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Necromancy (VTM)

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Name: Necromancy
Symbol: LogoVTESNecromancy
Pronunciation:
Clans: Giovanni
Bloodlines: Harbingers of Skulls, Kiasyd (second edition only), Maeghar, Nagaraja, Impundulu

Necromancy is a form of blood magic that deals exclusively with the world of the dead: wraiths and the Shadowlands.

Just as there are different styles of conventional blood sorcery, there are a variety of Necromancy practices. It is primarily practised by the Giovanni clan and the Samedi, Harbingers of Skulls and Nagaraja bloodlines. The blood magic style itself could be said to be an evolution and fusion of the Cappadocians' earlier discipline of Mortis (as written up in the revised Dark Ages: Vampire setting) and the Giovanni's trademark "Nigrimancy".

OverviewEdit

While there are several "schools" of Necromancy, the foremost in the Western World is the art that draws inspiration from Classical Rome and Greece. During this time, Necromancy was not seen as inherently evil, as long as the necromancer would refrain from forcing the spirits of the dead to do his biding and would use their arts for good ends. With the advent of Christianity, the earliest necromancers would syncretize the Roman and Greek arts with the new christian world view. Even tonight, Classical mythology and the imagery of figures like Hades and Cerberus resonate with many rituals used by necromancers. During the Dark Ages, vampires believed that Necromancy showed God's disfavour by placing them between the realms of the dead and the living, without belonging to either.[1]

In the Modern Nights, Necromancy is divided into two parts that further cemented themselves in the third century: The Principle of Authority and the Principle of Taboo. Authority was developed with reference on the cosmology of Iamblichos, which classified gods, demons and similar entities into a single hierarchy of beings that could be manipulated through the right use of symbols and cultic practices. As the ghosts of the dead occupied a lower place than the living, a necromancer could force these creatures to his biding, as God had given Adam and Eve dominion over the world. For these necromancers, wraiths were as much resources as wood and grain. Necromancers of this strain emphasize purity, chasteness, preciseness and the use of objects with symbolic connotations to authority and enslavement.

Taboo, on the contrary, does not rely on rules, but on the overstepping of them. Taboo-breaking necromancy posits that the rules of a society have mystical properties that draw from the persons that observe them. Deliberately breaking these rules gives the necromancer power. The more sacrosant the rule is, the more power can be gained from breaking it. Since the contact with human remains was among the greatest taboos in the Western World, necromancers focused on bodily remains of the dead. Necromancers of this strain emphasize the use of objects that arouse disgust in the living (rotten flesh, maggots, grave dust and similar things), as well as objects that are associated with concepts that are thought separate from death (youth, fertility, pleasure). Acts like necrophilia are then used to break the Taboo and power the practice.

The Principles of Authority and Taboo are very difficult to use conjointly. Most necromancers focus on one approach.[2]

Standard Paths and AbilitiesEdit

Necromancy paths, similar to their Thaumaturgy counterparts, are collections of reliable powers which revolve around a particular aspect of the dead. Among the Giovanni (and thus the majority of Kindred necromancers) the Sepulchre Path is the primary path that most practitioners learn. Subsequent releases in the Revised setting added various rituals and a handful of additional paths as well.

The Sepulchre PathEdit

This path allows the necromancer to command, interact with and combat ghosts.

  • Menu hover bulletMenu bulletMenu bulletMenu bulletMenu bullet Insight:[1] see the last moment's of a corpses life.
  • Menu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu bulletMenu bulletMenu bullet Summon Soul:[2] summons a wraith.
  • Menu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu bulletMenu bullet Compel Soul:[3] force a wraith to do your bidding.
  • Menu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu bullet Haunting:[4] binds a wraith to a location or object.
  • Menu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu hover bullet Torment:[5] damages a spirit.

The Bone PathEdit

This path allows the necromancer to animate and control the dead corpses of animals and people, letting him/her create zombies of a sort.

  • Menu hover bulletMenu bulletMenu bulletMenu bulletMenu bullet Tremenes:[6] making the flesh of a corpse shift once
  • Menu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu bulletMenu bulletMenu bullet Apprentice's Brooms:[7] allowing the dead to rise and perform simple functions like lifting a heavy box.
  • Menu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu bulletMenu bullet Shambling Hordes:[8] allows the dead to rise and perform attacks.
  • Menu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu bullet Soul Stealing:[9] remove one soul from its body.
  • Menu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu hover bullet Daemonic Possession:[10] place a soul in a fresh corpse.

The Ash PathEdit

This path allows the necromancer to pierce the Shroud and enter the Shadowlands that the various ghosts and Wraiths dwell in.

  • Menu hover bulletMenu bulletMenu bulletMenu bulletMenu bullet Shoudsight:[11] allows you to see into the Shadowlands
  • Menu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu bulletMenu bulletMenu bullet Lifeless Tongues:[12] allows you to speak with the dead in any language.
  • Menu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu bulletMenu bullet Dead Hand:[13] allows to you reach into the shadowlands and touch objects there.
  • Menu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu bullet Ex Nihilo:[14] allows you to enter the Shadowlands
  • Menu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu hover bullet Shroud Mastery:[15] allows you to strengthen or weaken the shroud rating in an area.

Bloodline and Specialty Paths and AbilitiesEdit

Below are some Speciality Paths of Necromancy detailed. Each of these Paths is a closely guarded secret among its associated bloodlines, who are usually not forthcoming with teaching their treasured art.

The Vitreous PathEdit

The proprietary path of the Nagaraja, allows for more refined control over wraiths than even the Sepulchre Path; a master of the path may gain sustenance from them. It was introduced in Vampire Storytellers Handbook Revised as a replacement for the Nihilistics discipline.

The Vitreous path was originally quite stripped down compared to Nihilistics, removing the powers that focused on harnessing Oblivion energy to focus exclusively on sensing and manipulating Wraiths. The V20 revision altered the path to more closely emulate Nihilistics, the main difference being that the 2nd and 3rd level powers were switched.

  • Menu hover bulletMenu bulletMenu bulletMenu bulletMenu bullet [16]
    • Eyes of the Dead (Rev): Use the Deathsight of nearby Wraiths
    • Eyes of the Dead (V20): As the level 2 power Hour of Death, below
  • Menu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu bulletMenu bulletMenu bullet [17]
    • Hour of Death (Rev): Grants the necromancer Deathsight of his own which can be used to determine nearness of death or diagnose illness
    • Aura of Decay (V20): Infect an object with the taint of Oblivion
  • Menu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu bulletMenu bullet [18]
    • Soul Judgment (Rev): Determine if a Wraith is controlled by his Shadow
    • Soul Feast (V20): Consume the energy of a Wraith as a substitute for blood
  • Menu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu bullet Breath of Thanatos:[19] Release necrotic energy as a deadly weapon
  • Menu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu hover bullet [20]
    • Soul Feasting (Rev): Consume the energy of a Wraith as a substitute for blood
    • Nightcry (V20): Summon creatures from the Shadowlands

The Cenotaph PathEdit

A rare path mainly practised by the African Ghiberti family of the Giovanni which allows the necromancer control and even reassignment of a wraith's fetter. (VTM: Clanbook: Giovanni Revised Bullet-pdf Bullet-nip)

  • Menu hover bulletMenu bulletMenu bulletMenu bulletMenu bullet Touch of Death:[21] Sense the recent presence of wraiths
  • Menu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu bulletMenu bulletMenu bullet Reveal the Catene:[22] Allows the Vampire to identify if an object is a fetter
  • Menu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu bulletMenu bullet Tread Upon The Grave:[23] Sense the strength of the local Shroud
  • Menu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu bullet Death Knell:[24] The necromancer can sense deaths that occur near him
  • Menu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu hover bullet Ephemeral Binding:[25] Create artificial fetters

The Path of AbomboEdit

A path practised by the Laibon of Africa, focussing on the connection between the dead and the living; similar to but distinct from the Cenotaph Path. (VTM: Kindred of the Ebony Kingdom, p. 104 )

The Path of HauntingEdit

A path practiced by the Maeghar and also pioneered by Giovanni during their time as a bloodline of the Cappadocians. It revolves around the ephemeral nature of the Shadowlands and the fascination associated with death.

The Path of the Twilight GardenEdit

Also known as the "Path of Four Humors", this was the speciality of the Lamia bloodline of the Dark Ages in Dark Ages: Vampire and V20 Dark Ages.

The Mortuus Path (Defunct)Edit

The proprietary path of the Harbingers of Skulls (though this is questionable), this path allows the necromancer to manipulate the actual state of undeath for personal utility and offensive applications. It was introduced in Guide to the Sabbat as a straight adaptation of Vampire: The Dark Ages' Mortis discipline.

In Dark Ages: Vampire and V20, it was replaced by The Grave's Decay and The Corpse in the Monster, which are now collectively known as "the Mortuus path".

  • Menu hover bulletMenu bulletMenu bulletMenu bulletMenu bullet Reaper's Shroud:[26] Causes an individual to resemble a walking corpse, temporarily
  • Menu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu bulletMenu bulletMenu bullet Blight:[27] Causes all the ill-effects of advanced age and decrepitude in a target
  • Menu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu bulletMenu bullet Resume the Coil:[28] Awaken from Torpor or help another vampire do so
  • Menu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu bullet True Death:[29] Become a true corpse, unaffected by the banes of vampirism
  • Menu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu hover bullet Mercy for Seth:[30] Infects its target with a virulent plague that kills mortals or puts vampires into Torpor

RitualsEdit

Main article: List of Necromancy Rituals

Similar to Thaumaturgy, Necromancy has several Rituals that can be used to achieve static effects.

Official Abilities (Defunct)Edit

Included below are the official powers described in supplements for Vampire: The Masquerade and Vampire: The Dark Ages. Sources are described below in the order they were printed.

Standard PowersEdit

  • Menu hover bulletMenu bulletMenu bulletMenu bulletMenu bullet Insight (1st/2nd/VtDA):[31] Allows recall of the last thing glimpsed by a corpse[3]
  • Menu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu bulletMenu bulletMenu bullet Summon Spirit (1st/2nd/VtDA):[32] Allows a Necromancer to summon a wraith[3]
  • Menu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu bulletMenu bullet [33]
    • Compel (1st/2nd): Compels a wraith to obey a Necromancer's commands[3]
    • Corporeal Home (VtDA):[34] Traps a wraith inside a container
  • Menu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu bullet Haunting (1st/2nd):[35] Ties a wraith to a location in the Shadowlands[3]
  • Menu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu hover bullet Soul Stealing (1st/2nd):[36] Turns a mortal into a wraith temporarily, leaving his body as a Fetter[3]

Advanced PowersEdit

  • Menu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu hover bullet Menu hover bulletMenu bulletMenu bulletMenu bulletMenu bullet Zombie:[37] Animates a corpse through the insertion of a Drone into the shell[3]
  • Menu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu hover bullet Menu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu bulletMenu bulletMenu bullet [38]
    • Torment: Allows a vampire to Strike a wraith physically and do normal damage[3]
    • Severing the Ties of Death: Traps a wraith inside an object, preventing them from being affected from the Shadowlands
  • Menu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu hover bullet Menu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu bulletMenu bullet Soul Exchange:[39] Permits the exchange of spirits between bodies[3]
  • Menu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu hover bullet Menu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu bullet [40]
    • Possession: Temporarily places a wraith in command of a freshly dead corpse[3]
    • Inurement: prepares a fetter in order to become a wraith if faced with Final Death
  • Menu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu hover bullet Menu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu hover bulletMenu hover bullet [41]
    • Death Pact: Lets a mortal promise service beyond the grave in exchange for a favor from the Necromancer[3]
    • Plot Device

Version differencesEdit

Necromancy in the second edition was a single Discipline, favored by the Giovanni, Nagaraja and Kiasyd. In the revised edition Necromancy was broken up into paths and rituals much like its counterpart Thaumaturgy; the Kiasyd's clan Disciplines were changed, replacing Necromancy with Dominate.

In Vampire: The Masquerade 20th Anniversary Edition, Necromancy and Mortis are combined into a single Discipline for simplicity's sake, adding the Path of the Grave's Decay, the Path of the Corpse In the Monster, and the Path of the Four Humors. The Mortuus Path, being a simplification of the first two, was removed.

References Edit

  1. DAV: Players Guide to the High Clans, p.193
  2. VTM: Blood Magic: Secrets of Thaumaturgy, p.101-105
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 3.9 Wraith: The Oblivion Second Edition, p. 282

^  Level 1

Insight Vampire Players Guide First Edition Pg. 127
Insight Vampire Players Guide Second Edition Pg. 136
The Tragedy Revealed Clanbook: Cappadocian Pg. 42
Insight Vampire: The Masquerade Revised Edition Pg. 161
Tremens Vampire: The Masquerade Revised Edition Pg. 163
Shroudsight Vampire: The Masquerade Revised Edition Pg. 164
Eyes of the Dead Vampire Storytellers Handbook Revised Pg. 40
Eyes of the Dead Vampire: The Masquerade 20th Anniversary Edition Pg. 174

^  Level 2

Summon Spirit Vampire Players Guide First Edition Pg. 127
Summon Spirit Vampire Players Guide Second Edition Pg. 136
Call Forth the Host Clanbook: Cappadocian Pg. 43
Summon Soul Vampire: The Masquerade Revised Edition Pg. 161
Apprentice's Brooms Vampire: The Masquerade Revised Edition Pg. 163
Lifeless Tongues Vampire: The Masquerade Revised Edition Pg. 164
Hour of Death Vampire Storytellers Handbook Revised Pg. 40
Aura of Decay Vampire: The Masquerade 20th Anniversary Edition Pg. 175

^  Level 3

Compel Vampire Players Guide First Edition Pg. 127
Compel Vampire Players Guide Second Edition Pg. 136
Corporeal Home Clanbook: Cappadocian Pg. 43
Compel Soul Vampire: The Masquerade Revised Edition Pg. 161
Shambling Hordes Vampire: The Masquerade Revised Edition Pg. 163
Dead Hand Vampire: The Masquerade Revised Edition Pg. 164
Soul Judgment Vampire Storytellers Handbook Revised Pg. 41
Soul Feast Vampire: The Masquerade 20th Anniversary Edition Pg. 175

^  Level 4

Haunting Vampire Players Guide First Edition Pg. 127
Haunting Vampire Players Guide Second Edition Pg. 137
Haunting Vampire: The Masquerade Revised Edition Pg. 162
Soul Stealing Vampire: The Masquerade Revised Edition Pg. 163
Ex Nihilo Vampire: The Masquerade Revised Edition Pg. 164
Breath of Thanatos Vampire Storytellers Handbook Revised Pg. 41
Breath of Thanatos Vampire: The Masquerade 20th Anniversary Edition Pg. 176

^  Level 5

Soul Stealing Vampire Players Guide First Edition Pg. 127
Soul Stealing Vampire Players Guide Second Edition Pg. 137
Torment Vampire: The Masquerade Revised Edition Pg. 162
Daemonic Possession Vampire: The Masquerade Revised Edition Pg. 163
Shroud Mastery Vampire: The Masquerade Revised Edition Pg. 165
Soul Feasting Vampire Storytellers Handbook Revised Pg. 42
Nightcry Vampire: The Masquerade 20th Anniversary Edition Pg. 176

^  Level 6

Zombie Vampire Players Guide First Edition Pg. 127
Zombie Vampire Players Guide Second Edition Pg. 137

^  Level 7

Torment Vampire Players Guide First Edition Pg. 128
Torment Vampire Players Guide Second Edition Pg. 137
Severing the Ties of Death Clanbook: Giovanni Pg. 42

^  Level 8

Soul Exchange Vampire Players Guide First Edition Pg. 128
Soul Exchange Vampire Players Guide Second Edition Pg. 137

^  Level 9

Possession Vampire Players Guide First Edition Pg. 128
Possession Vampire Players Guide Second Edition Pg. 137
Inurement Clanbook: Giovanni Pg. 43

^  Level 10

Death Pact Vampire Players Guide First Edition Pg. 128
Death Pact Vampire Players Guide Second Edition Pg. 137

Vampire: The Masquerade Disciplines

Abombwe · Animalism · Auspex · Bardo · Celerity · Chimerstry · Daimonion · Dementation · Dominate · Flight · Fortitude · Melpominee · Mytherceria · Obeah · Obfuscate · Obtenebration · Potence · Presence · Protean · Quietus · Sanguinus · Serpentis · Spiritus · Temporis · Thanatosis · Valeren · Vicissitude · Visceratika

Blood Sorcery:

Abyss Mysticism · Akhu · Countermagic, Thaumaturgical · Dur-An-Ki · Mortis · Nahuallotl · Necromancy, Voudoun · Necromancy, Western · Ogham · Sadhana · Sihr · Thaumaturgy · Thaumaturgy, Dark · Thaumaturgy, Sielanic · Sorcery, Assamite · Sorcery, Anarch · Sorcery, Koldunic · Sorcery, Setite · Wanga

Defunct:

Deimos · Kai · Kineticism · Maleficia · Nihilistics · Rift · Striga

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