The Kindred have their own magic arts that are fueled by the power of their vitae. Blood Sorcery is about manipulating someone or something outside of the vampire’s state. The manipulation may be a petition, a command or a deception but is essentially an interaction with something outside the vampires purview, be it God or one of the pagan deities.
Most of the knowledge of Blood Sorcery rests in the hands of the Covenants- the Lancea Sanctum and the Circle of the Crone respectively, who are not willing to share their secrets. Each Covenant clads the understanding of Blood Sorcery in ritualistic notions akin to the disciplines common among the damned. Despite the levels of commonality exploited by the very rare sorcerers who learn both Disciplines, Crúac and Theban Sorcery (or any Blood Magic, for that matter) are not the same and do not share known common origins or metaphysics. In much the same way that the five clans may learn one another’s Disciplines, the Ritual Disciplines may be leveraged to achieve similar ends by very different means. Those means matter to a ritualist, though; they are the very essence of her craft. The Circle of the Crone and the Lancea Sanctum both regard their sorceries as religious experiences, the prohibitions on teaching until the student earns status serving to preserve the proper reverence for blood sorcery as much as keeping that sorcery proprietary. Other forms of Blood Sorcery are rumored to exist, but are hard to come by. An example for this would be Ahranite Sorcery, the Blood Sorcery of VII.
Creative Blood Sorcery is possible, even if it stretches the notions of ritual. While learned and practiced rituals tend to be more stable than spontaneous (such as it is, even a spontaneous casting requires careful preparation) spellcasting, doing so allows a Blood Sorcerer more flexibility in the usage of his powers. The ritual itself is both essential and irrelevant. There must be a ritual in order to channel the Blood, simple expenditure of vitae and efforts of will cannot evoke the effects of Blood Magic. The Lancea Sanctum and Circle of the Crone have devoted centuries to the study of blood sorcery, recording hundreds of rites and miracles. Thanks to the isolation of Kindred across cities, no single vampire has ever known or even heard of all the rituals practiced around the globe. New powers grow and wither with individual Kindred and rise and fall of their covenant. Rumors are that especially powerful Blood Sorcerers may survive Final Death in the form of their own Ashes that can reconstitute themselves via Diablerie of lesser vampires.
However, while Blood Sorcery is potent, it is not able to create permanent effects. Durations may vary according to Blood Potency and dedication behind the Ritual, but will one night fail nonetheless. Furthermore, vampiric sorcerers are, by default, unable to contact any other plane of existence besides the Material. Blood sorcery has no analogue to the “counter-magic” found in the ritual magics of some supernatural creatures. Once a ritual has been successfully cast, it can’t be “dispelled” by the powers available to the Kindred, although an additional ritual that negates the original effect might be cast by a blood magician.
The Blood Sorcerer summons the power within him, activates the Ritual Discipline with a sacrifice and makes his request. Cruac and Theban Sorcery differ in the sacrificial tactics: Cruac offers vitae in masses, often from a self-inflicted wound of the caster, while Theban Sorcerers deliver careful prepared regencies that crumble to dust after the spell is cast. While this makes Theban Sorcery initially harder, the cost remains constant, while the Rites of the Circle demand more blood with growing power. Rituals are constructed from the various Themes in accordance to the Motif of the practice. It is possible to combine various Themes in order to create different effects. A Ritual further demands explicity in terms of range, area, target, duration, and desired potency.
Blood magic has five themes that influence both Cruac and Theban Sorcery. When a Blood Sorcerer is introduced into his Covenant (has reached the first dot), he may invest two dot of Theme appropriate to his spellcasting, while spending one to the other themes.
Creation allows the ritualist to summon items, creatures, or phenomena out of nothing, fuelled only by blood or sacrifice as a catalyst for the generative urge. The Circle of the Crone favors this Theme.
A Ritualist can summon liquids, which typically pool up from wherever the ritual is targeted, and dead organic matter—corpses and the rotten remains of plants. She can also create sensory phenomena, such as sounds emanating from nowhere, strange smells, or lengthening shadows that aren’t cast by anything.
A Ritualist may summon predatory and scavenging animals, such as wolves, foxes, owls, and cats, as well as diseases and viruses. This power extends to supernatural servants, like Homunculi or other blood-created beings, as well. A ritualist also learns how to summon physical objects made of solid, homogenous material and to trigger weather so long as conditions are appropriate. She can make it rain or snow from a clouded sky, even make it rain blood or hail frogs or fish, but she can’t summon a thunderstorm out of a cloudless night.
A Ritualist can cause the Curse to extend to her creations. Animals, plants, and homunculi can be brought into being as ghouls by spending Vitae during the ritual. Objects created may now be complex or made of multiple materials, but they may not include valuables such as precious metals or gems. The ritualist’s command of the environment now extends to creating heat or cold, blanketing areas in magical darkness or summoning up gusts of wind.
A ritualist can now grant her non-physical Disciplines to homunculi on a one-to-one basis with the ritual’s Potency. Her command of the environment can create radically different weather patterns: she can summon thick cloud cover from a sunny day, or call up a gale-force wind or tornado. Her ability to create material goods is now complete with the knowledge of creating valuables through sorcery, though jewels are always dark or flawed and precious metals have an unhealthy sheen.
Divination allows a Ritualist to magically uncover knowledge and to divine for the location or circumstances of a target. The Blood Sorcerer may attempt to divine the future, but this is tricky, as events are always in flux. The Lancea Sanctum favors this Theme.
A ritualist may glimpse details about a course of action he has decided to undertake or learn basic information pertaining to a target. Glimpsing the future reveals fragmented and confusing imagery around an intended action, which the ritualist must interpret. Rituals made to uncover secrets instead do so in descending order of importance to or about the target within the category of information sought, at one revelation per Potency.
The Ritualist may gain knowledge of events happening at the present time. He may witness events at a long distance, borrow the senses of a target, or learn if a specified event is taking place. He may also set triggers in the future that activate specific rituals he conducted before.
Foretelling future events and seeing into the past of a target becomes more accurate, and it enables the ritualist to ask basic yes/no questions. The ritualist may ask for specific information about a target, learning what he wants rather than the most dominant information.
The ritualist can see specific times in the past or future without them having to be the answer to a question. He may also uncover knowledge about targets that no one knows, such as solutions to ancient puzzles and the lost locations of treasure troves.
The Destruction Theme allows a ritualist to magically deal damage to a target, reduce the effectiveness of defenses, increase the effectiveness of attacks and corrode durability. Both Covenants are adept at its use.
The Ritualist may instill destructive properties that lie in wait for unwitting victims—he can turn the blood of a target toxic to vampires feeding or cause a relic to burn anyone who touches it. He may also reduce the Durability of objects and the dot rating of armor by the Potency of his ritual. Lastly, he can inflict bashing wounds to a subject directly, without engaging in combat.
The Ritualist may inflict lethal wounds directly to the target instead of upgrading existing attacks or may upgrade lethal wounds to aggravated. He may also destroy blood—vampire or ghoul targets lose points of Vitae equal to Potency, while mortal victims suffer that many lethal wounds. He may also sap the will of a subject, reducing her Willpower.
The Theme of Protection is the counterpart to Destruction, enabling a ritualist to defend a target from physical and supernatural harm or danger. Both Covenants favor this Theme.
A ritualist can make it more difficult to harm his subject with other blood sorceries, subtracting Potency from the ritual roll for anyone targeting the beneficiary. He may heal bashing damage in vampires and grant protection from the very least power of the Kindred, the Kiss.
The ritualist can shield the ritual’s subject from physical dangers. Targets can be rendered untouchable or unable to be fed from, and the physical effects of Disciplines such as Nightmare can be warded off. Using the Theme on vampires allows the ritualist to protect his target from being staked or to heal lethal wounds.
The ritualist can defend his target against the mental effects of Disciplines such as Majesty or Dominate. Targets can be protected from the Vinculum for a single dose of Vitae per Potency, and vampire targets can be protected from falling asleep against their will during the day, allowing them to remain active for turns equal to Potency.
The Transmutation Theme allows practitioners to alter the physical, mental, and supernatural properties of a ritual subject. Neither Covenant specialize in this Theme, but many practice it nonetheless.
A ritualist can make a wide variety of minor changes to her subject. By forcing a target to share the Curse, she can store Vitae in inanimate objects, make Kindred instinctively fall asleep as though the sun were up, and inflict ravenous pangs of hunger on mortals in a mirror of the Wassail. At this level, the ritualist’s ability to alter physical properties is restricted. She may make minor manipulations to the appearance of a living or vampiric subject; aging, scars and other features may be altered, but nothing so extreme that he becomes unrecognizable. Dead matter, however, can be warped relatively easily, as long as the new appearance remains similar in size. Finally, she may animate liquids, including blood.
The ritualist has more control over her target. She may disguise a living or vampiric subject as another being of the same general height and weight, and may completely transform dead matter, changing inconvenient corpses into decaying plants, for instance. The animating power of the Theme now extends to gases and plants. The ritualist can also disrupt a thinking being’s volition enough to alter speech, but not to force physical actions.
The ritualist can alter living and vampiric beings, granting them the abilities and physical properties of others. Complete transmutation is still beyond the ritualist’s reach, but she can (for example) give a human being the scales of a reptile or coat the palms of a ghoul’s hands in stinging nematocysts. Inorganic objects may have their appearances changed. The ritualist’s ability to animate subjects has also progressed to having power over animals.
The ritualist gains the abilities to completely change one living thing into another. She may curse humans into animal shape or keep attack dogs in the guise of plants until needed. Her ability to animate subjects now extends to the dead, allowing for the creation of zombies, and to the physical control of thinking beings, allowing for actions to be forced on a sentient subject. She may also grant material objects the properties of one another.
The ritualist may transform any object or creature into any other, transferring and changing characteristics as she sees fit. Her power over vampirism now extends down to the urges that drive the Beast—she may manipulate Blood Potency and Vices. Finally, she is now at the point of being able to animate objects, allowing for the creation of gargoyles and similar effects.
Blood magic is a matter of the state of the soul of the vampire, and so, it differs in its practices. The frenzied orgies of the Circle of the Crone have little in common with the stern prayers of the Sanctified. Each Motive colors how the Themes are invoked
Motives of the Lancea SanctumEdit
Theban Sorcery requires conscious effort, deliberate planning, and the offering up of a sacrifice that burns to ash without the touch of any fire. Sanctified chant their requests in angelic glossolalia, pray, whisper, write in strange symbols, or plead to the heavens. The power is above or outside them, God or His agents responding to their pleas. Their sacrifice is part of the request, a symbol or token taken by the miracle. Miracles are paced, rhythmic, and deliberate—a Sanctified ritualist plans every word and gesture ahead of time, preparing a suitable sacrifice and calling on the Man, the part of himself that thinks, worships, and sins, to prove that it is more than a Beast.
Motives of the Circle of the CroneEdit
Crúac is deadening to the soul, requires Vitae to be spilt and has a primal, instinctive feel to its rites. Crúac stirs the Beast through rituals that call upon the primal, animalistic blood-totem-gods of pagan nights. The power of the Blood pours out from within their own bodies. The Curse itself carries the request, pooling into the world around a vampire to twist it to her will, in exchange for blood to sate its hunger. Rites are frantic, almost desperate affairs, and Acolyte ritualists are prone to frenzy when a ritual fails, having left the Beast roused without cause.
Motives of Ahranite SorceryEdit
The mysterious spellcraft of VII’s Clan Akhud are powered by the Clan’s patron, the demon Shaddad who once ruled over old Irem. It is fragmented and few have a complete grasp on its tenets, motives or Themes since the destruction of the Malakul monastery in 1612. Ahranite Sorcery is cast via a Cauldron of Shaddad, a stone cauldron with the sigil of demon carved in that is filled with vitae and then ceremonially damaged. One Motif, however, is certain
- Infernal (Ahranite Sorcery is a gift from Shaddad to his disciples)
Crossover with Mage: The AwakeningEdit
The Tremere liches, a Legacy from Mage: The Awakening, are rumored to have been the slaves of an ancient vampire known as the Theban, who had mastered the Curse to a degree that he was able to influence the vampiric form (The Left-Hand Path, pg.80). He transformed the early Tremere into Breath-Eaters in order to keep them subservient. In the moments that the Tremere became what they were by the revelation of the Seventh Dragon, they heard a song from a the Final Watchtower that claimed them and spoke: “You mastered My Flesh,/stolen by five dragons, my treacherous children./You drank of My Blood,/sixth dragon, my forgotten Son.” (The Left-Hand Path, pg.81, line 23 -26). The Suspire, the Grimoire of Tremere history, tells of a Sixth Dragon (in contrast to the other known Five, who would later form the Supernal Realms mages use to draw their power from) who was slain by his treacherous brothers before the forming of Atlantis (The Left-Hand Path, pg.79). Furthermore, mages are unable to directly alter the vampiric condition (not even archmages are able to silence the Beast or change a vampires Clan) as vampires are strangely missing in the cosmology of the Arcana (see Tome of Mysteries pg.46 for more information on the relations between Kindred and Awakened). Therefore, it seems not unreasonable that least Theban Sorcery (whom the Lancea Sanctum claims was revealed to them by the angel Amoniel in the form of a vast chamber beneath Thebes, with strange hieroglyphs and murals that offered them the rites, for more detailed information, visit Lancea Sanctum, pg.35) has ties to a fallen Supernal Ream from before the arrival of humans on the Dragon Island, with Blood (or, more correctly, Vitae) forming the former subtle Arcanum of the equation, robbed of its flexibility, but still surviving in the form of ritualistic notions that invoke sympathetic links to the vampiric state. Additionally, Imperial Rites (the highest form of Awakened Magic) are stated to be able to alter the platonic Supernal Realm itself, allowing Old Ones and whole concepts to be banished from the Supernal and be excised from the Tapestry as if they never existed at all, yet lingering in a half-dormant existence within the Phenomenal World (see Imperial Mysteries, pg.29) . As it stands, no definite answers are given and likely never will, given the careful approach to crossover games and Metaplot in the Chronicles of Darkness.