Necromancy Paths and Rituals
All Necromancy not listed herein is not only banned from Riverside Opera, it does not exist as Necromancy in the game, if it even exists at all. All uses of Necromancy, unless a higher cost is stated in the Discipline or Ritual, require the expenditure of 1 Blood. Necromancy is considered “magic” for the purposes of effects that apply to magic, such as Magic Resistance and Magic Susceptibility.
The primary Path of Necromancy for all characters is the Sepulchre Path, the Ash Path, or the Bone Path unless you purchase the 10-point Perk, “Begin with a non-standard Path of Thaumaturgy.” If you purchase that perk, you may select any path of Necromancy from Standard Practices or Advanced Study as your primary path. You can always advance your primary Path, even if it’s Advanced Study, by spending XP alone if Necromancy is an in-clan Discipline for you.
Unless otherwise noted, most Necromantic rituals can be cast to benefit a target other than the person performing the ritual. The time and costs are the same, though any blood requirements in these cases refer to the blood of the recipient of the effect. It is not inherently obvious to an observer what ritual is actually being performed; a Static Mental Challenge, using Occult to retest, may be used to ascertain this. Likewise, merely seeing a ritual being performed is not sufficient to grant knowledge of the ritual or any level of Necromancy.
The casting of Necromancy that is not a ritual is not inherently obvious. Any effects are very likely obvious, however; you cannot hide a shambling corpse, for instance, or stepping into the Underworld. The casting of a ritual is obvious, though the challenge for completion of a ritual (such as those required to employ Call on the Shadow’s Grace) follows the normal rule for Necromancy challenges.
Learning multiple paths of Necromancy follows the same rules as that of Thaumaturgy: you cannot learn other paths at all until you reach Intermediate in your primary Path, at which point you may learn the Basic powers of other paths. Once you reach Advanced in your primary Path, you may learn other Paths freely.
The Shadowlands of Necromancy, also known as the Underworld, is separate from the Astral Plane accessed by Auspex and Thaumaturgy. Those in the Underworld cannot interact with those on the Astral Plane and vice-versa. Auspex cannot be used to see into the Shadowlands. “The Quick” referred to in many Necromancy effects is the real world.
Like Thaumaturgy, Necromancy is a Mental discipline, regardless of the specific challenge type a power uses. It is, therefore, only usable on your base action each round unless otherwise noted in a power’s description. You may not use Celerity actions to use Necromancy powers unless otherwise noted in a power’s description.
For the purposes of this guide, the Samedi are considered to have Necromancy “in-Clan,” though they must still purchase the Discipline at out-of-Clan XP costs.
The following paths and rituals are considered “standard practices” and can be purchased with free traits or experience points on character creation with no perk required by any character who has Necromancy as an in-clan Discipline. After character creation, subject to the usual restrictions of learning multiple Paths of Necromancy, those with Necromancy as an in-clan Discipline may learn these Paths or purchase these rituals with experience points alone. No research is required.
Characters who do not have Necromancy as an in-clan Discipline must learn each Path as if it were a different Discipline. As usual, a trait of blood from a clan for which Necromancy is in-clan must be consumed to gain access to Necromancy, though this need only be done once no matter how many Paths you wish to learn. Once this is done, you can research each level of the Path using Occult influence (x3 for a Basic, x4 for an Intermediate, or x5 for an Advanced level of a path) or the Secrets of the Arcane power. You can also be taught Necromancy by another character, subject to the usual rules for teaching Disciplines, or learn it from your Mentor. Alternatively, you can purchase one of these paths on character creation with free traits or experience points by purchasing the 10-point-perk “Start with a single (non-Thaumaturgy) out-of-Clan Discipline.”
Any of the rituals below may be purchased on character creation, whenever a character may learn a ritual for free through progression of their primary Path, or whenever purchasing a ritual with experience points. No research is required to purchase these rituals, as they are considered relatively common knowledge among thaumaturges or are naturally “intuitive” to a necromancer.
|The Ash Path||Peer into, interact with, and even travel to the lands of the dead.||LotN, 153|
|The Bone Path||Interact with and manipulate corpses||LotN, 155|
|The Sepulchre Path||Witness, summon, and command the spirits of the dead.||LotN, 152|
|Call of the Hungry Dead||Basic||Inflict Oblivious x2 on a target for 1 scene.||LotN, 157|
|Eldritch Beacon||Basic||Create a sphere that, when in a target’s possession, renders them 1 trait down to resist any powers of a wraith. Lasts for 1 hour, plus 1 hour per Blood trait expended during casting.||SG 116|
|Eyes of the Grave||Basic||Force a target to fail a retest. You must designate the target for this ritual upon casting and it cannot be changed; however, you may prepare this ritual more than once. Its effects do not stack. Instead, each casting allows you to target another individual.||LotN, 157|
|Hand of Glory||Basic||Creates a hand that, when placed in a house and lit, renders all mortals within unconscious. The effects last for one scene, but the hand can be reused as desired. Requires 2 weeks to construct.||**|
|Minestra di Morte||Basic||Creates a liquid that, when consumed, informs the drinker of whether the target is alive (or undead) or dead and, if dead, if they became a wraith. Requires a piece of the target’s flesh (requiring at least 1 lethal damage to require) and 1 trait of your blood.||**|
|Spirit Beacon||Basic||Draws wraiths to the target location. You cannot designate which wraiths are drawn in, though they will typically be weak-willed. At least one wraith will arrive over the course of an hour appear for each Blood expended during the casting of the ritual, though the necromancer has no special knowledge nor authority over these wraiths.||LotN, 157
|Blood Dance||Intermediate||The caster allows a living being (including a vampire) to communicate with the wraith of a relative for up to one hour. Takes 2 hours to cast and lasts for one scene. The beneficiary of the ritual must be able to unambiguously specify the wraith to contact.||**|
|Cadaver’s Touch||Intermediate||Make a mortal appear to be dead.||LotN, 157|
|Call on the Shadow’s Grace||Intermediate||Ascertain a negative trait or flaw of the target, or force a wraith into a violent, negatively inclined state similar to frenzy. Your target decides which negative trait or flaw is revealed to you, though if you are already aware of that negative trait or flaw from a prior casting of this ritual, you may force them to name another. Your target is not necessarily aware that this ritual has been used upon them.||LotN, 157
|Din of the Damned||Intermediate||Forces others to win a Static Mental Challenge against 9 traits to eavesdrop via any means on the defined enclosed space; failure blocks the intrusion and applies Oblivious x2 to the afflicted individual for the remainder of the night. Characters attempting to listen in using Heightened Senses are also deafened from sensory overload, per that Discipline’s rules.||SG 116-117|
|Ritual of the Unearthed Fetter||Intermediate||Enchants the finger bone of a corpse such that it points to items and areas of that were significant to that individual when they were alive. This effect applies to vampires as well, should you manage to remove such a bone from them. Because the body parts of vampires decay based on the age of their source, this ritual typically only works well on neonates and childer.||LotN, 158
|Esilio||Advanced||Creates a vortex to Oblivion in the caster’s chest. If the caster succeeds on a Physical Challenge to grapple a wraith (which may require other rituals or Disciplines to be able to do so in the first place), she may instantly destroy it by casting it into the vortex. This ritual takes 1 full turn to cast (and is therefore incompatible with Celerity), costs 1 Blood and 1 Willpower to cast, and lasts for 1 scene. Each wraith destroyed costs the caster 1 lethal damage which cannot be reduced in any way, even by Fortitude, though it can be healed normally. Invoking this ritual at all is a sin against Humanity 1 and therefore requires a Conscience check whenever it is used. It may impact other Paths as well (Bones and Death and the Soul, particularly, but also likely Feral Heart and Cathari).||**|
|Grasp the Ghostly||Advanced||Exchanges an item in the Underworld for an item of equivalent size and mass in the material world. The item cannot be a creature of any sort. The object remains for one year before fading away.||LotN, 158|
The following paths and rituals are more difficult to access, even by Giovanni. Regardless of your clan, to purchase one of these paths on character creation using free traits or experience points, you must purchase the 10-point perk, “Begin with a non-standard path of Thaumaturgy,” in addition to the 20-point perk, “Begin with Thaumaturgy,” if Necromancy is not in-clan for you.
To learn these Paths after character creation, you must research each level of the Path using Occult influence (x3 for a Basic, x4 for an Intermediate, or x5 for an Advanced level of a path) or the Secrets of the Arcane power. You can also be taught each level by another player character, following the usual rules for teaching Disciplines, or be taught them using your Mentor background.
Whenever you are allowed to select a new ritual for free by progressing your primary Path, you may select one of the rituals below. They cannot otherwise be purchased on character creation. After character creation, to learn them by spending experience points, you must research them using Occult influence (x3 for a Basic, x4 for an Intermediate, or x5 for an Advanced level of a path) or the Secrets of the Arcane power. You can also be taught a ritual by another player character who already knows it, or learn it from your Mentor using the Mentor background.
A Mentor can only know a single Path of Necromancy from Advanced Study. Once you select the Path your Mentor knows, it is permanently fixed.
|Cenotaph Path||Analyze the connections between the living world and the Shadowlands.||**|
|Mortuus Path||Apply the physical manifestations of death to yourself and others.||SG 113-116|
|Vitreous Path||Manipulate the forces of entropy.||VSG 26-30|
|Death’s Communion||Basic||Grants the caster 1 Bonus Trait or another target 2 Bonus Traits on all challenges involving Necromancy. The effect lasts for one night.||**|
|Insight||Basic||Reveals the circumstances of a corpse’s death. The caster sees only the moment of death and the seconds immediately preceding it unless she bids one or more Mental Traits and wins a Static Mental Challenge against a difficulty of the subject’s Mental Traits or their killer’s Mental Traits, whichever are higher. If one trait is bid, the caster sees up to 10 minutes preceding the death. For two traits, the caster sees up to 30 minutes. For three traits, the caster sees up to 60 minutes. This effect cannot be used on vampires or corpses missing eyes or that are older than a few days.||**|
|Puppet||Basic||Grants any wraith one free Discipline-based retest to possess a target. The effect lasts until the retest is used or for one scene.||SG 116|
|Two Centimes||Basic||Sends a mortal into the Underworld, though only as a projected soul that can neither interact with, nor be interacted with, the wraiths there. While the mortal is in the Underworld, they can speak with the caster telepathically.||**|
|Bastone Diabolico||Intermediate||Creates a talisman that, when used to strike animated dead created through Necromancy or Thaumaturgy, inflicts 2 aggravated damage with 0 Bonus Traits and 0 Negative Traits. When activated for a scene by spending 1 Willpower, it can also strike wraiths, even unmaterialized ones, reducing their Passion by 1. (The stick is considered an improvised weapon against all other targets.) The wielder of the talisman is down one bid to attract or summon wraiths.||**|
|Peek Past the Shroud||Intermediate||Creates 3 doses of a powder that grants those who consume it the Necromancy power, Shroudsight, for 3 hours.||SG 117|
|Ritual of Xipe Totec||Intermediate||Turns the caster into a visual facsimile of a victim by wrapping them in the victim’s skin. The ruse is impenetrable by Auspex, but as it doesn’t affect mannerisms, much like Vicissitude disguises, other techniques may ascertain the ruse. Supernatural targets, such as vampires, cannot be victims of this ritual. To cast the ritual requires flaying the victim alive (which requires a Conscience check for any character on Humanity) and 1 Blood, plus 1 Blood per night. The skin can only be used once.||**|
|Tempesta Scudo||Intermediate||The caster draws a circle the diameter of her outstretched hands in which all wraiths or magical effects that affect or operate through wraiths are one bid down. This penalty applies to any abilities performed in the circle, that would affect anyone inside the circle, or that would cross the boundary of the circle. The caster is not affected by her own circle. This ritual requires 1 full turn to cast (it is not compatible with any Celerity actions), as well as 1 bashing damage and 1 Blood.||**|
|Chill of Oblivion||Advanced||Grants considerable resistance to fire and the ability to snuff out flames for 1 week, but renders the target highly susceptible to the powers of wraiths and makes them appear to have committed diablerie.||SG 117|
The following paths can only be accessed through research using Occult influence (x3 for a Basic, x4 for an Intermediate, or x5 for an Advanced level of a path) or the Secrets of the Arcane power. You can also be taught such Paths by another player character who knows them. The Mentor background cannot be used to acquire Paths in Esoterica.
Rituals in this category may only be learned after performing research, as outlined above, and by spending experience points. You may also be taught these rituals by another player character who knows them.
No character may begin play with these rituals or paths. They are only accessible with research and can only be purchased with experience points.
|Corpse in the Monster||Alter vampiric flesh with the properties of the corpse.||**|
|Grave’s Decay||Inflict the ravages of time upon targets.||**|
|Path of the Four Humours||Manipulate the assumed vital essences of bodies.||**|
|Knowing Stone||Basic||Create a stone that instantly locates a target, whether alive or dead. If the target is dead and became a wraith, the stone indicates the location of the wraith; if not, it indicates the location of the corpse or where the corpse fully decayed. The stone provides no information as to the target’s state of being, merely their location. Requires 1 trait of the target’s blood to cast and lasts until the next November after casting. You can only be attuned to one Knowing Stone at a time, and any Knowing Stone can only be attuned to a single target.||**|
|Occhio d’Uomo Morto||Basic||Allows the necromancer to replace one of their eyes with the eye belonging to the corpse of a wraith. This ritual can only be performed on the new moon and requires 1 Blood and 4 aggravated wounds (from removing the eye) to cast. Completion grants the caster the Discipline of Shroudsight permanently and +1 trait to defend against powers that require eye contact (such as Dominate or Eyes of the Serpent). However, the caster gains the negative traits Oblivious and Repugnant permanently and suffers -1 trait to defend against effects from the wraith whose corpse the eye belonged. The caster also immediately and permanently gains the flaw: Enemy (that wraith). This flaw is not removed even if the caster ends the ritual by removing the eye and suffering another 4 aggravated wounds.||**|
|Baleful Doll||Intermediate||The caster creates a doll that resembles the target (and thus the caster must have at least 1 level of Crafts). At any time, the holder of the doll (who need not be the caster) can damage the doll in some way to inflict 1 bashing damage per action on the target; the doll can be used this way at most 10 times before the power of the ritual is spent. By destroying the doll in one action, the target suffers 4 lethal damage instantly. This damage cannot be absorbed by armor, but Fortitude affects it normally. The wielder of the doll need not be in the presence of the target to harm them. To create the doll requires 1 Blood and an article of clothing of the target. Only one Baleful Doll can be attuned to a given subject at a time; attempts to create a new one while one currently exists fail, and the caster is aware of why the ritual failed.||**|
|Divine Sign||Intermediate||The caster either holds an understanding of a wraith so intimate that it constitutes an item of great significance to the wraith in life (known as a “fetter” and useful in other uses of necromancy) or can, at some point later in the night that you cast this ritual, predict the action of a target and thereby receive two free Discipline-based retests in any single challenge with them. You must know the birth date of the target to affect them. The effects of this ritual do not stack on a single target.||**|
|Nightmare Drums||Intermediate||The target of this ritual receives the flaw: Nightmares permanently, or until the caster is destroyed or terminates the effect. If the target already possesses this flaw, they gain a Derangement of the ST’s choice. Casting this ritual requires 1 Blood, a personal item of the target (which can be a trait of their Blood if a Cainite), and performing a service for the wraiths of the ST’s choice. Multiple castings of this ritual on the same target have no effect.||**|
|Ferryman’s Recall||Advanced||Allows the Embrace on a recently deceased target, up to (14 days minus the caster’s Generation) after the target’s death. Requires 8 hours to cast and at least one trait of Blood of the intended sire. The target must be present, and the ritual must either be cast in a location of great significance to the target or with an item of great significance (perhaps found using another ritual). If the caster doesn’t win or tie a Simple Test upon casting, the target is afflicted with the flaw, Permanent Wound.||**|
Necromancy House Rules
The Cenotaph Path forges connections between the living land, the Quick, and the lands of the dead, the Shadowlands.
A Touch of Death
Touch your target. You are instantly aware if the target is currently under the influence of any powers of a wraith or if they’re possessed by one. You may also make a Mental Challenge against the wraith in question; if you succeed, you can ask one of the following questions: What was the power used by the wraith on this target? When was that power used? What is the name of the wraith? Any successful use of this part of the Discipline grants an image of the wraith in question that is sufficient to affect it with other Necromancy powers that have that as a requirement.
Reveal the Catene
Touch an object or location. You are instantly aware of whether it is a Fetter for a wraith. If you know the wraith in question – specifically, if you have used any power of Necromancy to summon or compel it – you can instantly identify that it’s their Fetter. Otherwise, you can defeat the wraith in question in a Mental Challenge to identify it. Successful identification of the wraith constitutes an image of the wraith sufficient to use other powers of Necromancy upon it.
This Discipline requires 3 full rounds to use. Each use identifies a different wraith who considers that object a Fetter.
Tread Upon the Grave
Spend a point of Willpower. You know whether the area in which you are is highly attuned to the dead, somewhat attuned to the dead, or removed from the dead. Beyond the benefits in terms of determining the likelihood of encountering wraiths, successful use of this power grants 3 additional traits on any challenge to summon wraiths for the scene. This power may only be used once per scene.
Whenever a person dies within a half mile of you, and that person becomes a wraith (often with Kindred, rarely with mortals), you are instantly aware of it. This effect is always active and costs nothing to use, and you may suppress it at will.
You may spend a Willpower point upon sensing a death, then win a Static Mental Challenge against a difficulty of the permanent Willpower the newly deceased had at the time of death; if you succeed, you know the exact location of the death and newly minted wraith. This also provides an image of the wraith sufficient to use other powers of Necromancy upon it.
You turn a target object or creature (including yourself) into a Fetter for a wraith you have previously summoned or compelled, as well as for any for which you have an image. Spend a Willpower and one or more Social Traits. For every Social Trait you expend, the target becomes a Fetter for that wraith for 1 day. Alternatively, you may expend 7 Social Traits and a permanent Willpower to make it a Fetter for a year and a day. An unwilling target of this effect must be defeated in a Social Challenge.
The wraith who has a Fetter created for it by this power is immediately aware of its creation, though not necessarily aware of its location.
Path of the Four Humours
This ancient path allows manipulations of the claimed essential elements of life, the humours.
Whispers to the Soul
Whisper the target’s name (as you know it) into the target’s ear, spend 1 Blood, and defeat your target in a Social Challenge. If successful, your opponent is 1 trait down on all challenges for the remainder of the night due to the distraction of maddening whispers and possesses the Flaw: Nightmares for one night per Social Trait you have. Your target may expend 1 Willpower to cancel the effect entirely.
You cannot effectively whisper into a target’s ear during combat.
Kiss of the Dark Mother
Spend a Blood. Your bite attack causes 1 additional aggravated damage. You can activate this power reflexively, and it lasts until you either rinse out your mouth or the effect is discharged by use. Note that you must successfully grapple a target with a Physical Challenge before you can bite them (again, with a Physical Challenge) on subsequent actions.
The vampire can exude a coat of a particular humor onto their skin, causing all that touch it to experience the most intense form of that humor. After a necromancer has used this power, they generally feel the opposite of the sensation the humor normally conveys: Using blood leaves them depressed and pessimistic; using yellow bile renders them calm and placid; using black bile leaves them optimistic; and using phlegm makes them arouse and angry.
Spend two Blood. You exude one of the four humours from your flesh, which you can then use to poison a target (by mixing the exudate with vitae or food) or use to coat your skin to deliver as a contact poison by touch (requiring a successful Physical Challenge in combat). Each use of this Discipline creates one dose of the humours, and the humour must be delivered by touch to something before another can be called forth. To resist the effects, the target must win a Static Physical Challenge (retest Survival) against a difficulty of your Physical Traits. This resistance test is made at the time the poison is delivered.
- Phlegm: The target receives the negative trait: Lethargic for one scene. This effect does stack with additional applications of the humour, up to a maximum of Lethargic x3.
- Blood: The target suffers an additional wound on the round after taking any damage. No matter how much damage is caused in that round, only one additional damage is taken on the subsequent round, but it is of the most severe type suffered. Armor does not affect this damage, but Fortitude can reduce it normally. This effect occurs once per dose of the humour delivered; additional applications increase the duration, but not the intensity, of the effect.
- Black Bile: The target suffers 3 lethal damage instantly. Armor does not affect this damage, but Fortitude can reduce it normally. This effect does not stack with itself.
- Yellow Bile: The target cannot spend Willpower for one scene. This effect does not stack with itself.
Clutching the Shroud
Consume 5 Blood from a human corpse, then spend it to activate this power. For the rest of the scene, you receive the effects of the Ash Path powers Shroudsight and Lifeless Tongues and the Fortitude powers Endurance and Mettle. You also receive the effects of the Vitreous Path power Eyes of the Dead. However, you are 3 traits down to resist any powers of wraiths while under the effects of this power.
The corpse from which the blood is consumed must already be dead at the time you drink from it; you can’t consume all of a human’s blood, then use this power. Additionally, the corpse must be relatively fresh (a few hours old at most) and the death must typically not be from trauma that would cause blood loss. You must drink directly from the corpse, which is a sin for many morality paths (certainly Humanity, regardless of your path rating) and such blood is deeply unappetizing. At the ST’s discretion, you may have to spend a Willpower to stomach the ghoulish fluid.
Spend 1 Willpower and 1 Blood. You exude a black cloud from your mouth that fills an entire room (making the source of the effect obvious and likely constituting a breach of the Masquerade). Make a mass challenge against everyone in the area, using your Physical Traits against their Physical Traits. Celerity and Potence are not applicable for you in this challenge. Those who succeed escape from the cloud, if possible. Those who fail, or those who have no means of escape, are afflicted with anoverwhelming depression. Mortals, including ghouls, kill themselves on their next action by the most effective means they have available. If prevented from killing themselves immediately, they attempt suicide again as soon as possible for the rest of the scene. Afflicted vampires instantly enter torpor (lasting for the usual time based on their Humanity or Path rating) unless they spend 1 Willpower to resist the effect, in which case they suffer a 2 trait penalty to all challenges for the remainder of the scene. This penalty does not stack, though repeated uses of this power can, of course, drain multiple points of Willpower from afflicted targets. The caster of this effect is not harmed by it.
This path allows the wielder to channel the forces of decay. This is somewhat different than Vitreous Path, which manipulates entropy as a larger concept; this path affects decay processes.
Destroy the Husk
Spend a Blood. The target human corpse is reduced to dust over 5 minutes.
This power is mechanically identical to the Thaumaturgy: Movement of the Mind power, Force Bolt, though its narrative effects are slightly different. Rather than being knocked to the ground, the victim of this power is frozen in place as their muscles contract and stiffen, betraying them for a short time. This power costs 1 Willpower to activate.
This power is identical to the Thanatosis power, Withering, except it can only be used to strike limbs and not the head. This power costs 1 Willpower to activate.
Corrupt the Undead Flesh
Spend a Willpower and defeat your target in a Mental vs. Physical Challenge. If successful, the target is afflicted with a virulent disease for one week. During this time, he possesses the Negative Traits: Witless, Clumsy, and Sickly. He must expend one additional Blood to rise each evening and must give up a Self-Control or Instinct card to feed or vomits up all of the blood consumed. Each night that a vampire is afflicted, he may make a Static Physical Challenge against a difficulty of the caster’s Mental traits; if successful, he casts off the disease.
A mortal afflicted by this disease dies after one week. Medical care has no effect on the progression of the disease, making this a potential breach of the Masquerade. Any vampire who drinks the blood of anyone afflicted by the disease is afflicted, and any mortal who spends more than a few hours around someone afflicted by the disease is afflicted.
Dissolve the Flesh
This power is identical to the Quietus power, Taste of Death, except it costs 2 Blood to activate and the toxic blood isn’t spit but rather oozes from the caster. Each draught created inflicts 1 aggravated wound. The toxic blood can’t be used to coat weapons, as nearly the whole draught must touch the target to be effective, but it can be stored for later use, including as a thrown weapon.
Injuries caused by this toxin result in flesh dissolving into dust. That dust, if collected, is considered an item of importance to the target and something they own, which may be useful to other Disciplines and rituals. If you destroy a target using this power, and they become a wraith, the dust that remains becomes a Fetter for that wraith.
Corpse in the Monster
This path allows the wielder to apply some of the characteristics of corpses to vampires. Unless otherwise notes, none of these powers work on creatures that are not vampires.
Masque of Death
Spend a Blood and touch your target; an unwilling target must be defeated in a Physical Challenge to be touched. If successful, the target’s skin pulls against bone and grows pallid and thin. A vampire so afflicted gains the Negative Traits: Clumsy and Repugnant, but gains Intimidating x2 and, whenever standing still, is indistinguishable from a corpse. This latter ruse can be pierced by defeating the target in a Mental vs. Physical Challenge (retest Medicine), but the defender gets a free Discipline-related retest.
The effects of this power last for the remainder of the night, unless the user chooses to end it earlier.
Cold of the Grave
Spend a Willpower. For the remainder of the scene, you ignore all wound penalties and receive +1 trait to resist emotional manipulations, but are -1 trait to emotionally manipulate others. Additionally, you receive the flaw: Touch of Frost for the duration of the power.
Curse of Life
Spend a Willpower and defeat your target in a Mental Challenge (retest Medicine). If successful, your target takes on the negative aspects of life, such as a breathing reflex, hunger, thirst, and the need to urinate and defecate. The character can’t actually do some of these things, even though they are compelled to (a vampire can’t defecate, but they can absolutely eat and then vomit; this doesn’t cause the hunger to fade). The distraction renders them 2 traits down on all challenges, which can be ignored if they spend a Willpower each scene. More dangerously, the character cannot spend Blood for Physical Traits, and this penalty cannot be counteracted.
This power lasts until the next sunset, unless the user chooses to end it earlier.
Gift of the Corpse
The Necromancer becomes akin to a corpse. Holy artifacts and holy ground do not affect her, she is immune to frenzy and Rotschreck, sunlight inflicts only bashing damage and only when it shines on bare skin, staking has no effect, and fire only causes lethal damage. The caster must spend 1 Willpower and 2 Blood to activate this effect, which takes effect at the end of the current round and lasts until the end of the next round. She may maintain the effect by expending 1 Willpower per additional round.
Gift of Life
Expend 12 blood to activate this power. Until the next stroke of midnight, the character is, largely, human. With proper cover of all exposed skin, she takes no damage from sunlight. He may eat and drink, fully enjoy sex, and doesn’t hunger for blood. He may remain awake during the day with no limitations (other than being tired) and takes only lethal damage from fire. She is still subject to frenzy and Rotschreck, though she has double her normal number of Self-Control or Instinct cards and Courage difficulties are halved. However, he may only use Fortitude and Auspex for the duration of the effect.
At the end of the effect (which lasts until the next stroke of midnight), for the next six nights, the character has zero Self-Control or Instinct cards and all Courage difficulties to resist Rotschreck are tripled.
A wraith in Riverside Opera that is not an NPC is limited to statistics similar to a ghoul retainer: they have 6 traits in their primary category, 4 in their secondary, and 3 in their tertiary. They have the equivalent of 3 retests in a single area of expertise. They also possess 2 of the powers listed below, selected by their summoner or the ST.
In the Shadowlands, interacting with other entities in the Shadowlands, a wraith is far more dangerous. Double all of their traits, and they receive a free non-recallable retest on all challenges. This benefit does not apply to non-materialized wraiths affecting the Quick (the real world).
If a wraith should ever end up in the Astral Plane, it is immediately ejected and cast into slumber. Wraiths can under no circumstances affect the Astral Plane or those who reside within it.
Wraiths have a Passion pool of 10. Wraiths use Passion in lieu of Willpower and regain Passion by being in the presence of others’ strong emotions (including combat scenes, a vampire in frenzy, a performance at Performance x3 or better, or even an impassioned speech). A wraith gains 1 Passion per round or 5 Passion per scene in such situations, though they can never exceed their pool of 10.
Whenever a wraith takes damage, they lose Passion (with the exception of when materialized; see Powers, below). However, a wraith is largely immune to most sources of damage.
A wraith in Riverside Opera that is not an NPC has 2 of the Powers below, designated by the summoner or the ST.
- Lifesight: Spend 1 Passion per scene to peer into the Quick and observe it. You can hear and see anything there, but you remain otherwise undetectable.
- Materialize: Spend 5 Passion to form an actual body out of ectoplasm. This body has 7 health levels and is fully solid; it doesn’t distinguish between different types of damage because it has no ability to heal. You use your own traits in this body. Destruction of the body returns you to the Shadowlands but has no other ill effects. Materialization lasts for one scene.
- Poltergeist: Moves objects (never living beings) in the Quick around. Spend 1 Passion per round that any number of objects in the scene, whose mass cannot exceed 200 pounds, are moved. The control is not fine enough, nor is the force great enough, to use them to cause damage. If an object to be moved is in the possession of someone, you must defeat them in a challenge if you want to move the object without them knowing or if you want to pluck it from their hands.
- Possess: Spend 5 Passion and defeat your target in a Mental Challenge. You then possess the target for one scene. You can direct their actions and speak through them. Like the Dominate power of Possession, your subject is unaware of what’s going on (and therefore not subject to Conscience or Conviction checks for actions you take), but unlike that Discipline, you have no access to their Disciplines outside of Celerity, Fortitude, and Potence. You use the subject’s Physical traits instead of your own. If you force them to do something that violates their Nature, they can spend 1 Willpower to attempt another Mental Challenge to eject you from their body. You are three traits up on this challenge (self-exorcism is quite difficult). You cannot possess a vampire unless that vampire’s soul has been removed from their body (through Astral Projection, Soul Stealing, Possession, or some other means); however, if the vampire’s soul should attempt to return the body, you must defeat them in a Mental Challenge to maintain control, and they are three traits up in this challenge. The vampire may attempt this challenge every hour or scene until they evict you or they give up. Possession otherwise lasts until you release the body, though you must spend 1 Passion per day to maintain the effect.
- Project: Spend 1 Passion per scene to project an image of yourself to a single target in the Quick. You appear as a ghostly apparition that can speak to the target normally. You can move up to 10 paces away from the target and still maintain this effect; at will, you can move with them, no matter how fast they can travel. No one else can see you and you can’t see anything other than your chosen target. You can be affected by any Mental or Social Disciplines of the target that alter the mind or emotions, including Dominate and Presence.
- Psychomachiae: Spend 1 Passion per scene to speak to any number of targets in the Quick. You can be affected by any Mental or Social Disciplines of those who can hear you, so long as those Disciplines only operate through voice. You can hear responses from your targets, but only if they’re directed to you; you can’t use this power to eavesdrop.
- Rage: Inflicts 1 lethal damage to a target within line of sight. Can be used by an unmaterialized wraith. Costs 2 Passion and requires a successful challenge (using your Mental or Physical traits, your choice) against the target, though it is almost always from surprise at least initially. The damage of Rage can be increased to aggravated by spending 3 Passion per attack instead.
Slumber and Catharsis
A wraith reduced to 0 Passion enters slumber; they fade away and reform somewhere in the Shadowlands after a time, typically near one of their Fetters. Slumber is akin to torpor, except the wraith has no corporeal or spiritual form in slumber and the ST determines how long the effect lasts. In general, more willful wraiths stay in slumber for less time, though. A wraith at 0 Passion is unable to take actions and fades away at the end of the next round, giving crafty Necromancers a means to ensnare or destroy it, though destroying a wraith can’t be accomplished simply by removing more Passion from it.
A wraith that is bullied, harassed, or affected by certain Necromancy powers may enter a state akin in frenzy, known as catharsis. Such a wraith lashes out at its tormentors for an entire scene with whatever powers it has available. Wraiths do not, as a rule, resist catharsis.
A wraith that is not materialized is immune to all Physical Disciplines as well as most Mental and Social ones. As a general rule, only Necromancy and Obtenebration can affect a non-materialized wraith. If such a wraith opts to speak with someone in the Quick, that person – and that person only – can affect it with Disciplines that rely on voice and seeing the wielder alone, such as Presence and Melpominee. A materialized wraith, or a wraith possessing a target, is subject to all Discipline effects normally.
Obtenebration creates manifestations of the Abyss and therefore its effects are real in both the Quick and the Shadowlands. Arms of the Abyss can, for instance, strike wraiths, though the Lasombra would have to be aware of the wraith’s presence and be able to see them in order to affect them.
Conversely, a wraith that is not materialized can do very little to affect the Quick; see Powers, above, for more details.
When a non-materialized wraith takes damage, they lose Passion equal to the damage suffered. When a materialized wraith takes damage, they suffer health level loss to their materialized body; upon reaching Incapacitated, the body decomposes into ectoplasm (which is considered to be an item belonging to the wraith for the purposes of other Disciplines and rituals) and the wraith is ejected into the Shadowlands. When a materialized wraith is affected by effects that would reduce their Self-Control/Instinct or force them to frenzy or enter Rotschreck, they enter catharsis instead. When a materialized wraith is affected by effects that would reduce their Blood or Willpower, they lose Passion instead. A vampire can’t gain any sustenance from Passion, however.
A Fetter is an object or place that was of great significance to the wraith in life. In death, it binds the poor creature to existence. If you possess or are within a Fetter for a wraith, you hold power over the ghost. You can destroy the Fetter to instantly reduce the wraith’s Passion by 5, though this almost always causes catharsis (assuming the injury doesn’t knock it into slumber). You also receive 3 bonus traits on any Necromancy effects to affect the wraith or Social Challenges to attempt to coerce it.
A wraith near a Fetter can retreat into it, entering slumber voluntarily and recovering 1 Passion per day. A wraith within a Fetter is immune to all effects outside of Necromancy to summon it, but even then the wraith has +6 traits to resist the effect. Destroying the Fetter casts the wraith out of it and causes them to enter catharsis.
If all of a Fetters of a wraith are destroyed, that wraith is destroyed irrevocably. The ST rules on how many Fetters a wraith has, though in general, most wraiths have at least 3 Fetters. Destroying a wraith in this way is a sin against Humanity (at 3, for property damage, for destroying each Fetter, then at 2 for premeditated killing) and several other paths. It’s rumoured that a friendly necromancer can free a wraith from its ghostly existence in a positive way by helping them “resolve” their Fetters, but such a process is left to the ST’s discretion.
While Auspex cannot be used to detect a wraith directly, anyone who suspects a wraith is in the vicinity may make a Mental Challenge against the wraith using Awareness (the wraith retests with Stealth). Success indicates that a wraith is present but provides no additional information. Each level of Auspex the vampire has grants a +1 bonus to detect the presence of wraiths.
Wraiths as Player Characters
Wraiths are not permitted as player characters in Riverside Opera. The ST, and only the ST, may decide if a destroyed player character becomes a wraith and what statistics it has.
Physical 3, Social 6, Mental 4
Powers: Lifesight, Project
Physical 6, Social 4, Mental 3
Powers: Rage, Psychomachiae
Physical 4, Social 6, Mental 3
Powers: Possess, Materialize
Physical 3, Social 6, Mental 4
Powers: Materialize, Poltergeist