Umbra Animae (Shadow of the Soul)
Welcome, Magus, to the third of my tomes on the Art of Abyssal Thaumaturgy, and perhaps the most arcane I have penned thus far. Though my previous two works, Libro Excitus Tenebrae and Nihil Pernire Infinita were very much about the manipulation of the Abyss as it interacts with the outside world, this volume contains arts that shape the Abyss as it pertains to the Kindred soul, both those of others, and for the truly dedicated, that of the Magus. Some of these sacraments are dangerous or morally dubios, so as always I caution any Magus to consider carefully before enacting such ries.
0 Ripples on the Void
The Magic of the Abyss is not native to this world, no matter how effortlessly a Magus may call it from the Void Beyond. Such unnatural magics linger in that which they touch. This ritual allows a Magus to detect the working of Abyssal magics, specifically Abyss Mysticism of Abyssal Thaumaturgy, but even the Discipline power of Obtenebration leave marks that may be detected by a skilled Magus.
System: To enact this ritual the Magus must simply spent a turn meditating on the Abyss. They then roll Intelligence+Occult, difficulty 4, while chanting phrases of seeking and revealing in Ancient Persian, which creates an echo of Abyssal magic, which 'pings' on other uses of such powers within 10 yards per dot the Magus has in Obtenebration. The caster can detect power used up to one night ago for every success scored on the casting roll.
Side Effect: A Magus who has used this ritual is a little more open to the void than most are for the remainder of the night. As a result, anyone attempting to find them using Auspex or similar powers is at -1 difficulty.
00 Shadows on a Tranquil Pond
This insidious power makes use of the relative obscurity of Abyss mysticism and the relatively well known fact that Diablerie leaves black veins staining the soul. One must acquire some link to the target, as per sympathetic magic rules, which modifies the difficulty as normal. Once this ritual is enacted, however, those observing the target with Aura Sight will find their soul stained in manner almost indistinguishable from Diablerie, which may cause the Elders to put some very pointed questions to them about their activities.
System: This ritual requires the caster to have a sympathetic link to the target, which influence the difficulty as normal. Once a link has been acquired, the magus must either coat the link in their own Vitae, or mix it with t point of the targets if the link is vitae. Once this is done, the caster makes a casting roll (Intelligence+Occult against a difficulty equal to the targets current willpower). If at least one success is scored, the object absorbs the vitae and vanishes into the Abyss. If it vails the blood burns with a black fire and the link is destroyed. If successful, however, the target will have the black stains of Diablerie on their Aura for one night per success. Anyone with the Occult Specialty Abyss Mysticism or Abyssal Thaumaturgy may detect the Abyssal undertones created by this ritual, and so suspect something unusual. Anyone who can cast this ritual automatically recognises its effects.
Side Effects: The Abyss always enacts a price. Each time you use this ritual on a single target after the first, your soul becomes stained in the same way, increasing every time you do so. For example, the second time you use this on a target, your soul becomes stained in the same way for a night, the third time it will be stained for two, so on, and so forth.
000 Drink Deep of the Fathomless Depths
This ritual draws upon the power of the Abyss to permanently empower the Mystic, at a terrible cost. By way of the ritual the mystic may permanently alter the properties of the curse of Caine, making all Obtenebration effects easier, but at the cost of the instinctive understanding of one of the clan's disciplines.
System: This ritual must take place on the night of a Dark Moon, with a cloud covered sky, as close to pitch darkness as can be observed. The ritual consists first of spending five points of blood per dot of Obtenebration, which will likely require consuming blood in the middle of the ritual for all but the most powerful kindred. This blood is spend inscribing one ring of runes describing the Mystics skills and powers for each dot of Obtenebration the Mystic has mastered. Once these rings have been inscribed, the caster kneels in silent contemplation of the powers of the abyss, and their connection to it, and their desire to master greater powers. At the end of each hour of contemplation they make a casting roll (Intelligence+Occult), at difficulty 6, and must accumulate one success per point of blood spent. They may do this as many times as they wish, until sunrise forces them to abandon the effort, or they succeed. If the mystic succeeds, the rings of blood turn into the shadows unique to the abyss and slither together into a pool of darkness in front of the mystic. They mystic must then bend forwards and drink from the pool, inflicting one level of aggravated damage onto the Mystic as the shadows sear his soul. This ritual has two effects: First, the difficulty of all Obtenebration and Abyss Mysticism rolls are permanently reduced by 1. Secondly, the Abyss Mystic gains the Merit Controllable Night sight as they take the shadows within them.
Side Effect: Any Mystic who successfully casts this ritual sacrifices the ease with which they acquire one of their in-clan disciplines (but never Obtenebration). For example a Lasombra using this ritual might sacrifice the ease with which they learn Potence, making it an out of clan discipline, thereafter paying out of clan costs to raise the discipline. Additionally, the caster must have at least as many dots in Obtenebration as they have in the Discipline to be sacrificed.
0000 Abyssal Reinforcement
This powerful ritual creates a semi-permanent defence for the Mystic, providing a potent defence against most forms of attack by reinforcing the Mystics body with Abyssal power bound to the mystic's soul
System: The Mystic rolls Intelligence+Occult, difficulty 7. Each success gives the character 1 point of armour against Bashing, Lethal, and Aggravated damage that doesn't come from fire or sunlight. The Mystic may not have more points of armour from this power than they have dots in Obtenebration. The armour lasts indefinitely, but each night the Mystic rises with the Ritual still in effect, they must pay a point of blood for each level of armour provided by this ritual.
Side Effect: Maintaining this ritual for more successive nights than the Magus' has points in their Path of Morality will cause their blood to forever be stained an inky black colour.
00000 No Shadow but the Endless Abyss
This dangerous ritual risks the very sanity of the Magus, but some might argue that such a risk is worth the rewards this potent rite offers. This ritual may only be used once, but its effects are permanent, and few would want to take such a risk a second time anyway.
System: The magus must first spend three points of blood per do of Obtenebration they have, which may require feeding part way through, depending on the generation of the Magus, all the while offering prayers to Ahriman in Ancient Persian. The Magus then rolls willpower against a difficulty of 4 as the God of Darkness ravages his soul in a test of his worthiness. Each success allows them to keep a dot of permanent willpower, while a botch adds a lasting derangement of the appropriate type which must be bought off by spending a 3 points of willpower for each point of willpower lost to this ritual. After that, the Magus makes a casting roll of Intelligence+Occult, difficulty 8, requiring a number of successes greater than the amount of willpower points lost, if any, and requiring at least one success regardless. Botching this part of the casting roll will cause the magus to lose one dot of willpower per 1 rolled. If successful, however, the magus gains a potent benefit, deepening their connection to the abyss, thereafter gaining a free automatic success on every Obtenebration, Abyss Mysticism, or Abyssal Thaumaturgy roll, as if they had spent a point of willpower. This works even if the character is unable to spend willpower for some reason, and willpower may be spent to add another automatic success if so desired. The only exception to this is that the extra success is only added if the roll already had at least one success. The Abyss does not reward failure.
Side Effect: Forever after using this ritual the eyes of the caster are forevermore tiny windows to the Abyss which now sufses their soul, which do not hinder vision, but add 1 to the difficulty of all friendly social rolls with mortals, and a sure breach of the masquerade.