Necromancy

Necromancy is at once a Discipline and a school of magical learning, all dedicated toward the command of the souls of the dead. It has some similarities to Thaumaturgy in that, rather than being a strict linear progression of powers, Necromancy consists of several "paths" and accompanying "rituals." Well-trained and puissant vampiric necromancers can summon the dead, banish or imprison souls, and even reinsert ghosts into living - or unliving - bodies. Needless to say, the study of Necromancy is not widespread among the Kindred, and its practitioners - primarily Giovanni Kindred - are shunned or ignored whenever possible.

Over the centuries, the various schools of vampiric Necromancy have diversified, leaving three distinct paths of necromantic magic available to Cainites. Like Thaumaturgy, Necromancy has also spawned a series of rituals. While not nearly so immediate in effect as the basic powers of Necromancy, Necromantic rituals can have impressive long-term effects. Unsurprisingly, the elements of Necromantic ritual are things like long-buried corpses, hands from the cadavers of hanged men, and so on, and so obtaining suitable materials can be quite difficult. Scarcity of supply limits the frequency of Necromantic rituals, giving cause for many other Kindred to breathe a metaphorical sigh of relief.

System: A Cainite necromancer must learn at least three levels of his primary path before learning the first level of a secondary path. He must then achieve mastery in the primary path (five levels) before acquiring any knowledge of a third path. As with Thaumaturgy, advancement in the primary path costs the normal experience amount, while study of secondary Necromantic paths incurs different experience-point costs. Because Necromancy is not quite so rigid a study as Thaumaturgy is, the rolls required to use Necromantic powers can vary from path to path and even within individual paths.

Ash Path

The Ash Path allows necromancers to peek into the lands of the dead and even to affect things there. Of the three Paths of Necromancy, the Ash Path is the most perilous to learn, because many of the Path's uses increase a necromancer's vulnerability to wraiths.

Bone Path

The Bone Path is concerned primarily with corpses and the methods by which dead souls can be restored to the living world - temporarily or otherwise.

Cenotaph Path

Experienced Necromancers recognized that mystically compelling the dead required an extensive knowledge of the ghosts to be so commanded. Whereas many among the family content themselves with mastery of the occasional wraith and the means to affect corpses or the Underworld, more erudite practitioners looked into necromantic means to unearth locations or objects holding strong ties to the dead. Some such studies became rituals, whereas others developed into a discrete path concerned primarily with discovering or forging links between the living world and the Shadowlands.

Mortuus Path

Widely believed to be practiced by only the loathsome Giovanni, Necromancy has actually been adopted by the Harbingers of Skulls, who claim to have learned the magic of death while trapped in the Underworld. Harbingers seem to know little of the Bone or Sepulchre Paths, instead learning their own Mortuus Path and the Ash Path. Harbingers of Skulls have not been known to interact with the Giovanni, but they may have acquired some knowledge of other paths from the Samedi, with whom they share some inexplicable tie.

Sepulchre Path

This path allows the necromancer to command, interact with and combat ghosts. It is the most commonly taught path.

Vitreous Path

The Vitreous Path allows a necromancer to control and influence the energies pertaining to death, what wraiths call Oblivion. Rare in the extreme, this path manipulates entropy and decay, forces that even most necromancers are uncomfortable harnessing and sees only the most limited use even among skilled necromancers. Still, its powers make a formidable complement to other necromantic crafts, and those obsessed with mastery over death and souls – such as the Harbingers of Skulls – would certainly risk much to uncover this path's secrets. The Vitreous Path is usually their second focus of study, which at one time reflected the amount of time they spent in the Underworld.

Rituals

There are four primary schools of necromancy: African, Eastern, Western and Voudoun. On DM, we are largely concerned with the Western and Voudoun. African and Eastern Necromancy are largely unknown in the New World. Any rituals specific to a particular school of necromancy are listed within that section, otherwise, the rituals are fair game.

Giovanni Rituals

These are the ritauals practiced primarily by the Giovanni. Giovanni may learn them out of chargen and as clan disciplines. Everyone else must learn them from an IC mentor and pay out of clan costs.

Pisanob Rituals

The Pisanob necromancers among the Giovanni practice death-magic based upon the religion of the Aztecs and Mayans of Central and South America. Their integration into the Giovanni Clan results in their knowledge of Paths mirroring the Giovanni's Western paradigm but with variations in their rituals. Only those Giovanni embraced or living in NAE and practicing the NAE religion may learn these as in-clan. Everyone else must learn them as out of clan.

Voudoun Specific Rituals

These are the ritauals practiced primarily by Necromancers from the African diaspora. Samedi may learn them out of chargen and as clan disciplines. Everyone else must learn them from an IC mentor and pay out of clan costs.

Common Rituals

These rituals are common to all Necromancers and may be purchased by any school.