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  • Necromancy or Thaumaturgy

    If you could learn one of the two (you have a teacher for each of them but choosing one prevents you from learning the other), which one would you choose and for what reason?
    I honestly find myself incapable of making a choice as both have some appeal. For necromancy, it might be the fact that I have never played a necromancer in Vampire and it presents the extra appeal of the unknown and opening up so many new possibilities.

    So which one would you choose?

  • #2
    As much as I dig the concepts of zombies and ghosts, I couldn’t see giving up Movement if the Mind, Path of Mercury and/or Path of Conjuring to play with zombies and ghosts.

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    • #3
      Necromancy.
      Sure, Thaumaturgy is versatile, but so are a wraith's arcanoi. And I have so may terrible, stupid ideas for pranks involving zombies. Besides, free access to the Underworld! A terrible, terrible place for a trip so obviously an ideal place to spend the holidays with the family. I also have a special place in my heart for the Corpse in the Monster path, for some reason. It's all about the style, and necromancy's creepy macabre edgelord-ness and the research into death and the undead state is more my alley than the Hermetic paradigm. Plus Wraith is my second favourite line, so it lets me blend.
      Last edited by Rhywbeth; 08-31-2021, 04:18 PM.

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      • #4
        Necromancy all the freaking way. Not only can you either make useful servants, Necromancy also allows you to enter the Low Umbra and generally the Underworld as well. You can make a base in an area where only a very small amount of other Kindred even go into. Not only that, putting Wraiths in your service basically can net you potential soldiers that cannot be seen and cannot be striked back against.

        A Wraith with Embody under your servitude can also literally make one of the best assassin's in World of Darkness because there is little counter an opponent can do, when they are stealth attacked from something coming out of the Umbra behind you with chance of knowing whats going on. It's basically akin to how the Garou can sidestep into the Middle Umbra and sidestep back out for an easy stealth kill.


        Jade Kingdom Warrior

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        • #5
          Oddly imagining if this was applied to me as opposed to a character I'd make:

          Advantages of Necromancy
          -Doesn't use much blood. This is a godly advantage for mortal learners, since blood means health levels for them.
          -More front-loading. Talking to ghosts is something you can learn early on, and it's a really good skill. Most of the best thaumaturgy stuff is higher level.

          Advantages of Thaumaturgy
          -Self improvement.
          -far more possibilities
          -Not fucking corpses.

          Things to consider:
          What's my willpower score?
          Am I a vampire for this question? Yes brings me to thaumaturgy, no brings me to necromancy.
          What would make me more money? I wouldn't mind becoming a public figure, but easy cash is good too.

          I lean more to thaumaturgy. It's more positive, empowering, and I wouldn't have to spend lots of time around death. But if I didn't have much talent/capacity for it, i'd rather make money from ghosts.
          Last edited by MyWifeIsScary; 08-31-2021, 04:22 PM.


          Throw me/White wolf some money with Quietus: Drug Lord, Poison King
          There's more coming soon. Pay what ya want.

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          • #6
            Each has its pros and cons as others have stated, but a lot of it comes down to how the ST in the game is handling certain aspects of the setting.

            Thaumaturgy is a tool kit where each path does one specific thing very well, thus given enough time and XP you can become very powerful. Conversely Necromancy is a bit more limited in scope, with much fewer Paths or rituals, which means it functions more like a multi-tool or utility tool which can do many jobs good enough though not great. But this means it is time and XP cost efficient and perhaps most importantly it provides upfront power at a faster rate than Thaumaturgy with its long haul investment requirement.

            The Sepulcher Path at level three, i.e. at character generation, allows you to summon ghosts and compel them. This at first glance means you can talk to the dead and maybe get some minions. But technically you can build a spy network, each ghost can be a teacher or advisor, each ghost can be an assassin, etc. This far outstrips the power curve for almost any other single thaumaturgy path with only three dots in it. The path of Technomancy and the path of Conjuring being the main competitors for versatility at only three dots.

            But if the ST is being problematic, then the only ghosts around have bad stats, were children when they died and thus don't have professional grade skills or knowledge, or even worse the only spirits around are very powerful specters which means you don't have the ability to tangle with them. Conversely most Thaumaturgy paths are very straight forward with specific mechanics, Path of Flames will always light things on fire, Movement of the Mind will always move things that are inside its weight limit. So the ST is unlikely to curtail your use of the Thaumaturgy.

            Now some things at first glance some Paths or Rituals appear to give the edge to one or the other, but usually there are ways to balance it out. Thamaturgy has Wards which make for automatic protection, but the Sepulcher path means you can have dozens of ghostly body guards in the same room as you and your enemies won't know it until it is too late. Thaumaturgy has limited teleportation with Escape to a True Friend, but the Necromancy Ash Path allows you to enter the Underworld itself which means you can bypass most mortal world threats.

            So it really comes down to how much leeway your ST gives your Necromancer or how much time and XP your ST will allow you to spend on Thaumaturgy before you have to depend on it to survive.

            Or to contextualize it another way, Thaumaturgy is the anime "I've Been Killing Slimes for 300 Years and Maxed Out My Level" where XP grinding without serious threat is the way of life. While Necromancy would be something like "Berserk" anime where everything is messy and depressing, but the answer is always a big sword.

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            • #7
              What ed? Because Thaum in v5 is a waste of xp.

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              • #8
                Well obviously, probably the older editions, considering Necromancy and its subsequent Paths were removed in V5 for the "Oblivion" Discipline nonsense.


                Jade Kingdom Warrior

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                • #9
                  Necromancy for sure. While there are some incredibly cool Thaumaturgy Paths, being able to speak with and interact with ghosts, some of whom might be centuries old, would amazing. Plus summoning up ghosts with certain Arcanoi can sort of allow you to pull off similar shenanigans as some Thaumaturgy Paths. Like you might not have the Path of Technomancy, but you could have a ghost with Inhabit possess a computer or a smart phone to similar effect.

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                  • #10
                    As a person rather than a VtM character? Thaumaturgy. I like Necromancy. I like it a lot. But I am not a slaver. And enslaving sentient beings is kind of the foundational premise of the coolest branch - Sepulcher.

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                    • #11
                      Enslaving ghosts is something Necromancy can do but it's not like that's the only way of engaging with them. The Samedi for example have a lot of mutual respect for ghosts in the Underworld and tend to treat them more as partners than as disposable tools. It's just that the asshole Giovanni were mostly the face of Necromancy for so long and their style was particularly fucked up.

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                      • #12
                        The thinking girls answer-Mortis.

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                        • #13
                          I think Thaumaturgy has more application in the game.

                          For me, the only reason you want a character to know Necromancy is if you want that character (or the game) to explore the world of Wraith. You find ghosts fascinating and want to explore that in the setting somehow. If so, that's great and it's a valid choice if your ST is ready. If you are not interested in exploring the underworld, its hazards, perils, mysteries, etc. don't go to Necromancy.

                          Unfortunately in my experience, most Vampire STs have a limited understanding of Wraith and don't want to take the time to master the Wraith setting. I don't think that's a fault. The Vampire setting on its own is a huge thing, and you shouldn't feel compelled to go out and buy even more books just to scratch someone else's itch. Unfortunately they allow the PC to buy Necromancy anyway and then half-ass it. That allows certain players to abuse it. Usually what I see is that the player wants Necromancy because they think it can be a superweapon that other vampires have no defense against. So I pretty much disagree with most of what Shakanaka posted. Anytime you think there is something that other characters can't counter, the ST needs to stop that. It is bad STing to allow that.

                          In fact, there are tons of things that should make Necromancy extremely dangerous for its practitioner. All Disciplines should be useful. None should be impossible to counter. If a player uses it sparingly in a way that doesn't disrupt the game, there's no issue letting him use it. If he wants to create an unstoppable secret assassin that can't be stopped, have an unreachable secret hideout, or lots of enslaved servants that can never be foiled, it's time for the ST to step in and begin to actually roleplay the actual setting of Wraith.

                          Wraiths have Shadows and can go into catharsis, and you can bet any wraith enslaved by being tortured and forced into servitude is going to succumb to their Shadow at some point. Their Circle of wraiths will want to help them at some point. Legionary patrols of the Hierarchy or Renegade gangs will encounter you. Your existing enslaved wraiths might get enslaved by another wraith or soulforged. One of the many maelstroms in the Shadowlands hits your hideout and wipes it out, and if you happen to be there your health levels get sheared off and you die. Spectres erupt from a Nihil as you walk past one day. Lots of bad things can happen. Like they would if you played an ordinary Wraith PC in a Wraith chronicle.

                          If you're a player who wants to actually explore that, it's all great fun for them as they learn about them and interact with these new NPCs. If all you want out of Necromancy is unstoppable exploits, the player gets very upset because that is not what he wanted.

                          Not to mention, even ordinary humans have a lot of defenses against wraiths. You don't need to be supernatural to defend yourself. Most areas will have a high enough Shroud that it becomes very hard to do anything in the Skinlands. In order to Forbid or Ward against wraiths, you just need to think whatever "ritual" you are doing will work for it to work. Anyone with Occult 3 can stop a Wraith dead in their tracks in terms of the Skinlands (which is all that's important). Hell, innocent children can simply tell a wraith to "Go away!" and that works. Animals can detect the presence of wraith because they aren't affected by the Fog. That's the trope of your dog barking at no one. In the game, your dog has sensed a wraith has entered the home and is telling it to go away. It may not do anything to the Wraith, but it could raise the Shroud as the owner focuses their attention to that and don't have time to think its becoming spooky. And in vampire terms, if you have Animalism it can be a very good warning system that allows you to break out that "amulet" you bought from the fortune teller down the street that wards you. You don't need Tremere rituals or anything else. While supernatural creatures are slightly more vulnerable because the Shroud is lowered a bit by their mere presence, they do have more powers available to them. A Necromancer will need to be subtle if he is to make good use of his powers because too obvious uses produces its own backlash.

                          Let the PC have their fun and keep Necromancy useful. But no unstoppable super assassins and the like. The setting, if you run it properly, defeats that.

                          I know other STs have different tastes and preferences, and that's fine. But that's how I run my games and I think it's very faithful to both the published setting and the genre.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by AnubisXy View Post
                            Enslaving ghosts is something Necromancy can do but it's not like that's the only way of engaging with them. The Samedi for example have a lot of mutual respect for ghosts in the Underworld and tend to treat them more as partners than as disposable tools. It's just that the asshole Giovanni were mostly the face of Necromancy for so long and their style was particularly fucked up.
                            The Samedi also don't have Necromancy, so who's going to listen to them?


                            Originally posted by Ragged Robin View Post
                            The thinking girls answer-Mortis.
                            Meh. Good for a vampire who fights all the time, but what am I supposed to do with Mortis as a still-living office drone? Horrifically curse colleagues for laughs?

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Black Fox
                              So I pretty much disagree with most of what Shakanaka posted. Anytime you think there is something that other characters can't counter, the ST needs to stop that. It is bad STing to allow that.
                              Why? If a player works toward an ability that gives them a heightened advantage, then let them take in the spoils of their hard work (probably paid for in chronicle XP) and the benefits of their strategy of how they use that ability. World of Darkness is inherently a deadly world. And its not as if Necromancy cannot be countered, but the person who is being targeted probably would need to know some Necromancy or be in contact with counter-neutral Necromancers to stave off their enemy.

                              Originally posted by Black Fox
                              Wraiths have Shadows and can go into catharsis, and you can bet any wraith enslaved by being tortured and forced into servitude is going to succumb to their Shadow at some point.
                              Touching on the Shadow aspect of a Wraith is a perfectly valid and central point, nothing wrong with this. But you inherently assume the Wraith would be enslaved or could be forced into being an ally for the Necromancer Vampire (I think this partially my fault to begin with, since my post continually mentioned "service" in it. But a service doesn't have to mean its forced. The relationship could be a service-for-a-service type of deal, where the Necromancer does something for the Wraith that feeds into the latter helping the former to begin with).

                              Not every Vampire-Wraith relation is like this at all and could be one of a mutual benefit or understanding. Even then, a Catharsis episode lasts for a variable amount of time and it isn't permanent. It isn't the same as being Shadow-Eaten where a Wraith turns in a Spectre. Even then still, its not as if Spectres cannot be reasoned with either, its just that they're more untrustworthy than before, but even as a Spectre, an interest of a mutual partnership may still be in the interest of the Spectre one way or the other.

                              Originally posted by Black Fox
                              Their Circle of wraiths will want to help them at some point.
                              Circles aren't that common in the Wraith setting and only seems as such, because the Wraith books go with the default assumption that the ongoing center piece of the chronicle centers around one, due to the fact that the multiple players in an average session are all probably Circlemates. This isn't common to Wraith either, but other lines as well. Only in Werewolf is it fully expected and confirmed both IC and OOC that you'll be in a "team" (Pack) of sorts.

                              A Necromancer could just as easily only be contact and deal with one Wraith only; even if said Wraith does have a Circle, as long as the partnership the Necromancer and Wraith have is mutually beneficial and non-hostile or imbalanced, its unlikely the Circle would intervene to mess up their Circlemates affairs (though such a thing CAN easily happen if one of their Circlemates has a Cathartic episode).

                              Originally posted by Black Fox
                              Legionary patrols of the Hierarchy or Renegade gangs will encounter you.
                              Legion patrols can and could be a threat of a sorts, but the Wraith being enlisted or hired by the Necromancer would probably be an experienced professional. Especially in a large urban area too, it would be unlikely for them to be caught. Renegades would probably not care at all about a Wraith doing such jobs either unless it directly opposes their interests, and it'd be likely anyway the Wraith the Necromancer is dealing with is probably a Renegade themselves to begin with for doing such jobs.

                              Originally posted by Black Fox
                              Your existing enslaved wraiths might get enslaved by another wraith or soulforged.
                              Valid point, no argument there.

                              Originally posted by Black Fox
                              One of the many maelstroms in the Shadowlands hits your hideout and wipes it out, and if you happen to be there your health levels get sheared off and you die.
                              Maelstroms aren't that fast and most Necropolis' having a warning system for an approaching Maelstrom. And Haunts and most buildings in general, are protected easily from Maelstroms. Only Great Maelstroms have the power to destroy things if I remember correctly, but again, it only destroys Shadowland buildings and structures. Regular buildings in the Skinlands aren't affected at all and a Necromancer can just leave the Shadowlands at anytime.

                              Originally posted by Black Fox
                              Not to mention, even ordinary humans have a lot of defenses against wraiths. You don't need to be supernatural to defend yourself.
                              Not really... no. Most humans don't have many defenses against Wraiths at all. The only stopgap is essentially Wraiths with little to no experience in using their Arcanoi, but those are essentially new arrivals/newly minted ghosts. Any Wraith with any good amount of dots in the specific Arcanoi for influencing the Skinlands (aka haunting something, basically) can do so without having any defense at all.

                              Originally posted by Black Fox
                              Most areas will have a high enough Shroud that it becomes very hard to do anything in the Skinlands
                              Well the Wraith can just follow the person their haunting until they wander into an area with a low Shroud rating, then do what they want to do. And even then, per the Shroud chart, the DC to use Arcanoi in say a place like a "A well-cared for home with no violent history" is only 8. A Wraith a with a decent dice pool to work with, can and will in most cases, be able to do something.

                              Most Vampires anyway, reside in urban areas/cities. Cities no matter what, are almost always dark in someway and hiding the resonances of a past violence or malignance of somesort. Doubly so in cities with Vampires in them. Shroud ratings in such places are a definite to be low. The Necromancer can just as easily as well, lower the Shroud level in an area to help the Wraith do their task easier.

                              Originally posted by Black Fox
                              In order to Forbid or Ward against wraiths, you just need to think whatever "ritual" you are doing will work for it to work. Anyone with Occult 3 can stop a Wraith dead in their tracks in terms of the Skinlands (which is all that's important).
                              Yeah.. but most people wouldn't really have Occult 3 realistically. Niche hobbyists would probably only have 1-2 dots at best. And a Wraith who's serious about killing someone can do so before that person can even get into contact with someone with Occult 3 anyway.

                              Forbiddance isn't that strong and purely relies on a Willpower roll at DC 7; and the 2nd Ed book says that a Wraith can easily resist a Forbiddance ritual with an "appropriate Arcanos" in an opposed roll. Unless that person is really strong willed, their Willpower pool wouldn't be enough to stave off a Wraith with decently built-up dots in the Arcanoi their using + the subsequent Attribute traditionally used with that following Arcanoi.

                              Ward rituals are much more stronger than Forbiddance, but relies on a Willpower roll at DC 7 and a spent Willpower. The Ward also only lasts for the successes acquired in the roll, however, which wouldn't be much if the Warder's Willpower isn't that much. They can spend a permanent Willpower to extend the Ward for months up to a year, but that's very costly and taxing, and makes them much weaker long-term.

                              But overall, Ward isn't that much of a stopgap because the DC to pass through it, is the permanent Willpower score of the mortal who set it. It'd especially be more weaker to begin with, if the mortal who set it up spent a permanent Willpower to makes its duration last longer too. Though to pass it, the attempting Wraith would need to roll their own Willpower to negate the Ward; and even if they pass, Arcanoi in the breached ward area are at +2 DC.. so Ward is halfway decent, but not good in most areas in deterrence.

                              The Wraith could just wait it out. The target will eventually need to either go out; food, water, the need to go to work or get fired, etc. Wards also need to be renewed, which would be very taxing on the targeted victim and old wards need to be taken down for a new ward to be implemented. In the timeline between the decommissioning of the old ward and setting up a new one, a Wraith can easily disrupt the ritual after knowing the tactic of the target at this point. Lastly, the focuses for the ward ritual itself (a circle, incense, or candles) can be directly attacked or targeted. Those go out and the ward fails.

                              And again, this all predicates that most people have Occult 3 or above or even believed in ghosts before being haunted.

                              So yeah, most humans don't have any reliable defenses against Wraiths; except those with "Innocence", who can insta-compel a Wraith to leave them alone. But "Innocence" as Wraith describes it only is in children or very sheltered people or in some facets of the insane.

                              The rest of your last points are valid and sensical tactics to counter Wraiths in some fashion, so I largely agree with them.
                              Last edited by Shakanaka; 09-02-2021, 10:57 AM.


                              Jade Kingdom Warrior

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