Dark Thaumaturgy is the name given to Thaumaturgy learned from demons. Vampires may make pacts with demons in order to learn the secrets of blood sorcery, just as mortal mages do to learn other infernal magics; they do so at the cost of whatever soul they have left, sealing a bargain which is a quick route to magical power. The price of gaining knowledge varies depending on the demon bartered with, but even vampires generally consider any infernal cost too high. Dark Thaumaturgy is most often practised by the Baali bloodline and members of the Sabbat, especially the Tremere antitribu, who were considered to have created some of the better known Dark Thaumarturgy paths. Since the traitors' destruction, Dark Thaumaturgy has gained popularity in the Sabbat as it's now nearly impossible for the Sect's members to learn Thaumaturgy by other means, but even the leaders of the Sword of Caine forbid its practice.
Apart from providing faster and easier access to more common Thaumaturgy paths, Dark Thaumaturgy has paths and rituals of its own which can only be learnt from demons. While all Dark Thaumaturgy relies on an infernal pact, these paths draw on the power of Hell for their effects, and are greatly feared.
Dark Thaumaturgy is always learned at a price, whether this be a generic bargain with the demonic instructor, or a specific affliction relating to the path learnt. Known prices for the paths are listed with their entries below.
- The Fires of the Inferno - similar to The Lure of Flames, but the sickly green balefire conjured from Hell by this path has only one use: destruction. Price: Obvious balefire taints the user's aura. (Guide to the Sabbat, p. 99)
- The Path of Phobos - this path conjures a foe's worst fears to assault him. Price: Horrific nightmares. (Guide to the Sabbat, p. 100)
- The Taking of the Spirit - saps the willpower of the victim. Price: Arrogance, manifesting as megalomania. (Guide to the Sabbat, p. 101)
- The Path of Pain - mastery over and the infliction of physical pain. Price: Addiction to pain. ( )
- The Path of Pleasure - the creation of artificial, addictive pleasure and other drug-like effects. Price: The Beast's desires become harder to resist. (Sins of the Blood, p. 87)
- Path of the Defiler - mystical corruption; possibly an infernal variation of the Path of Corruption. Price: Jealousy, manifesting as possessiveness of the user's victims. (Sins of the Blood, p. 89)
- Path of the Unspoken - the acquisition of knowledge via blasphemous means. Considered a myth by most sorcerers. Price: Memory lapses. (Sins of the Blood, p. 91)
- Path of Pestilence - the creation and spread of disease. Price: "The Rot", an ever-worsening disease. (Sins of the Blood, p. 93)
- Rego Venalis (Path of Corruption) - mystical corruption (Dark Ages Companion, p. 105)
- Video Nefas (Path of Evil Revelations) - the acquisition of secrets of mortals and demons (Dark Ages Companion, p. 105-106)
- Rego Dolor (Path of Pain) - the infliction of physical pain (Dark Ages Companion, p. 106-107)
- Rego Manes (Path of Spirit) - the conjuration of demons and the infliction of damage to all kinds of spirits (Dark Ages Companion, p. 107-108)
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