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 Necromancy - Rituals

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Noctalys
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PostSubject: Necromancy - Rituals   Mon Nov 02, 2009 10:42 pm

The rituals connected with Necromancy are a hodgepodge lot. Some have direct relations to the paths; others seem to have been taught by wraiths themselves, for whatever twisted reason. All beginning necromancers gain one Level One ritual, but any others learned must be gained through in-game play. Necromantic rituals are otherwise identical to Thaumaturgy rituals and are learned in similar fashion, though the two are by no means compatible. Some rituals were developed by the Sabbat or independent practitioners of Necromancy, but are not exclusive to their creators. However, they may prove difficult to learn (or even locate), and Storytellers may wish to grant others versions of these rituals that operate at higher difficulties and / or lessened effectiveness, or to deny them altogether. System: Casting times for necromantic rituals vary widely; see the description for particulars. The player rolls Intelligence + Occult (difficulty 3 + the level of the ritual, maximum 9); success indicates the ritual proceeds smoothly, failure produces no effect, and a botch often indicates that certain "powers" notice the caster, usually to her detriment.


Level 1

Eldritch Beacon

Eldritch Beacon takes 15 minutes to cast. The material component is a green candle, the melted wax from which must be collected and molded into a half-inch sphere. Whoever carries this sphere, whether in his hand or in a pocket, is highlighted in the Shadowlands with a sickly-glowing green-white aura. All wraithly powers affect this individual with greater ease and severity (generally a –1 difficulty to wraiths using powers on the bearer of the beacon). The sphere retains its power for one hour per success on the casting roll.


Call of the Hungry Dead

Call of the Hungry Dead takes only 10 minutes to cast and requires a hair from the target's head. The ritual climaxes with the burning of that hair in the flame of a black candle, after which the victim becomes able to hear snatches of conversation from across the Shroud. If the target is not prepared, the voices come as a confusing welter of howls and unearthly demands; he is unable to make out anything intelligible, and might well go briefly mad.


Level 2

The Puppet

Use primarily to facilitate conversations with the recently departed, though also applied as a method of psychological torture, Puppet prepares a subject (willing or unwilling) as a suitable receptacle for ghostly possession. Over the course of one hour, the necromancer smears grave soil across the subject’s eyes, lips, and forehead. For the remainder of the night, any wraith attempting to take control of the subject gains two automatic successes. The ritual’s effects remain even if the soil is washed off.


Eyes of the Grave

This ritual, which takes two hours to cast, causes the target to experience intermittent visions of her death over the period of a week. The visions come without warning and can last up to a minute. The caster of the ritual has no idea what the visions contain - only the victim sees them, after all. Each time a vision manifests, the target must roll Courage (difficulty 7) or be reduced to quivering panic. The visions, which come randomly, can also interfere with activities such as driving, shooting and so on.

Eyes of the Grave requires a pinch of soil from a fresh grave.


Level 3

The Unearthed Fetter

This ritual requires that a necromancer have a fingerbone from the skeleton of the particular wraith he's interested in. When the ritual is cast, the fingerbone becomes attuned to something vitally important to the wraith, the possession of which by the necromancer makes the casting of Sepulchre Path powers much easier. Most necromancers take the attuned fingerbone and suspend it from a thread, allowing it to act as a sort of supernatural compass and following it to the special item in question. Ritual of the Unearthed Fetter takes three hours to cast properly. It requires both the name of the wraith targeted and the fingerbone already mentioned, as well as a chip knocked off a gravestone or other marker (not necessarily the marker of the bone's former owner). During the course of the ritual the stone crumbles to dust, which is then sprinkled over the fingerbone.


Din of the Damned

This ritual is similar to the Level One Ritual Call of the Hungry Dead in that it makes the sounds of the underworld audible in the physical realm. However, Din of the Damned is an area-effect ritual used to ward a room against eavesdropping. Over the course of half an hour, the necromancer draws an unbroken line of ash from a crematorium along the room’s walls (this line may pass over doorframes to allow entrance and egress). For the rest of the night, any attempt to listen in on events inside the room, be it simple (a glass to the wall), electronic (a laser microphone), or mystic (Heightened Senses), requires the eavesdropper to score more successes in a Perception + Occult roll (difficulty 7) than the caster of the ritual scored. Failure to beat this mark gives the listener an earful of ghostly wailing and moaning and the sound of howling winds; a botch deafens him for the rest of the night.


Level 4

Cadaver's Touch

By chanting for three hours and melting a wax doll in the shape of the target, the necromancer turns a mortal target into a corpselike mockery of himself. As the doll loses the last of its form, the target becomes cold and clammy. His pulse becomes weak and thready, his flesh pale and chalky. For all intents and purposes, he becomes a reasonable facsimile of the walking dead. Needless to say, this can have some adverse effects in social situations (+2 difficulty on all Social rolls). The effects of the ritual wear off only when the wax of the doll is permitted to resolidify. If the wax is allowed to boil off, the spell is broken.


Peek Past the Shroud

This hour-long ritual enchants a handful of ergot (a mold that grows on grains prior to harvest in cold, damp weather) to act as a catalyst for second sight. By eating a pinch of magical mold, a subject gains the benefits of Shroudsight (Ash Path Necromancy Level One) for a number of hours equal to the necromancer’s Stamina score. Three doses of the enchanted ergot are created for every success on the roll. Ergot is normally poisonous to some degree; this ritual removes its toxic properties. However, a botch renders the ergot highly and instantaneously toxic, inflicting eight dice of lethal damage on any subject who ingests it – including vampires.


Level 5

Grasp the Ghostly

Requiring a full six hours of chanting, this ritual allows a necromancer to bring an object from the Underworld into the real world. It's not as simple as all that, however - a wraith might well object to having his possessions stolen and fight back. Furthermore, the object taken must be replaced by a material item of roughly equal mass, otherwise the target of the ritual snaps back to its previous, ghostly existence. Objects taken from the Underworld tend to fade away after about a year. Only items recently destroyed in the real world (called "relics" by wraiths) may be recaptured in this manner. Artifacts created by wraiths themselves were never meant to exist outside the Underworld, and vanish on contact with the living world.


Chill of Oblivion

Performed over the course of 12 hours (reduced by one hour per success on the casting roll), this ritual infuses the Necromancer or a willing subject with the very cold of the grave. The ritual’s material component is a one-foot cube of ice, which is slowly melted on the subject’s chest (inflicting three health levels of bashing damage on mortal subjects). The subject must like naked on bare earth for the entire duration of the ritual. Once the ritual is completed, its effects remain for a number of nights equal to the caster’s Occult rating.

An individual affected by the Chill of Oblivion treats aggravated damage from fire and high temperatures as if it were lethal damage. Furthermore, he may attempt to extinguish any fire by rolling Willpower (difficulty 9); each success reduces the fire’s soak difficulty by 1, and a fire with a soak difficulty of 2 dwindles to glowing embers. However, this ritual has several drawbacks. First and foremost, the subject’s aura is laced with writhing black veins that resemble those left by diablerie and may well be mistaken for such by any observer who is not familiar with this ritual. The subject also radiates a palpable aura of cold that extends to about arm’s length from him; this can be extremely disconcerting to mortals, though it causes no damage, and its game effects mirror those of the Flaws: Touch of Frost and Eerie Presence. Finally, the mystical nimbus of the ritual draws hostile ghosts to the subject, who may plague him with unwholesome acts. For Storyteller’s using Wraith: The Oblivion, the difficulties of all Dark Arcanoi used against the character are reduced by 3 for the duration.
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