Thaumaturgy

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The Discipline of Thaumaturgy encompasses blood magic and other sorcerous arts. Thaumaturgy is the unique possession of the Tremere and one of its most jealously guarded secrets. Certain Kindred rumors even speak of mystic cabals of Tremere that hunt down those thaumaturges who are not members of the Warlocks' clan. Clan Tremere created this Discipline by combining mortal wizardry with the power of vampiric vitae. Though its existence is not widely known by mortal mages and wizards, it is seen as a disreputable aberration of true magick by those familiar with it. Thaumaturgy is a versatile and powerful Discipline. Like Necromancy, its practice is divided into two parts: paths and rituals. Thaumaturgical paths are applications of the vampire's knowledge of blood magic, allowing her to create effects at her whim. Rituals are more formulaic in nature, most akin to the ancient magical "spells" of bygone nights. Because so many different paths and rituals are available to the arcane Tremere, one never knows what to expect when confronted with a practitioner of this Discipline. When a character first learns Thaumaturgy, the player selects a path for the character. That path is considered the character's primary path, and she automatically receives one dot in it, as well as one Level One ritual. Thereafter, whenever the character increases her level in Thaumaturgy, her score in the primary path increases by one as well. Rituals are learned separately, as part of a story; players need not pay experience points for their characters to learn rituals, though they must find someone to teach the rituals in question. Path ratings never exceed Level Five, though the overall Thaumaturgy score may (higher levels of Disciplines will be covered in future products ).Ifa character reaches Level Five in her primary path and increases her Thaumaturgy score afterward, she may allocate her "free" path dot to a different path. Thaumaturges may create their own paths (through player and Storyteller collaboration) once they achieve the sixth level of Thaumaturgy. Many vampires (wisely) fear the Discipline of Thaumaturgy. It is a very potent and mutable Discipline, and almost anything the Kindred wishes may be accomplished through its magic.

Thaumaturgical Paths

Paths define the types of magic a vampire can perform. A vampire typically learns his primary path from his sire, though it is not unknown for some vampires to study under many different tutors and learn all their secrets. As mentioned before, the first path a character learns is considered her primary path and increases automatically as the character advances in the Discipline itself. Secondary paths may be learned once the character has acquired two or more dots in her primary path, and they must be raised separately with experience points. Furthermore, a character's rating in her primary path must always be at least one dot higher than any of her secondary paths until she has mastered her primary path. Once the character has achieved mastery of the fifth level of her primary path, secondary paths may be increased to that level. Each time the character invokes one of the powers of a Thaumaturgical path, the thaumaturge's player must spend a blood point and make a Willpower roll against a difficulty of the power's level +3. Only one success is required to invoke a path's effect - path levels, not successes, govern the power of blood magic. Failure on this roll indicates that the blood magic fails, while a botch signifies that the character loses a permanent Willpower point. Obviously, Thaumaturgy is not an art in which one merely "dabbles."

The Path of Blood

Almost every Tremere studies the Path of Blood as her primary path. It encompasses some of the most fundamental principles of Thaumaturgy, based as it is on the manipulation of Kindred vitae. If a player wishes to select another path as her character's primary path, she'd better have a good reason (though choosing a different path is by no means unheard of).

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A Taste of Blood

This power was developed as a means of testing a foe's might - an extremely important ability in the tumultuous early nights of Clan Tremere. By merely tasting the blood of his subject, the thaumaturge may determine how much vitae remains in the subject and, if the subject is a vampire, how recently he has fed, his approximate generation and, with three or more successes, whether he has recently committed diablerie.

System: The number of successes achieved on the roll determines how much information the thaumaturge gleans and how accurate it is.

Blood Rage

This power allows a vampire to force another Kindred to expend blood against his will. The thaumaturge must touch her subject for this power to work, though only the lightest contact is necessary. A vampire affected by this power might feel a physical rush as the thaumaturge heightens his Physical Attributes, or may even find himself on the brink of frenzy as his stores of vitae are mystically depleted.

System: Each success forces the subject to spend one blood point immediately in the way the thaumaturge desires. Note that blood points forcibly spent in this manner may exceed the normal "per turn" maximum indicated by the victim's generation. Each success gained also increases the subject's difficulty to resist frenzy by one.

Blood of Potency

The thaumaturge gains such control over his own blood that he may effectively "concentrate" it, making it more powerful for a short time. In effect, he may temporarily lower his own generation with this power. This power may be used only once per night.

System: Successes earned on the Willpower roll must be spent both to decrease the vampire's generation and to maintain the change. One success allows the character to lower his generation by one step for one hour. Each success grants the Kindred either one step down in generation or one hour of effect. If the vampire is diablerized while this power is in effect, it wears off immediately and the diablerist gains power appropriate to the thaumaturge's actual generation. Furthermore, any mortals Embraced by the thaumaturge are born to the generation appropriate to their sire's original generation (e.g., a 10thgeneration Tremere who has reduced his effective generation to eighth still produces 11th-generation childer). Once the effect wears off, any blood over the character's blood pool maximum dilutes, leaving the character at his regular blood pool maximum. Thus, if a 12th-generation Tremere (maximum blood pool of 11) decreased his generation to ninth (maximum blood pool 14), ingested 14 blood points, and had this much vitae in his system when the power wore off, his blood pool would immediately drop to 11.

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Theft of Vitae

A thaumaturge using this power siphons vitae from her subject. She need never come in contact with the subject - blood literally streams out in a physical torrent from the subject to the Kindred (though it is often mystically absorbed and need not enter through the mouth).

System: The number of successes determines how many blood points the Tremere transfers from the subject. The subject must be visible to the thaumaturge and within 50 feet. Using this power is like drinking from the subj ect - used three times on the same Kindred, it creates a blood bond on the part of the thaumaturge! This power is obviously quite spectacular, and Camarilla princes justifiably consider its public use a breach of the Masquerade.

Cauldron of Blood

A thaumaturge using this power boils her subject's blood in his veins like water on a stove. The Kindred must touch her subject, and it is this contact that simmers the subject's blood. This power is always fatal to mortals, and causes great damage to even the mightiest vampires.

System: The number of successes gained determines how many blood points are brought to boil. The subject suffers one health level of aggravated damage for each point boiled (individuals with Fortitude may soak this damage using only their Fortitude dice). A single success kills any mortal, though some ghouls are said to have survived.

The Lure of Flames

This path grants the thaumaturge the ability to conjure forth mystical flames - small fires at first, but skilled magicians may create great conflagrations. The Lure of Flames is greatly feared, as fire is one of the surest ways to bring Final Death upon a vampire. See "Fire" (p. 227) for more information on how vampires suffer from flame. Fire created by this path is not "natural." In fact, many vampires believe the flames to be conjured from Hell itself. Fire conjured by The Lure of Flames must be released for it to have any effect. Thus, a "palm of flame" does not bum the vampire's hand and cause an aggravated wound - it merely produces light. Once the flame has been released, however, it burns normally and the character has no control over it.

System: The number of successes determines how accurately the thaumaturge places the flame in his desired location. One success is all that is necessary to conjure a flame in one's hand, while five successes place a flame anywhere in the Kindred's ine of sight. Individual descriptions are not provided for each level of this path - fire is fire, after all. The chart below describes the path level required to generate a specific amount of flame. To soak the damage at all, of course, a vampire must have the Fortitude Discipline.

Candle (difficulty 3 to soak, one health level of aggravated damage/turn)

Palm of flame (difficulty 4 to soak, one health level of aggravated damage/turn)

Campfire (difficulty 5 to soak, two health levels of aggravated damage/turn)

Bonfire (difficulty 7 to soak, two health levels of aggravated damage/turn)

Inferno (difficulty 9 to soak, three health levels of aggravated damage/turn)

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The Movement of the Mind

This path gives the thaumaturge the ability to move objects telekinetically through the mystic power of blood. At higher levels, even flight is possible (but be careful who sees you...). Objects under the character's control may be manipulated as if she held them - they may be lifted, spun, juggled or even "thrown," though creating enough force to inflict actual damage requires mastery of the fourth level or greater. Some thaumaturges skilled in this path even use it to guard their havens, animating swords, axes and firearms to ward off intruders. This path may frighten and disconcert onlookers. Many people are quite put off when the pages of a book turn by themselves!

System: The number of successes indicates the duration of the thaumaturge's control over the object (or subject). Each success allows one turn of manipulation, though the Kindred may attempt to maintain control after this time by making a new roll (she need not spend additional blood to maintain control). If the roll is successful, control is maintained. If a thaumaturge loses or relaxes control over an object and later manipulates it again, her player must spend another blood point, as a new attempt is being made. If this power is used to manipulate a living being, the subject may attempt to resist. In this case, the thaumaturge and the subject make opposed Willpower rolls each turn the control is exercised. Like The Lure of Flames, individual power levels are not provided for this path - consult the chart below to see how much weight a thaumaturge may control. Once a Kindred reaches Level Three, she may levitate herself and "fly" at approximately running speed, no matter how much she weighs, though the weight restrictions apply if she manipulates other objects or subjects. Once a Kindred achieves Level Four, she may "throw" objects at a Strength equal to her level of mastery.

One pound

20 pounds

200 pounds

500 pounds

1000 pounds

The Path of Conjuring

Invoking objects "out of thin air" has been a staple of occult and supernatural legend since long before the rise of the Tremere. This Thaumaturgical path enables powerful conjurations limited only by the mind of the practitioner. Objects summoned via this path bear two distinct characteristics. They are uniformly "generic" in that each object summoned, if summoned again, would look exactly as it did at first. For example, a knife would be precisely the same knife if created twice; the two would be indistinguishable. Even a specific knife - the one a character's father used to threaten her - would appear identical every time it was conjured. A rat would have repeated "tiled" patterns over its fur, and a garbage can would have the exact same fluted texture over its surface. Additionally, conjured objects bear no flaws: Weapons have no dents or scratches, tools have no distinguishing marks, and computers have featureless casings. The limit on the size of conjured objects appears to be that of the conjurer; nothing larger than the thaumaturge can be created. The conjurer must also have some degree of familiarity with the object he wishes to call forth. Simply working from a picture or imagination calls for a higher difficulty, while objects with which the character is intimately familiar (such as the knife described above) may actually lower the difficulty, at the Storyteller's discretion. When a player rolls to conjure something, the successes gained on the roll indicate the quality of the summoned object. One success yields a shoddy, imperfect creation, while five successes garner the thaumaturge a nearly perfect replica.

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Summon the Simple Form

At this level of mastery, the conjurer may create simple, inanimate objects. The object cannot have any moving parts and may not be made of multiple materials. For example, the conjurer may summon a steel baton, a lead pipe, a wooden stake or a chunk of granite.

System: Each turn the conjurer wishes to keep the object in existence, another Willpower point must be spent or the object vanishes.

Permanency

At this level, the conjurer no longer needs to pay Willpower costs to keep an object in existence. The object is, as this level's name suggests, permanent, though simple objects are still all that may be created.

System: The player must invest three blood points in an object to make it real.

Magic of the Smith

The Kindred may now conjure complex objects of multiple components and with moving parts. For example, the thaumaturge can create guns, bicycles, chainsaws or cellular phones.

System: Objects created via Magic of the Smith are permanent items and cost five blood points to conjure. Particularly complex items often require a Knowledge roll (Crafts, Science, etc.) in addition to the basic roll.

Reverse Conjuration

This power allows the conjurer to "banish" into nonexistence any object previously called forth via this path. System: This is an extended success roll. The conjurer must accumulate as many successes as the original caster received when creating the object in question.

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Power Over Life

This power cannot create true life, though it can summon forth some truly impressive simulacra. Creatures (and people) summoned with this power lack the free will to act on their own, instead mindlessly following the simple instructions of their conjurer.

System: The player spends 10 blood points. Imperfect and impermanent, creatures summoned via this path are too complex to exist for long. Within a week after their conjuration, the simulacra vanish into insubstantiality.

Hands of Destruction

This Path is practiced almost exclusively by the thaumaturges of the Sabbat. Though it is not widely seen outside that sect, a few Camarilla Tremere have managed to learn the secrets of this path over the centuries. The Hands of Destruction has an infamous history, and some Tremere refuse to practice it due to rumors that it is demonic in origin. Brutal and painful, this path provides thaumaturges with offensive capabilities not found in other, less martial paths. It embodies the violent nature of its Sabbat wielders, existing solely to cause entropy and decay.

Decay

This power accelerates the decrepitude of its target, causing it to wither, rot or otherwise break down. The target must be inanimate, though dead organic matter can be affected.

System: If the roll is successful, the inanimate object touched by the thaumaturge ages 10 years for every minute the Kindred touches it. If the vampire breaks physical contact and wishes to age the object again, another blood point must be spent and another roll must be made.

Gnarl Wood

This power warps and bends wooden objects. Though the wood is otherwise undamaged, this power often leaves the objects completely useless. This power may also be used to swell or contract wood, in addition to bending it into unwholesome shapes. Unlike other powers of this path, Gnarl Wood requires merely a glance rather than physical contact.

System: Fifty pounds of visible wood may be gnarled for each blood point spent on this power (the thaumaturge may expend as much blood as she likes on this power, up to her per-tum generational maximum). It is also possible to warp multiple visible objects - like all the stakes an opposing team of vampire-hunters wields.

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Acidic Touch

The thaumaturge secretes a bilious, acidic fluid from any portion of his body. The viscous acid corrodes metal, destroys wood and causes horrendous chemical bums to living tissue.

System: The player spends blood to create the acid - the blood literally transmutes into the volatile secretion. One blood point creates enough acid to burn through a quarter-inch of steel plate or three inches of wood. The damage from an acidaugmented hand-to-hand attack is aggravated and costs one blood point per turn to use. A thaumaturge is immune to her own acidic touch.

Atrophy

This power withers a victim's limb, leaving only a desiccated, almost mummified husk of bone and skin. The effects are instantaneous; in mortals, they are also irreversible.

System: The victim may resist the effects of Atrophy by scoring three or more successes on a Stamina + Athletics roll (difficulty 8). Failure means the limb is permanently and completely crippled. Partial resistance is possible: One success indicates that difficulties involving the use of the arm increase by two, though these effects are still permanent with regard to mortals. Two successes signify that difficulties increase by one. Vampires afflicted by this power may spend five blood points to rejuvenate atrophied limbs. Mortals are permanently crippled. This power affects only limbs (arms and legs); it does not work on victims' heads, torsos, etc.

Turn to Dust

This fearsome power accelerates decrepitude in its victims. Mortals literally crumble to dust at the mere touch of a skilled thaumaturge, aged beyond death and into putrefaction.

System: Each success on the roll ages the victim by 10 years. A potential victim may resist with a Stamina + Courage roll (difficulty 8), but must accumulate more successes than the thaumaturge's activation roll - it's an all-or-nothing affair. If the victim succeeds, he does not age at all. If he does not acquire more successes than the thaumaturge, he ages the full amount.

Obviously, this power, while it affects vampires, has no detrimental effect on them (they're immortal). At most, a Kindred victim withers slightly (-1 to Appearance) for one night.

Rituals

Rituals are Thaumaturgical formulas, meticulously researched and prepared, that create powerful magical effects. Rituals are less versatile than paths, as their effects are singular and straightforward, but they are better suited toward specific ends. All thaumaturges have the ability to use rituals, though each individual ritual must be learned separately. By acquainting herself with the arcane practice of blood magic, the thaumaturge gains the capacity to manipulate these focused effects. Thaumaturgical rituals are rated from 1 to 5, each level corresponding to both the level of mastery of Thaumaturgy the would-be caster must possess and the relative power of the ritual itself. Unless stated otherwise, a ritual requires five minutes per level to cast. For example, Andreas the Tremere wishes to cast Ward Versus Ghouls, a Level Two Ritual. Invoking this ritual requires 10 minutes, and Andreas must know Thaumaturgy at 2 or greater. Casting rituals requires a successful Intelligence + Occult roll, for which the difficulty equals 3 + the level of the ritual (maximum 9). Only one success is required for a ritual to work, though certain spells may require more successes or have variable effects based on how well the caster's roll goes. This uncertainty of effect is a recent development; Tremere rituals formerly worked infallibly, so long as the caster executed them successfully. Many thaumaturges fear that the movements of awakening Antediluvians have caused imbalance in the flow of magic, making the success of rituals more precarious than in previous nights. Should a roll to activate a ritual fail, the Storyteller is encouraged to create strange occurrences or side effects, or even make it appear that the ritual was successful, only to reveal its failure at a later time. A botched ritual roll may even indicate a catastrophic failure or summon an ill-tempered demon... Rituals sometimes require special ingredients or reagents to work - these are noted in each ritual's description. Common components include herbs, animal bones, ceremonial items, feathers, eye of newt, tongue of toad, etc. Acquiring magical components for a powerful ritual may form the basis for an entire story. At the first level of Thaumaturgy, the vampire automatically gains a single Level One ritual. To learn further rituals, the thaumaturge must find someone to teach him, or learn the ritual from a scroll, tome or other archive. Learning a new ritual can take anywhere from a few nights (Level One ritual) to months or years (Level Five ritual). Some dread Warlocks have studied individual rituals for decades, even centuries. Precisely what these rituals do is unknown, but their effects are surely grave.

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Level One Rituals

Defense of the Sacred Haven

This ritual prevents sunlight from entering an area within 20 feet of this ritual's casting. A mystical darkness blankets the area, keeping the baneful light at bay. Sunlight reflects off windows or magically fails to pass through doors or other portals. The caster draws sigils in her own blood on all the affected windows and doors, and the ritual lasts as long as the Tremere stays within the 20-foot radius.

System: This ritual requires one hour to perform, during which the thaumaturge recites incantations and inscribes glyphs. One blood point is required for this ritual to work.

Wake with Evening's Freshness

This ritual allows a Tremere to awaken at any sign of danger, especially during the day. If any potentially harmful circumstances arise, the Tremere immediately rises, ready to face the problem. This ritual requires the ashes of burned feathers to be spread over the area in which the Kindred wishes to sleep.

System: This ritual must be performed immediately before the Tremere settles down to slumber for the day. Any interruption to the ceremonial casting renders the ritual ineffective. If danger arises, the Tremere awakens and may ignore the Humanity dice pool limit rule for the first two turns of consciousness. Thereafter, the penalty takes effect, but the Tremere will have already risen and will be able to address problematic situations.

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Communicate with Kindred Sire

By enacting this ritual, a Tremere may join minds with her sire, speaking telepathically with him over any distance. The communication may continue until the ritual expires or until either party ends the conversation. The caster must possess an item once owned by her sire for the ritual to work.

System: The caster must meditate for 30 minutes to create the connection. Conversation may be maintained for 10 minutes per success on the activation roll.

Deflection of Wooden Doom

This ritual protects the Tremere from being staked, whether or not she is resting or active. While this ritual is in effect, the first stake that would pierce the Tremere's heart disintegrates in the attacker's hand. A stake merely held near the Tremere is unaffected; for this ritual to work, the stake must actively be used in an attempt to impale the vampire.

System: The thaumaturge must surround herself with a circle of wood for a full hour. Any wood will work: furniture, sawdust, raw timber, 2' x 4's, whatever. The circle must remain unbroken, however. At the end of the hour, the vampire places a wooden splinter under her tongue. If this splinter is removed, the ritual is nullified. This ritual lasts until the following dawn or dusk.

Devil's Touch

The Tremere use this ritual to place curses upon mortals who earn their ire. Using this ritual marks an individual invisibly, causing all those who come in contact with him to receive him poorly. The mortal is treated as the most loathsome individual conceivable, and all who deal with him do anything in their power to make him miserable. Even bums spit at an afflicted individual, and children taunt him and barrage him with vulgarities.

System: The effects of this ritual last one night, disappearing as the sun rises. The mortal (it doesn't work on vampires) must be present when the ritual is invoked, and a penny must be placed somewhere on his person (in a pocket, shoe, etc.).

Level Two Rituals

Ward Versus Ghouls

Wary Tremere created this ritual to protect themselves from the minions of vengeful rivals. By invoking this ritual, the Tremere creates a glyph that causes great pain to any ghouls who come in contact with it. The Kindred pours a point's worth of blood over the object he wishes to ward (a piece of parchment, a coin, a doorknob, etc.), and recites the incantation, which takes 10 minutes. In 10 hours, the magical ward is complete, and will inflict excruciating pain on any ghoul unfortunate enough to touch the warded object.

System: Ghouls who touch warded objects suffer three dice of lethal damage. This damage occurs again if the ghoul touches the object further; indeed, a ghoul who consciously wishes to touch a warded object must spend a point of Willpower to do so. This ritual wards only one object - if inscribed on the side of a car, the ward affects only that door or fender, not the whole car. Wards may be placed on weapons, even bullets, though this usually works best on small-caliber weapons. Bullets oftenwarp upon firing, however, and for a ward to remain intact on a fired round, the player needs five successes on the Firearms roll.

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Principal Focus of Vitae Infusion

This ritual imbues a quantity of blood within the object upon which the ritual is cast. The object must be small enough for the vampire to carry in both hands, and it may be as small as a dime. After the ritual is conducted, the object takes on a reddish hue and becomes slick to the touch. At a mental command, the thaumaturge may release the object from its enchantment, causing it to break down into a pool of blood. This blood may serve whatever purpose the vampire desires; many Tremere wear enchanted baubles to ensure they have emergency supplies of vitae.

System: An object may store only one blood point of vitae. If a Kindred wishes to make an infused focus for an ally, she may do so, but the blood contained within must be her own (and if the ally then drinks the blood, he is one step closer to the blood bond). The ally must be present at the creation of the focus.

Level Three Rituals

Incorporeal Passage

Use of this ritual allows the thaumaturge to make herself insubstantial. The caster becomes completely immaterial and thus is able to walk through walls, pass through closed doors, escape manacles, etc. The caster also becomes invulnerable to physical attacks for the duration of the ritual. The caster must follow a straight path through any physical objects, and may not draw back. Thus, a Kindred may walk through a solid wall, but may not walk down through the earth (as it would be impossible to reach the other side before the ritual lapsed). This ritual requires that the caster carry a shard from a shattered mirror to hold her image as she moves insubstantially.

System: This ritual lasts a number of hours equal to the number of successes scored on a Wits + Survival roll (difficulty 6). The thaumaturge may prematurely end the ritual (and, thus, her incorporeality) by turning the mirror shard away so that it no longer reflects her image.

Pavis of Foul Presence

The Tremere joke privately that this is their "ritual for the Ventrue." Kindred who invoke the Presence Discipline on the subject of this ritual find the effects of their Discipline reversed, as if they had used the power on themselves. For example, a vampire using Presence to instill utter fear in a Kindred under the influence of this ritual feels the fear herself. This ritual is an unbroken secret among the Tremere, and the Warlocks maintain that its use is unknown outside their clan. The magical component for this ritual is a length of blue silk, which must be worn around the neck of the person protected by the magic.

System: This ritual lasts until the sunrise after it is enacted. Note that the Presence Discipline power must actually succeed before being reversed by the ritual.

Level Four Ritual

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Bone of Lies

This ritual enchants a mortal bone so that anyone who holds it must tell the truth. The bone in question is often a skull, though any part of the skeleton will do - some Tremere use strings of teeth, necklaces of finger joints or wands fashioned from ribs or arms. The bone grows blacker as it compels its holder to tell the truth, until it has turned completely ebony and has no magic left. This ritual binds the spirit of the individual to whom the bone belonged in life; it is this spirit who wrests the truth from the potential liar. The spirit absorbs the lies intended to be told by the bone's holder, and as it compels more truth, it becomes more and more corrupt. If summoned forth, this spirit reflects the sins it has siphoned from the defeated liar (in addition to anger over its unwilling servitude). For this reason, anonymous bones are often used in the ritual, and the bone is commonly buried after it has been used to its full extent. A specific bone may never be used twice for this ritual.

System: The bone imbued with this magical power must be at least 200 years old and must absorb 10 blood points on the night that the ritual is cast. Each lie the holder wishes to tell consumes one of these blood points, and the holder must speak the truth immediately thereafter. When all 10 blood points have been consumed, the bone magic ceases to work any longer.

Level Five Ritual

Blood Contract

This ritual creates an unbreakable agreement between the two parties who sign it. The contract must be written in the caster's blood and signed in the blood of whoever applies their name to the document. This ritual takes three nights to enact fully, after which both parties are compelled to fulfill the terms of the contract.

System: This ritual is best handled by the Storyteller, who may bring those who sign the blood contract into compliance by whatever means necessary (it is not unknown for demons to materialize and enforce adherence to certain blood contracts). The only way to terminate the ritual is to complete the terms of the contract or to burn the document itself. One blood point is consumed in the creation of the document, and an additional blood point is consumed by those who sign it.

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