- For the book of the same name, see Blood Magic: Secrets of Thaumaturgy
Through the practice of blood magic a Cainite can summon fire, control the weather, and do many other things which are unnatural even by vampiric standards. They are generally learned as paths, collections of related magical effects which superficially resemble Disciplines, though the early blood magicians learned they could also create special rituals thematically connected to any paths they studied they could have lasting or more powerful effects.
The various forms of blood magic are distinct from Disciplines; though they are blood-based powers, and paths are learned in tiers as Disciplines are, such knowledge is neither passed on to one’s childer nor amenable to elder-level manifestations. While Disciplines are powers which stem from the nature of vampirism, or in stranger cases the exotic natures of their creators, blood sorcery seeks to achieve almost any effect imaginable by focusing the magical power of blood through an act of will.
These arts have been practiced in many forms throughout Cainite history. In ages past, Dur-An-Ki (now known as "Assamite Sorcery") was the most prominent type of blood magic. Though Dur-An-Ki and many other older styles have survived into the Modern Nights, without doubt the most prolific and famous practitioners of blood sorcery in recent history are the members of Clan Tremere.
The Tremere were originally a House of mages belonging to the Order of Hermes. Through a powerful ritual they became vampires, founding their own Clan, but afterward discovered they could no longer work magic as they once did. Instead they adapted their knowledge of Hermetic magic into a new tradition of blood sorcery known as Thaumaturgy. They jealously guard all knowledge of Thaumaturgy, and few outside the clan ever learn its secrets. Their unique powers have been called on many times by the Camarilla, securing the clan's position within the sect.
The most prominent form of non-Thaumaturgical blood magic in the modern nights is the Necromancy of the Giovanni clan. Necromancy borrows from the mystical traditions of the Mortis Discipline of the long-destroyed Cappadocian clan, though even in modern times the Giovanni are not its only practitioners.
- Abyss Mysticism, an advanced application of Obtenebration used by some Lasombra that focuses the power of the Abyss in rituals to unleash its denizens on the world
- Anarch Sorcery, a hodgepot of various traditions either rejected from their main tradition or evolving to mortal trends often found within Anarch communities
- Hacktivist Thaumaturgy, an offspring of the newly founded Path of Technomancy that focuses on the application of the Principles in concert with modern technology
- New Age Blood Magic, a tradition in tune with the various New Age movements and mindsets
- Old Skool Sorcery, various nearly extinct religious practices used as a tradition
- Punk Sorcery, a variant of mortal Chaos magic
- Assamite Sorcery, the ecstatic practices of the Assamite Sorcerers that date back to the Second City
- Dur-An-Ki, the standard magical tradition of every Assamite, which draws on ancient covenants with the gods of ancient Mesopotamia (other observers claim that the ashipu traffic with highly dangerous spirits). Most use Kalif, a vitae-laced drug, or similar stimulants to achieve ecstasis to commune with the gods.
- Sihr, a nearly-extinct variant of Assamite Sorcery preserved by the Hajj bloodline of Arabia. It is dedicated to Allah and beseeches him to aid via long prayers and religious rituals.
- Koldunic Sorcery, the elemental arts of the Tzimisce that focus on the control of local spirits through their link to Kupala
- Necromancy, the narrower arts of the Giovanni that focus on the Underworld and the control of wraiths. As the wraiths of all Dark Kingdoms possess different Arcanoi and sometimes even different soul structures, the tradition in which Necromancy is practiced has to specialize itself on a given Dark Kingdom.
- Mortis, the art of the Cappadocians, which was more focused on the physical impact of death instead of the spiritual
- Eastern Necromancy, the arts practiced by the della Passaglia family of the Giovanni and the Nagaraja to subdue the wraiths of the Dark Kingdom of Jade and Bhuvar
- Western Necromancy, the arts originating in Roman Ancestor worship used by the Giovanni main family and the Harbingers of Skulls to subdue the wraiths of the Dark Kingdom of Iron
- Aztec Necromancy, the arts practiced by the Pisanob branch of the family in order to control the wraiths of the Dark Kingdom of Obsidian
- African Necromancy, the arts practiced by the Mla Watu and the Ghiberti family of the Giovanni to subdue the wraiths of the Dark Kingdom of Ivory
- Voudoun Necromancy, a voodoo-inspired take on Necromancy exhibited by the Samedi, similar in many aspects to Wanga
- Sadhana, the ancient thaumaturgical Discipline of the Danava and other raktasadhus of India, which predates Tremere Thaumaturgy by thousands of years
- Setite Sorcery, the various religious practices of the Followers of Set and its various bloodlines
- Thaumaturgy, the hermetic blood sorcery of the Tremere Clan, one of the most versatile traditions. It is known for being very formal and academic, viewing most of its practices through a nearly scientific lens.
- Dark Thaumaturgy, infernal secrets and investments granted by Demons to those who would worship them.
- Inconnu Thaumaturgy, the thaumaturgic style of the adherents of the Inconnu.
- Sielanic Thaumaturgy, a more animistic branch that has more in common with the practices of the Tzimisce, used by the Telyavelic Tremere
- Wanga, the voodoo-inspired Afro-Caribbean practices of the Samedi and Serpents of the Light, with ties to Voudoun Necromancy
Thaumaturgy lays down the basic blueprint for almost all blood sorcery: the sorcerer must learn the basic principles of their chosen form of blood magic, increasing their mastery as if learning a Discipline. In addition, the vampire chooses a primary Path, which improves as the sorcerer's knowledge of blood magic grows.
Once their knowledge is sufficiently advanced, the vampire may learn other Paths, allowing them to produce very different effects. While Paths tend to be quick and powered by a combination of vitae and the vampire's will, rituals include other elements relevant to the sorcerer's paradigm – sacrifices, mystical ingredients, magical tools and the like. Rituals typically require greater time and preparation, but can have long-lasting effects and range in power from trivial to history changing. The Tremere used a ritual to curse the entire Assamite clan and, it is rumored, to destroy their Tremere antitribu cousins.
Blood Sorcery is defined by its Tradition, the style and belief system of the adherent. In order to proper utilize a given form of Blood magic, one has to immerse oneself in its way of thinking, similar to the Paradigm of an actual mage. Some Tremere, who have been mortal mages once, have theorized that the power within their vitae (the Curse of God, as more pious would claim) is what allows blood magicians to shape the world without inviting the Paradox that plagues true mages, as they do not rely on external Spheres, but on something that is contained deep within their own essence. Noddists that have knowledge of this claim that this was the reason Caine killed his brother, to invite God's curse upon him to steal a part of His power.
There are, however, common roots to each practice. The source of every form of blood magic is vitae and the power contained within it, called the Principle of Blood. With the force of his will, combined with the power of the Principle of Blood, the blood magicians forces the changes he wishes to occur in accordance to his Tradition, in the Principle of Will. Both Blood and Will are useless, however, without proper instruction in the ways of the Tradition the blood mage follows, called the Principle of Knowledge. In order to direct the magic under his control, the blood magician has to focus on his target and the changes he wants to force upon him, referred to as the Principle of Identity. These are the four great Principles which underpin vampiric blood magic and some theoreticians go farther and state that they are the Principles behind every applied Discipline.
Lesser Principles are the Principle of Contagion, that governs how a part severed from its original retains residues of its magical signature and can pass this signature on when they come in contact with something else, and the Principle of Sympathy, that governs how like affects like. A Principle used to describe the effect of Ritual components is described as the Principle of Inherence, that used symbolic residues within seemingly mundane objects to subvert the need for the Principle of Blood.
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