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Veneficia [Variant, Blood Sorcery rules]

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  • Veneficia [Variant, Blood Sorcery rules]

    Blood Sorcery- Venefica

    The old magic of the Cult of Augurs is an interesting power. From one side, it relays on the mystical energies of the Beast in order to work. On the other, the ancient bargains between the gods and Rome were made with the Man, not the beasts. While most believe it to just be a "civilized" version of Curac with some Greco-Roman aesthetics, Veneficia is more then that- it is found inside the inner balance between the vampire's humanity and curse. The complicated rituals act like a prison for the Beast, taming it, guiding it and using it under the mask of the Man. That is the only way to work that magic- blood is the payment, and the ritual is the bargain. The one to be payed to is unknown, and not relevant. While most believe that the Dii Consentes are the power behind that magic, one does not need to be a faithful of those gods in order to invoke their magic. It is the ritual which is important, and as long as the pacts are honored, faith means nothing.

    Limitations

    Veneficia requires the Beast to work- but it must be a tamed Beast. Give it too much freedom, and it would not stand on its own end of the rite. As such, in order to use Veneficia the most effectively, one must be in perfect balance with her Beast- not strangling it too much that it can't work its magic, and neither let it run free and loose any semblance of humanity. In order for the character to use the highest rituals (5 dots rites), she must have Humanity at 5 dots. Any dot above or below that score limits the highest rating of rites she can accesses by 1.

    The Sacrifice

    Blood the the currency used to pay for the miracles given by the gods- but you can't just spill it. You need to do it in a certain way, or else the gods will be offended and not accept the payment. In order to power the rites, the character must expand a single Vitae. In addition, the ritual must be done properly- that means making a complicated ceremony. The more powerful is the rite, a more complicated ceremony is needed. Below is an example table for possible ceremonies according to the rite dot rating-

    1- a simple chant, a sacrament of easily found regents which require Resources 1 or above, requires an easily available place
    2- a five minute chant, a sacrament of regents which need Resources 2 to get, a grouped prayer of 3 or more participates, an event which happens daily, requires the place to be prepared especially for the ritual.
    3- a 10 minute chant, a sacrament of rare regents which require Resources of 3 and above, a group prayer of 5 participates, an event which happens weekly, requires a place which need to be especially built in advance.
    4- a 30 minute chant, a sacrament made from regents which require Resources 4 or above, a group prayer of 10 participates, an event which happens monthly, a place which is not easily available
    5- an hour long chant, a sacrament requiring 5 dots in Resources, a group prayer of 20 participates, an event which happens yearly, a specific place or city.

    if the ritual is bought and not improvised, the character may buy a number of different version of the same ritual, each requiring a different ceremony. The ceremonies always include the use of the Vitae, one way or another.

    Motifs
    Veneficia is Occult- the magics of the Prophets are complicated and logical, almost scientific. They require an long study and understanding of each part of the ritual. It is not just chanting some words in Latin and throwing some salt to the fire- it is knowing that the words you whisper are meant to open your eyes to the mysteries of of the universe, and that the salt and the fire are a representation of ages old event. When the Prophet preforms the ceremony, she knows exactly what she is doing, and feel its in her bones that the bargain is fulfilled as it was meant to.
    Veneficia is Subtle- when preformed, everyone can feel that something is hidden below the surface. Like a movement under a still, dark water, the magic works below the ritual, in a place where the senses of humans (and vampires) can't penetrate- but they still know it's there. There are no flashes of light or ephemeral hallucinations when the ritual is preformed, only a disturbing feeling that something happens, even if you are not sure how it does, or what was the force which made the ritual work. Sometimes, both the witnesses and the Prophet suffer from nightmares after the ceremonies, and while they don't usually remember what happened, they know what was their source.
    Veneficia is Sacred- that is, in the same way a promise or a vow are. The ceremonies are important, for they carry ages old pacts, bargains, promises and vows between the mundane and the divine. It is rude to just pray to the gods- everything must be done in the respected way if you wish the gods to answer. It is a vow, a contract, a marriage between the Dii and their Prophet. Break the ritual, and you break each and every connection between you and the gods.


    Themes

    Divination- true to their name, the Cult of Augurs are able to see through space and time by gaining the sight of the gods and the touch of the Fates. Being one of the Favored Themes of the Discipline, most Prophets use it to guide their clients. While charlatans usually cheat and tell people what they want to hear, the Prophets know that what needs to be said must be said. It is the source of the Cult's power, for all agree that their word is sacred and that the gods speak through them. By saying the right prophesy, nations could either rise or fall, and if too many false prophesies would be told, the group would loose their grip upon Rome's heart.

    Protection- the old bargains between Rome and her Gods were made, first and foremost, to protect the Empire and its people and help them prosper. Another Favored Theme, the Cult knows that it is their job to make sure that both the gods and the citizens are happy. Without an empire to rule, the Prophets would have nothing- and so they appease the manes, ward against the lemurs, commune with the lares and tend the Genii. By invoking the might of the greatest Dii, the Prophet may be able to destroy hundreds of souls or change water into blood, but it is the little gods which maintain the empire- and the ones who may make it to fall.

    Transmutation- the gods of Rome take and shed their form as easily as a cloud, and by invoking their mercurial nature the prophet can change reality like they do. Nothing is constant, as it was said in the Metamorphoses. The Man, the Beast and the Divine all mix and flow from each other, wearing different masks each time they do so. When the Prophets needs to convince the masses of their strength when their prophesies fail, they usually turn to those kind of miracles, showing them that they share some of the Dii's divine nature. Other popular use for that Theme is curses- following the footsteps of their gods, they know that the best punishment is taking someone's form from him. Some whisper that the Cult has hidden cages, holding in sentence hundreds of vampires who were stupid enough to mock them. The Cult from its side, never support those rumors- but neither deny them.

    Destruction- the Prophets are careful when using that Theme. Like Transmutation, it requires the Prophet to call down the great gods for their side. Unlike the former, it asks the blessing of a specific god for each ritual. Lightning from Zeus. Fire from Vulcan. Flood from Neptune. Asking the gods to their help in such a balant way while is not forbidden, but still is seen as a rude act. After preforming such a ceremony, the prophet is expected to pray for that god and give it a sacrifice to show her thanks without regarding the ceremony itself. Those who use it too many time without restrain are seen as a threat by the rest of the Cult- such a careless behavior doesn't go hand with hand together with the nature of their magic, and may be a sign that their Beast is out of control. As long as they don't break the rules, nothing is done against them- but if they'll do, being exiled and branded as a witch is the best case scenario for them.

    Creation- the gods don't make something out of nothing. Instead, they change and transform things into a new shape. For that reason, the powers of creation don't come from the gods, but from an older place.. from the Titans. This is why most Prophets are scared from those ceremonies even more then the ones used for Destruction. Even the simplest rites require the essence of the sleeping giants or opening a gate to Tartarus. Using those primal, elemental powers is an act one must not do lightly, for the wrath of the Titans is said to be worse then that of the Dii. Those ceremonies are also usually a lot more wild then the rest of the rituals, for the Titans are so vast that they usually don't even notice the Prophet without a ritual interesting enough.


    so- thoughts and suggestions?

    EDIT- fixed some spelling and grammar issues
    Last edited by LostLight; 02-24-2015, 07:25 AM.


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  • #2
    I love the idea and actually might borrow it for Vampire game I am running. Do you have any examples of powers?

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    • #3
      Glad you liked it! About example powers, I assume that all the rituals from Requiem for Rome and Fall of the Camarillia should work just fine. Apollonian Sight would be the core ritual for the Divination theme, for example. The Blessing of Antaeus is a good Protection ritual. Hydra's Vitae could be treated as Transformation ritual, while the Call of X (where X is a god) rites could be interpreted as either Protection or Transformation (I prefer the former, but it is is the player and the ST's decision). Jupiter's Wrath and the Arrow of Tartarus are Destruction rituals (although the later should get its name changed under the new paradigm- Creation is for the Titans, not Destruction. I assume that the Arrow of Mors could work). A Creation ritual would be something like enhancing the growth of a Mandagora (call it maybe Blight Upon Tellus or something like that) or Child of Echidna (which would create an homunculus out of your own blood). Fan made Protection rituals would be Gifts of the Lares which would reinforces structures and roads or Ward of Hecate which would stop beings in Twilight form from entering a certain place (including Astral Projections).

      Hope it helped, and if you want some more example rituals just ask


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      • #4
        Thank you for the examples I am looking forward to bringing it in to my game. Would you think that it would be able to be used in a modern setting, I think that it would present something of an interesting story hook if this long lost Blood Sorcerery were to reappear.

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        • #5
          modern Veneficia? Well, let's see...

          a) Veneficia is all about the ritual. While the balance in the soul of the vampire is important, the least of the rituals could be preformed by most of the vampires. From time to time, in the most ancient libraries of the Ordo Dracul, one could find a book documenting those rites. On other times, an Acolyte finds a ritual she should, be all means, be able to preform- yet it fails, and so she starts to research it in order to find why, until reaching the necessary inner peace. While the Sanctified usually burn heresies, in the oldest catacombs of Rome certain books of the Cult of Augurs are found, a relic from the times in which the Lancea et Sanctum learned the magic of their foes in order to defeat them. All it requires is one weak willed kindred to betray his Church to learn those powerful ceremonies.

          b) As far as most people are concerned, the Cult of Augurs is dead. Its believers have either burned by the Church or converted to the Circle, losing their harsh ceremonies in exchange for the more primal Curac. When an ancient vampire, a Methuselah no less, rise from her grave and claim herself as the last leader of the Cult before its fall, most claim her to be crazy. Then, she preforms complicated rituals which can compete with the dark miracles and chaotic sorceries of the two other Covenants, people start to believe her. She see both the Curac and the Theban Sorcery as forms of primitive forms of her magic, and she founds a new group under the name of Cybele- one to renew the old -power of the Cult and reestablish the fallen Camarilla. She claim that she saw the future, and that all her enemies would burn in fire like she did. Would you follow her vision? Would you make sure it won't happen?

          c) Veneficia was an old tradition, and old traditions don't die easily. While Rome has fallen, Greece may have hidden its secrets from the zealot Church of the Damn. In Athene, the Polis Erebus, one could find the Kataramenon, the Church in Exile. Their faith may be inspired from the Orthodox Church, but it has deeper roots, going up to the cult of Apollo and Delphi.They are both diviners and plaguebearers, advisers and exiles. They have fought the Circle of the Crone for long time, since the days the Gaul practiced Curac and they used a more "tamed" version of Blood Sorcery. Some of them even believe that their magic is no different then the one of the Sanctified- and no with members of the Lance to correct them, they could never know they are wrong.

          d) What is blood sorcery? What is magic? Does it come from the gods or from the vampires? Theban Sorcery may be the practice of the Lancea et Sanctum tonight, but the vampires of ancient Egypt has used it to fight the demons of the Underworld many years before the Jewish carpenter was born. Curac may be claimed to be the magic of the Great Mother, but Gauls and Celts have practiced those wild rituals while Rome still stood, and the strixs practice it as a natural extension of their abilities. What about the gods of Rome? While you may claim that they died with the Empire, it is not that simple. They were formless and invisible divinities, parasitic entities who feed upon the life of other gods, masks who are used to cover an idea or a system of faith in order to strength themselves. Rome may be fallen, but other empires rise in its place. Still, with so many great powers, it looked like no other empire could be compared to the legendary Rome- but it all changed. After the fall of the Soviet Union, the United States has remained as the one and true empire. Its agenda is capitalism, where unknown powers regulate the Market and make the state to grow and prosper. It gods are Liberty and Equality, while people worship and die in the name of those values. The gods of Rome are live and well- they just took new masks for themselves. Veneficia is the magic of empires, and as long as the gods are appeased the old magic may work again. The ceremonies may look different, but the power is all the same.

          hope it helped
          Last edited by LostLight; 03-06-2015, 09:52 AM.


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          • #6
            An excellent job!!!!!


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            • #7
              I'm glad you like it


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              • #8
                Just discovered I've forgot to list the Attributes needed to the rolls. Because of the scientific nature of the rituals, use Mental Attributes.


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