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Targeting someone with Necromancy Rituals?

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  • Targeting someone with Necromancy Rituals?

    So one of my Players has the "Eyes of the Grave" ritual, and now wants to use it an NPC they met last session.

    But all it says is that it "requires a pinch of soil from a fresh grave".

    Is that it? Then you can target anyone in the world with it that you somehow know? You don't need a bit of hair from them, or a anything else to link them to the ritual?

  • #2
    For reference to future answers, here is the full text of the ritual:

    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, as only the victim sees them. 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, studying, shooting, and so on.
    Eyes of the Grave requires a pinch of soil from a fresh grave.
    Now, looking into Rites of the Blood for answers, I came across this:

    You need some sort of link to your target, in order to use sympathetic magic (all magic used to affect something not in your immediate presence). They even provide a handy chart of sample links, as well as the modifiers to the difficulty of rituals incorporating them. I hope this helps ^^
    Difficulty Modifier Sample Connection
    -1 A point of the target’s blood or a severed body part at least as large as a finger.
    No Modifier A lock of hair, a fingernail, or any bodily fluid other than blood.
    A magical item created by the target (such as through a Thaumaturgy ritual) also satisfies this degree of connection.
    +1 A physical object which the target considers a prized possession.
    +2 A physical object which was owned and regularly handled by the target within a week of casting.
    An item containing a recent fingerprint from the target.
    A point of vitae or a severed body part from a blood relative of the target.
    +3 A physical object which was handled by the target at least once within the last week.
    +4 A recent picture of the target.
    +5 The target’s name written on a piece of paper.



    Furthermore, I believe Carthage should be destroyed.

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    • #3
      Something like that was exactly what I was looking for, thank you!

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by pang4 View Post
        The target’s name written on a piece of paper.
        I think this means the target "true" name, not just the anagraphic one


        Dark Shores: Lineages of the Great Lakes
        Fingers of the Eldest: Bogatyri

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        • #5
          With the name I usually go this: If the target identifies with the name it's enough.

          So if Marquis Jean de Valois born 1345 decides to go by the name of Pete Miller in modern nights, and thats how everyone refers to him, and he knows if people talk about Pete Miller they talk about him, then that name will be enough.

          If someone gives a random fake name, that means nothing to them though, then it will not work. There probably would be a difference there if he gave the fake name to the thaumaturge directly or if its just a name they learn by hearsay. In the first case, it might actually be enough.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Quatar View Post
            With the name I usually go this: If the target identifies with the name it's enough.

            So if Marquis Jean de Valois born 1345 decides to go by the name of Pete Miller in modern nights, and thats how everyone refers to him, and he knows if people talk about Pete Miller they talk about him, then that name will be enough.

            If someone gives a random fake name, that means nothing to them though, then it will not work. There probably would be a difference there if he gave the fake name to the thaumaturge directly or if its just a name they learn by hearsay. In the first case, it might actually be enough.
            This is an interesting and pretty feasible use, but in the chart posted by pang4 I would not put it at more than +1 or +2 bonus (i.e. same as a prized possession or a point of vitae).
            The abovementioned "true" name is just another thing that doesn't have much to do with the actual name of an individual.


            Dark Shores: Lineages of the Great Lakes
            Fingers of the Eldest: Bogatyri

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            • #7
              Those aren't bonuses. Those are modifiers to the Difficulty. So more is worse.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Quatar View Post
                Those aren't bonuses. Those are modifiers to the Difficulty. So more is worse.
                *faceplam*
                that's what I get for reading the forum when I should be already on the bed
                forget all I said apart for the "true" name thing, that goes on pair with the "point of the target’s blood"


                Dark Shores: Lineages of the Great Lakes
                Fingers of the Eldest: Bogatyri

                Comment


                • #9
                  I beg to differ.

                  As pang4 said, this is the original quote from V20, p179:

                  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, as only the victim sees them. 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, studying, shooting, and so on.

                  Eyes of the Grave requires a pinch of soil from a fresh grave.
                  There is no mention of sympathetic magic. There is no mention of drops of blood, locks of hair, or true names.

                  The ritual really isn't that over-powered. It's about the same result you would expect if you left someone a voice-mail every few hours describing in gory detail how they were going to die, and they had reason to believe you were capable of following through on the threats. Think of it as an Intimidation roll made at unlimited range. I think using this on an npc the pc just met yesterday is a reasonable use of the power, rai.

                  If this is bog standard Giovanni Necromancy, grabbing a random wraith and leaning on them to go scare some guy in another city for a week is a reasonable thing to do. The wraith may even be fine with what amounts to light duty when you consider they work for a Giovanni. So, the effects of this ritual are probably achievable with just Sepulchre Path and some deal-making, even without the ritual.

                  The chart is from a supplement, which may or may not be considered binding canon, depending on the ST. This sort of thing has long been one of the roots of the "Green Marble Wall" in VtM. Players, in good faith, purchase an ability at chagen or later only to be told when they go to use it the power doesn't work the way the corebook says it does because of what (to a casual player) seems like an obscure reference in an obscure book. It amounts to the ST saying, "Hmm, I have retroactively decided I am afraid this power might be overpowered. I will go searching for a way to prevent my player from doing this."

                  This can only lead to hard feelings at the table unless handled delicately.

                  Just to head off problems in the future, I would go to the player and explain that you hadn't noticed this ritual has some over-powered potential and you may need to rein it in a bit. Maybe start with no hexing strangers unless you have a way to target them. If that is unacceptable to the player (Were they planning on driving Queen Elizabeth and Bill Gates insane? For that matter, why not Mithras or Caine?), then work with them to develop an in-game solution.

                  It's one thing to send a hex. It's not that unthinkable one... or many... can be sent back on the user.

                  Oh, and, Quatar, if I may suggest... and I'm trying to say this in as kindly a manner as possible... next time around read the powers your players buy before you approve them. No pc is ever entitled to be taught a ritual, and this situation could have been prevented by denying access in the first place.

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                  • #10
                    @Nosimplehiway: The crux of the matter is the word "target", which ROTB seems to define as sympathetic magical. As with all things, it is up to ST to interpret.


                    Furthermore, I believe Carthage should be destroyed.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      pang4

                      I largely agree with you, assuming that the book Rites of the Blood was clearly on the table for character creation or character upgrade. And by "on the table", I mean literally sitting there on the gaming table when character sheets were in hand and pencils were scribbling in blank spots. Unless the ST clearly indicated that the ritual descriptions in V20 included an asterisk to go read the fine print of the user agreement over in RotB, then there is a bait-and-switch element to the situation.

                      The player read the description in V20, decided this looked like an awesome character upgrade, and picked it. Maybe the player wondered briefly why it seemed so awesome at level 2, but the ST approved its acquisition, so the player just wrote it down and moved on. This would not have been without cost, as had this ritual not been approved, some other ritual may have been acquired which would have been useful. The player has already paid an opportunity cost, even if the power has not yet been used.

                      Now, when the pc wants to activate the power, the ST goes back and looks at the power (finally) and worries it is over-powered?

                      There is a "speak now or forever hold your piece" aspect to running a game. If a player makes a request and it is approved by the ST, then that's how it is and the ST just needs to roll with it. It's unfair to the player to later change your mind, so if that becomes absolutely necessary, it needs to be handled diplomatically, or with reasonable in-game repercussions.

                      Quatar

                      What is your fear about the use of this ritual in your chronicle if there is no more onerous a ritual component than "grave dirt"? Has the player been irresponsible or disruptive with their pc's actions before? Do you fear the pc will just crack open a phone-book and send panic attacks to everyone in the city, starting with "Abbot, Aaron" and finishing with "Zuvoni, Zeke"? Are you afraid the pc will use it to attack public figures or powerful supernaturals?

                      In other words, what actual indication of trouble in your chronicle has there been from this ritual? Or, are you just looking to prevent a problem before it starts?

                      If you really need a catch-all safeguard to encourage responsible use of Necromancy rituals, I worked up a quick plot-device ritual that may help.

                      Aegis of the Psychopomp
                      (Necromancy ritual, level 6 or whatever level you need to scare your pc, while keeping it unattainable to them)

                      Infighting among the Giovanni has become legendary through the years. Favored ghouls, beloved mortal relatives, treasured keepsakes, and even cherished pets have been know to fall victim to cycles of curses, counter-curses, and escalating magical retribution. The Anziani have developed a means of protecting their most important assets.

                      The caster uses one point of their blood to anoint a person (anyone except themselves), place (up to the size of a small home), or an object (up to the size of a small truck). All Necromantic rituals targeted against the protected object first require the caster to spend a point of willpower to complete the ritual. Immediately after the completion of the attacking ritual, the caster of Aegis can make a Wits+Awareness roll, diff 6, to identify the attacker. This creates a mystical tie through which the caster of the Aegis can attack using other disciplines, rituals, etc. as if the attacker were in the presence of and making eye-contact with the protecting necromancer.

                      Justice delivered through this channel tends to be merciless and swift.

                      The Aegis lasts for a full lunar month. In addition to the blood point, which must be smeared over the object of protection, the ritual requires an intact lock which has been used to seal a crypt for at least one full century. The lock may be reused as a component, but if it is badly damaged or destroyed all Aegises derived from it are dispelled.
                      Just let your pc know this ritual exists. Maybe, they stumble across it in a family library or overhear the story of a fledgling who was destroyed at long-range for scrying on the wrong bedroom. This won't be a fool-proof deterrent to misuse of the Eyes of the Grave, but will force the pc to consider carefully before they throw around curses without forethought.

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