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  • Abyss Mysticism Question

    Hey guys. Just read Rites of the Blood for the 20th anniversary edition, and I'm a little confused. Given how the book is written, I feel like Abyss Mystics probably qualify for a Path of Thaumaturgy- but the book doesn't specify what paths they actually qualify for. SO!

    1) DO ABYSS MYSTICS HAVE PATHS OF THAUMATURGY?

    And if so,

    2) WHAT PATHS DO/SHOULD THEY BE ABLE TO GET? (I feel like Path of Corruption and Hands of Destruction both make sense thematically, but I'd like to hear other people's ideas on the subject. Actually, you could probably justify path of phobos given that Abyss Mystics traffic with the creatures native to the Abyss and those dudes are really not nice...)

  • #2
    1) NO. It doesn't.

    Although both are Blood Magic, Abyss Mysticism is quite distinct from Thaumaturgy as it draws its power form a very specific source and is tied to a Discipline (which is unique to all other forms of Blood Magic).

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    • #3
      Abyss Mysticism is essentially a set of Obtenebration techniques which are highly dangerous to study, let alone attempt. Abyss Mystics tap into the Abyss in an uncontrolled manner, at great risk to themselves. A lot of their rituals are essentially extended interaction with the Abyss using Obtenebration; once they level up a bit, they discover additional ways to do so, combining their Obtenebration use with chants in primordial sounds to interface with the emotions and concepts adrift in that dimension, for example. It is magic, obviously, but not Thaumaturgy.

      That being said, many Abyss Mystics naturally make a point of learning Thaumaturgy as well, just separately.

      You should really just read the Lasombra Trilogy if you are interested in the clan. That was what made Abyss Mysticism click for me.

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      • #4
        They are both right, but allow me to rephrase and clarify a bit.

        Thaumaturgy (and other schools of blood sorcery) use their Thaumaturgy (Setite Sorcery, Koldunism, etc) dots and use paths and rituals. Obtenebration is different, in that it only allows rituals. So consider it a "lesser blood sorcery" if you will, but you will be fatally mistaken. These Abyss Mystics know they don't have paths, so guess where their research goes? Rituals & Obtenebration.

        1. Assume any Abyss Mystic (unless just starting out) will have his generation maximum in Obtenebration.
        2. Assume that since rituals use the Occult ability, they will have buff scores there as well.
        3. Assume that since they only get rituals, they spend a lot of time researching rituals. If you think about it, experimentation with Abyssal power is the essence of their clan discipline and Abyss Mysticism. So go ahead and make sure they pick up the published ones. Then think about a darkness/oblivion/negation reworking of other rituals from the other blood sorcery traditions.

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        • #5
          By RAW, Abyss Mysticism is simply a set of accompanying rituals that can be learned by relevant vampires (Lasombra, and pretty much only Lasombra) with Obtenebration. There are no paths. However, many players (myself included) like to work this into a fully-fledged system of blood sorcery. That's all well and good, your table, your rules.

          In my current TC game, because I have a Lasombra PC and no blood sorcerers except one premascine Giovanni, the rules are thus. Abyss Mysticism is an "upgrade" to Obtenebration, in the same rough sense Temporis is an "upgrade" to Celerity. Once the character learns Abyss Mysticism, replace "Obtenebration" on the character sheet with "Abyss Mysticism"; current rating stays the same, and it stays in-clan. Obtenebration (the discipline) is automatically the primary path, and its mechanics stay the same; from there, characters can learn secondary paths and rituals the same as any other blood sorcery. However, only paths and rituals which deal with entropy, decay, destruction, and corruption (and certain other pertinent paths) can be learned.

          The big caveat to this is, I'm only allowing one form of blood sorcery per character. The blood sorcery discipline itself represents the character's "paradigm" to use MtAs terms, and paths and rituals must be relevant or justifiable under that "paradigm" to be allowable. The trade-off is, I'm being more permissive on what paths are accessible to what blood sorcery forms than normal. For instance, I've stated I'll allow my Giovanni to learn Gift of Morpheus/Oneiromancy as a Nigrimancy path, for example (kind of my own personal nod to Phantasm), and Cappadocians will be able to learn Mastery of the Mortal Shell as a Mortis path.

          So, for example, a character under this regime might look like this:

          Abyss Mysticism (C) 4
          - Obtenebration 4
          - Path of Corruption 3 [The maximum level of a secondary path, given primary path rating 4.]
          - Weather Control 2 [Weather Control is ubiquitous, and it only makes sense vampires obsessed with the sea would learn it.]
          - Neptune's Might 2 [Again with the sea thing.]
          - Shadowstep 1 [To accomodate for Abyss Mysticism and the ridiculously powerful nature of the Obtenebration 6 power Shadowstep, I'm banning it as an elder-level discipline and instead allowing characters to take Path of Mercury/Praapti and call it Shadowstep.]
          Last edited by Theodrim; 10-28-2017, 10:55 PM.

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          • #6
            The so called "Abyss Mysticism" is a set of rituals developed by the Tremere masters of the Path of Shadowcrafting. Disregard all rumors of these rituals being developed by Lasombra as a vile Sabbat propaganda.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Theodrim View Post
              - Shadowstep 1 [To accomodate for Abyss Mysticism and the ridiculously powerful nature of the Obtenebration 6 power Shadowstep, I'm banning it as an elder-level discipline and instead allowing characters to take Path of Mercury/Praapti and call it Shadowstep.]
              Not to derail the conversation, but what is so powerful about Shadowstep? It's an L6 power that lets you effectively teleport something like 50 feet. As I recall, Praatpi lets you teleport 500 miles at only the 5th dot. The power is useful, but frankly it should be a lot lower in level.

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              • #8
                Comparing Thaumaturgy paths and Disciplines can be misleading in assessing their OPness. Shadowstep means that any Lasombra elder could possibly start teleporting around, while Praatpi means that highly experienced Thaumaturges could teleport around. Both these powers are quite obscure, and in total, that's still a tiny fraction of all vampires - nobody else will have access to teleportation.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by g3taso View Post

                  Not to derail the conversation, but what is so powerful about Shadowstep? It's an L6 power that lets you effectively teleport something like 50 feet. As I recall, Praatpi lets you teleport 500 miles at only the 5th dot. The power is useful, but frankly it should be a lot lower in level.
                  It's heavily version-dependent. Sure, the newer versions are pretty well nerfed and balanced, but you could do some grade-A crazy shit with the earlier versions (2nd ed. and VtDA if I remember right) with not-too-insightful writing. It used to be the case you could act through any shadow you could perceive regardless of distance, and you could perform any action through that shadow as if your target were standing right next to you. When you paired it up with that other level 6 Obtenebration power that allowed you to see through any shadow with which you've interacted before (Shadow Perspective?), you could pretty much affect anyone, anywhere, and at any time.

                  I remember the Lasombra PC in my old TC game had both powers, and he kept three or four havens globally. When the sun would start to rise at his current location, he'd Shadowstep to the next one to the west where the sun had just set. Which meant he never, ever slept for the day.

                  Honestly, under my rules to have Praapti 5 to teleport those 500 miles as an Abyss Mysticism secondary path, a player is going to have to spend somewhere between 67-107 experience points. And survive long enough and do enough shit to get on an Abyss Mystic's radar and prove themselves worthy of education.
                  Last edited by Theodrim; 10-29-2017, 08:33 PM.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Theodrim View Post

                    It's heavily version-dependent. Sure, the newer versions are pretty well nerfed and balanced, but you could do some grade-A crazy shit with the earlier versions (2nd ed. and VtDA if I remember right) with not-too-insightful writing. It used to be the case you could act through any shadow you could perceive regardless of distance, and you could perform any action through that shadow as if your target were standing right next to you. When you paired it up with that other level 6 Obtenebration power that allowed you to see through any shadow with which you've interacted before (Shadow Perspective?), you could pretty much affect anyone, anywhere, and at any time.

                    .
                    V20 shadow perspective doesn't do that at all. It lets you see (or use other senses) from a shadow you can see, or one you know well but cannot see at a higher difficulty. I don't have the old lore of the clans.

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                    • #11
                      The constraints and ideology around Abyss Mysticism are such that you practically become an unplayable character. It's on par with joining a Baali coven in terms of how evil and restrictive it is. They are essentially the vampiric Nephandi, pledging their souls to waging war on creation. As such, I would be very restrictive with those powers.

                      Many prominent Lasombra don't even go there: they just embrace some oddball disposable childer and motivate them to work on Abyss Mysticism, keeping their own hands relatively clean. The Mystic gets eaten by whatever is waiting for him, but gets some good research notes in the meantime that expands the sire's lore.

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                      • #12
                        There is absolutely nothing evil or restrictive about Abyss Mysticism. Most of its powers are self-buffs and divinations, with occasional summoning of mostly mindless creatures. You really don't have to sacrifice babies to do Abyss Mysticism.

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                        • #13
                          Question - Does someone with Obtenebration need a teacher to learn Abyss Mysticism or can they develop through study on their own? Sounds like they can just study the Abyss and figure it out from Lore of the Clans.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Kammerer View Post
                            There is absolutely nothing evil or restrictive about Abyss Mysticism. Most of its powers are self-buffs and divinations, with occasional summoning of mostly mindless creatures. You really don't have to sacrifice babies to do Abyss Mysticism.
                            Yup ... nothing to see here folks ...

                            I go with the fluff again. As typical, I advocate reading the Lasombra Trilogy in any thread about Lasombra.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Sultanabdal View Post

                              Yup ... nothing to see here folks ...

                              I go with the fluff again. As typical, I advocate reading the Lasombra Trilogy in any thread about Lasombra.
                              Oh come on man, beat me in an argument or something. Explain how Abyss Mystics have to be evil. If possible, without bringing evil by association. Even the case for Abyss itself being any more evil than, say fire or vacuum of space is pretty iffy from where I'm standing.
                              Last edited by Kammerer; 10-31-2017, 04:11 AM.

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