstances can Tremens cause a dead body to attack or cause damage.

**Apprentice’s Brooms

With Apprentice’s Brooms, the necromancer can make a dead body rise and perform a simple function. For example, the corpse could be set to carrying heavy objects, digging, or just shambling from place to place. The cadavers thus animated do not attack or defend themselves if interfered with, but instead attempt to carry out their given instructions until such time as they’ve been rendered inanimate. Generally it takes dismemberment, flame or something similar to destroy a corpse animated in this way.
System: A roll of Wits + Occult (Diff 7) and the expenditure of a point of blood and Willpower are all that is necessary to animate corpses with Apprentice’s Brooms. The number of corpses animated is equal to the number of successes achieved. The necromancer must then state the task to which he is setting his zombies. The cadavers turn themselves to their work until they finish the job (at which point they collapse) or something (including time) destroys them. Bodies energized by this power continue to decay, albeit at a much slower rate than normal.

***Shambling Hordes

Shambling Hordes creates exactly what you think it might: reanimated corpses with the ability to attack, albeit neither very well nor very quickly. Once primed by this power, the corpses wait – for years, if necessary – to fulfil the command given them. The orders might be to protect a certain site or simply to attack immediately, but they will be carried out until every last one of the decomposing monsters is destroyed.
System: The player invests a point of Willpower, then spend a point of blood for each corpse the necromancer animates. The player then must succeed on a Wits + Occult roll (Diff Cool; each success allows the vampire to raise another corpse from the grave. Each zombie (for lack of a better term) can follow one simple instruction, such as “Stay here and guard this graveyard against any intruders,” or “Kill them.”
Note: Zombies created by Shambling Hordes will wait forever if need be to fulfil their functions. Long after the flesh has rotted off the mystically animated bones, the zombies will wait and wait – still able to perform their duties.

****Soul Stealing

This power affects the living, not the dead. It does, however, temporarily turn a living soul into a sort of wraith, as it allows a necromancer to strip a soul from a living - or vampire – body. A mortal exiled from his body by this power becomes a wraith with a single tie to the real world: his now empty body.
System: The player spends a point of Willpower and then makes a contested Willpower roll against the intended victim (Diff 6). Successes indicate the number of hours during which the original soul is forced out of its housing. The body itself remains automatically alive but catatonic.

*****Daemonic Possession

Daemonic Possession lets a vampire insert a soul into a freshly dead body and inhabit it for the duration. This does not turn the reanimated corpse into anything other than a reanimated corpse, and one that will irrevocably decay after a week, but it does give either a wraith or a free floating soul (say, that of a vampire using Psychic Projection) a temporary home in the physical world.
System: The body in question must be no more than 30 minutes dead, and the new tenant must agree to inhabit it – a ghost or astral form cannot be forced into a new shell. Of course, most ghosts would gladly seize the opportunity, but that’s a different matter. Should the vampire, for whatever reason, wish to insert a soul into another vampire’s corpse (before it crumbles to ash), the necromancer must achieve five successes on a resisted Willpower roll against the original owner of the body. Otherwise, the interloper is denied entrance.
Note: The soul can use whatever physical abilities (Dodge, Brawl, Potence) his new home possesses, and whatever mental abilities (Computer, Law, Presence) he possesses in his current existence. He cannot use the physical abilities of his old form, or the mental abilities of his new ones.
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