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  • The Vampiric body - a great mystery

    Hello there.

    I've been wondering. What Arcana would a Mage need to use to affect a Vampire's body? Death comes to mind of course, since Vampires are technically undead (are they though?)
    But say the mage in question wanted to transform a Vampire's body. Would this fall under the purview of the Life Arcanum (since a body - vampiric or not - is considered organic matter) or the Matter Arcanum (since the vampiric body is dead and therefore it is considered inert matter and thus is unrelated to Life magic). Or would both need to be used, in addition to Death? It's all very confusing to me, and i suspect there might be many different cases. Can somebody help?

  • #2
    Originally posted by Emerus View Post
    Hello there.

    I've been wondering. What Arcana would a Mage need to use to affect a Vampire's body? Death comes to mind of course, since Vampires are technically undead (are they though?)
    But say the mage in question wanted to transform a Vampire's body. Would this fall under the purview of the Life Arcanum (since a body - vampiric or not - is considered organic matter) or the Matter Arcanum (since the vampiric body is dead and therefore it is considered inert matter and thus is unrelated to Life magic). Or would both need to be used, in addition to Death? It's all very confusing to me, and i suspect there might be many different cases. Can somebody help?
    You have two questions baked into one, so I'll answer them separately:

    Does a vampire's body count as a dead body? I say yes. Dying is part of becoming a vampire, and vampires are reanimated bodies rather than truly resurrected.

    What is required to transform a dead body? Death has several example spells for this. Whether Life can do it or not is a complicated question. It's confusing that Life might stop being able to transform a body because it died when the transformation effect isn't directly related to the being's state of life or death, but it does seem that Life does not work on dead bodies. I don't think Matter applies as well, until the body has decomposed enough. But I could not tell you where to draw the line.


    Bloodline: The Stygians
    Ordo Dracul Mysteries: Mystery of Smoke, Revised Mystery of Živa
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    • #3
      Originally posted by Tessie View Post

      You have two questions baked into one, so I'll answer them separately:

      Does a vampire's body count as a dead body? I say yes. Dying is part of becoming a vampire, and vampires are reanimated bodies rather than truly resurrected.

      What is required to transform a dead body? Death has several example spells for this. Whether Life can do it or not is a complicated question. It's confusing that Life might stop being able to transform a body because it died when the transformation effect isn't directly related to the being's state of life or death, but it does seem that Life does not work on dead bodies. I don't think Matter applies as well, until the body has decomposed enough. But I could not tell you where to draw the line.

      (Thanks for the reply )

      The thing is, that reading the VtR 2e, (yeah forgot to mention, this is all related to 2e, both mage and vampire) the book refers to vampires as the dead a few times, but it doesnt not really describe a vampire's physiology. So even if the body died, we can't be enttirelly sure it's dead after the transformation.

      When it comes to the Arcana, reading Death spells, (at least in the base 2e MtA book, I don't have any other supplements) the only semi-relevant spells can raise corpses and maybe transorm them into shadow, nothing more. So, if a mage were to affect something material it would definitely be through a Life or Matter spell. So if you wanted to increase someone's muscles it would be Life, or if you wanted to chance iron to gold, it would be matter. Sometimes one can combine the two to turn say skin into gold (there is such an example in the Matter 4 spell "Transubstantiation).

      So, if someone were to affect a vampire's body, my first thought would be a combined Life + Death or Matter + Death spell. Life or Matter to affect the target and Death to enable the spell to affect a dead thing. The question that I cannot answer though, is whether a vampire's body is considered inert matter or not. In the description of the Matter Arcanum it says: "Things which were once alive, but are no longer [...] are also governed by this Arcanum. So Matter would be used to affect a corpse, not Life. But is a vampire's body considered a corpse? Because even if the body died, it now continues to function even if it is no longer sustained by food etc, and instead relies of the magic within the vampiric vitae.

      Could it be that one would need to combine all 3 Arcana (Matter + Life + Death) to affect a vampire's body? Or does a combination of 2 of them work?

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Emerus View Post
        The thing is, that reading the VtR 2e, (yeah forgot to mention, this is all related to 2e, both mage and vampire) the book refers to vampires as the dead a few times, but it doesnt not really describe a vampire's physiology. So even if the body died, we can't be enttirelly sure it's dead after the transformation.
        I'm pretty sure we can. It died, ceased all biological functions, and can't be considered alive more than the bodies reanimated with Quicken Corpse (Death 3).

        Originally posted by Emerus View Post
        When it comes to the Arcana, reading Death spells, (at least in the base 2e MtA book, I don't have any other supplements) the only semi-relevant spells can raise corpses and maybe transorm them into shadow, nothing more. So, if a mage were to affect something material it would definitely be through a Life or Matter spell.
        That's a faulty conclusion. Death might just as well lack example spells that deals with reanimated bodies because there's no focus on reanimated bodies in Mage core.

        Originally posted by Emerus View Post
        The question that I cannot answer though, is whether a vampire's body is considered inert matter or not. In the description of the Matter Arcanum it says: "Things which were once alive, but are no longer [...] are also governed by this Arcanum.
        The fact that Matter can be used on previously living materials (which I think refers to things like wood or leather) doesn't mean that Matter is necessary for it. All the Arcana have some overlap.

        Originally posted by Emerus View Post
        Could it be that one would need to combine all 3 Arcana (Matter + Life + Death) to affect a vampire's body? Or does a combination of 2 of them work?
        I think you're overthinking it. As far as I'm concerned it's just as simple as taking any Life spell like Hone the Form and just switch out Life for Death and call it something like Hone the Corpse. Now you can reshape the body of a vampire just like a Life mage could with the body of a living human.


        Bloodline: The Stygians
        Ordo Dracul Mysteries: Mystery of Smoke, Revised Mystery of Živa
        Mage The Awakening: Spell Quick Reference (single page and landscape for computer screens)

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Tessie View Post

          I think you're overthinking it. As far as I'm concerned it's just as simple as taking any Life spell like Hone the Form and just switch out Life for Death and call it something like Hone the Corpse. Now you can reshape the body of a vampire just like a Life mage could with the body of a living human.
          Yeah, you're probably right. I'll go for a simple solution like the one you suggested if it comes to that.

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          • #6
            Death should be able to affect and interact with Vampires, Sin-Eaters, and Mummies (I think, I'm not super familiar with Mummy) the same way Life affects and interacts with humans and Mages; they are reanimate dead and thus fall under the purview of Death.

            So healing a Vampire of bashing damage is a Death Weaving spell, and healing aggravated damage is a Death Patterning spell requiring an extra reach and a point of Mana.


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            • #7
              I don't think it should be as simple as just swapping one Arcana for another. I think that if you want to turn a vampire into a frog, that would still be a Life spell, just with Death added to account for the undead nature of Vampires. And from that i follow that healing a Vampire should be the same.

              I think of Death's power over corpses and the undead to be the result of them being between Life and Matter. Dead tissue is still tissue, although it doesn't behave like it did when it was alive. Thus, you use your undertanding of both Life and Death to make act like it once did, or to change it into something else. So, what I'm saying is that to me the entire Protean discipline would register to both Life and Death sight, for example. And replicating it's effects would require both, the same with healing.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by EW-Matias View Post
                I don't think it should be as simple as just swapping one Arcana for another. I think that if you want to turn a vampire into a frog, that would still be a Life spell, just with Death added to account for the undead nature of Vampires.
                It's Death 4 + Life 4 because it's a Patterning spell that's turning a dead thing into a living thing.

                And from that i follow that healing a Vampire should be the same.
                That does not follow.

                I think of Death's power over corpses and the undead to be the result of them being between Life and Matter. Dead tissue is still tissue, although it doesn't behave like it did when it was alive. Thus, you use your undertanding of both Life and Death to make act like it once did, or to change it into something else.
                Your understanding is flawed.

                To fix a dead thing, be it ghost or vampire, you would use the practice of Perfecting (bashing or lethal) or Patterning (lethal or aggravated) to perfect or pattern the thing under its purview into a fixed state, same as using Matter to repair a broken tool.

                You could use a Life + Death spell to give a Vampire long term natural healing, but that's giving a dead thing a living property, which is fundamentally different from simply fixing a dead thing.


                So, what I'm saying is that to me the entire Protean discipline would register to both Life and Death sight, for example. And replicating it's effects would require both, the same with healing.
                That's how it would work in Ascension, but this isn't Ascension.


                proin's Legacy hub

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                • #9
                  Ok, but why? Why is my understanding flawed? I'm not saying I'm officially correct, it's just my interpretation and metaphysical speculations with a lot up for debate, but I think it does make sense. I find your interpretation too simplistic, and that it doesn't make a whole lot of sense on the whole. Like, by how you addressed my turning a vampire into a frog example, I gather you think the frog would be a living frog? To me that makes absolutely no sense. You shouldn't be able to cure Vampirism that easily. In my example, the frog would still be a Vampire frog.

                  Perfecting a Corpse should make it more a corpse, whatever that means. If anything,it should speed its decomposition. Not closing its wounds. That's what Life does.

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                  • #10
                    There’s an example spell that can heal ghosts with Death. Vampires are another form of undead, like ghosts. Ergo, vampires can be healed with Death. Etc.

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                    • #11
                      And through other example spells we also know that Death can directly affect dead bodies without the use of Life.

                      Healing a vampire might be Perfecting if you deem them to fall under Death due to their undead nature (just like Perfecting can heal ghosts), or it might be Weaving if you deem them to fall under Death due to being dead bodies. Doesn't really matter.


                      Bloodline: The Stygians
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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by proindrakenzol View Post
                        Death should be able to affect and interact with Vampires, Sin-Eaters, and Mummies (I think, I'm not super familiar with Mummy) the same way Life affects and interacts with humans and Mages; they are reanimate dead and thus fall under the purview of Death.

                        So healing a Vampire of bashing damage is a Death Weaving spell, and healing aggravated damage is a Death Patterning spell requiring an extra reach and a point of Mana.
                        Mummy is one of the few splats that we explicitly know how they appear in Mage Sight since Princes of the Conquered Lands is a Mage/Mummy Dark Era. Mummies appear dead to Death Sight, alive to Life Sight, and appear to be both simultaneous in a way that shouldn't work (to Mages) if both Life and Death are used to view them. Notably, however, only Unveiling Death spells reveal their Sahu's true form, so just because a supernatural being resonates with multiple Mage Sights doesn't mean every Arcana can do the same things to them. Symbolism matters and mummies are symbolically dead, so usually when you go after them with Supernal magic, you'll use Death.

                        Personally, I'd play vampires in a similar way. They show up very clearly under Death Sight as being dead. Depending on the individual, blush of life, and active disciplines/devotions, they'd show some aspects of life in Life sight, but they would be incomplete and fragmentary. This is where that sidebar on pg. 91 of Mage becomes important. Individual vampires will look different under Mage Sight and that's a good thing because it generates plot hooks. Death would be appropriate for Vampires most of the time, but if a Storyteller hears a creative way of using other Arcana in a way that makes a good story, they can allow it. Mekhet may appear different in Mage Sight from Nosferatu than Pijavica than Mikhaili, and may thus be affected by Supernal magic in different ways. Hell, I'd say that you might be able to use Mind or Space on the [REDACTED] rather than Death (although you could use Death too), depending on what you wanted to do. Its a feature, not a bug.


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                        • #13
                          While Life might factor in, given the Stygian perspective, a better argument might be Matter regarding their body.


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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by EW-Matias View Post
                            Ok, but why? Why is my understanding flawed? I'm not saying I'm officially correct, it's just my interpretation and metaphysical speculations with a lot up for debate, but I think it does make sense. I find your interpretation too simplistic, and that it doesn't make a whole lot of sense on the whole. Like, by how you addressed my turning a vampire into a frog example, I gather you think the frog would be a living frog? To me that makes absolutely no sense. You shouldn't be able to cure Vampirism that easily. In my example, the frog would still be a Vampire frog.

                            Perfecting a Corpse should make it more a corpse, whatever that means. If anything,it should speed its decomposition. Not closing its wounds. That's what Life does.
                            The difference between a human and a [ALL MAJOR SPLATS CHARACTERS] is mainly in the soul (or the Vessel that contains it to be precise), that s why only archmage can "cure" this conditions.
                            A normal mage can transform a vampire in a corpse of a different shape with Death (and that is what Protean do by the level 3 description on core book), adding Life would only create a sort of persistent "Blush of life" effect (so in the example you would have a living vampire frog, with all the Discipline but also the Banes).

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                            • #15
                              Speaking of which, would a shielding of Mind be sufficient to spare them the Fog of Eternity? Would one of Fate be enough to protect them from that aspect of the curse ? Would you need to use both ? Or would you need Death and Mind to stop the entropic decay of nemory ? Would Veil of Moments also work ?


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