In Egypt's heyday, before its conversion to Christianity at the hands of the Roman Empire, magic was commonplace, practised by mortal and vampire alike. Egyptians had several words for magic; the Setites used Heka (literally "magic") to refer to mortal magic, and Ahku ("spells") for their blood magic. By the Middle Ages the practice had been nearly been wiped out, however, and was incredibly rare until the 19th century when Champollion's translation of Egyptian hieroglyphs allowed for its rediscovery.
Practitioners of Akhu are known as Lector Priests, and they believe their magical power is drawn from Set himself. Their practices are near-identical to those of mortal Egyptian sorcerers, involving images, effigies, stories, names and words. Their most important tool, however, is the blasphemy-shrine, a ritual chamber in which the lector-priest defiles the bodies and belongings of the dead in an emulation of Set's blasphemous dismemberment of his murdered brother Osiris. This perversion of traditional Egyptian burial customs unleashes power which fuels the lector-priest's spells, allowing them to perform sorcery without the expenditure of Vitae. The magic need not be performed at the shrine, but it must be maintained for the magic to work.
The sacred book of Set's lore, the Book of Going Forth by Night, contains only a few key instructions for performing Akhu. Most importantly, it details how to construct a blasphemy-shrine, and some of the rituals that can be performed on the dead and their grave goods there. It also contains rituals for creating consecrated copies of itself, for brewing sacramental blood beer, and to "open the gate", or draw directly on the power of the dead to grant energy to the lector-priest, rather than power spells. All other knowledge of Akhu is drawn from the magical lore of Egypt, preserved by the Setites.
The knowledge required to make use of Akhu is vast: not only must a lector-priest understand the Egyptian lore of death, but also know the names of hundreds of gods, seek out the proper knowledge of the ancient Egyptian language, and must honour Set at least once a month in their properly constructed blasphemy-shrine.
Recently, branches of the Clan have tried to adapt Akhu for their own mythologies by drawing on mystic parallels of a primordial confrontation between rival gods within different mythologies. One example of such an adaptation is the confrontation between Loki (in the role of Set) and Baldur (in role of Osiris).
The following paths are mostly unique to Akhu, however, variations of some of these paths might be found among other small thaumaturgical traditions:
The path allows the practitioner to deal with sympathetic magic. What the magician does to a model of an object or person, happens to that object or individual too.
- Hand of Ptah: Remotely damage or repair to an object of 200 lbs or less
- Hand of Khnum: Remotely damage or repair an animal, mortal, or objects of 1000 lbs or less
- Hand of Anubis: Remotely damage or repair corporeal supernatural creatures or objects of 5,000 lbs or less
- Hand of Thoth: Remotely damage or repair incorporeal supernatural creatures or objects of 20,000 lbs or less
- Hand of Heka: Remotely apply a Discipline or other magical power to creatures or damage or repair objects of 100,000 lbs or less
Immanence of Set
The path allows the practitioner to commune with the essence of Set and use some of their god's abilities.
- Whispers of the Sands: Communicate remotely with one's childer or ghouls.
- Tongue of the Tempter: Cause a subject to reveal a secret fear or desire.
- Voice of the Prophet: Deliver a cryptic message that speaks to a listener's deepest desires.
- Lord of Storms: Summon a sandstorm or thunderstorm.
- Dark Invocation: Place a protective curse on an object or place.
Path of Duat
The path allows the practicioner to conjure the attributes of the Egyptian netherworld, and inflicts them upon an enemy through hypnotic means.
- A Sending of Serpents: Cause a target to hallucinate being attacked by snakes.
- Darkness of Duat: Blind a subject.
- Suffocation of the Tomb: Render victim unable to speak or breathe.
- The Narrow House: Paralyze a target.
- Consignment to Duat: Slay a mortal or put a vampire into torpor.
Path of the Dry Nile
- Beauty Fades: Cause a work of art to cause revulsion in those who view it.
- Trust Withers: Target begins to believe a friend or ally is planning to betray him.
- Love Dies: Destroy a subject's feelings of love for another.
- Hope Dissolves: Cause a subject to become depressed, believing their goals cannot be obtained.
- Thrones Crumble: Create mistrust and hostility in a subject towards a figure of authority.
Revelations of Duat
- Sight of the Jackal: Become aware of wraiths around you
- Weigh the Virtues: Learn about crimes or heroic deeds of a dead or undead
- Pharaoh's Sentry: Bind a fragment of a wraith into a corpse to act out one single command.
- Imbue with the Grace of Anubis: Reanimate a corpse and imbue it with a singular purpose tied to its virtuous or villainous deeds
- The Sorcery of Life: A toned-down version of the Bane Rite, the sorcerer creates a sort of proto-Bane Mummy
Revelations of Eden
- Remove one point of temporary Willpower from the victim, and one dot from their Willpower rating.
- From the victim remove one point of temporary Willpower, and one dot from their Morality rating.
- From the victim remove one point of temporary Willpower, and one dot from their Self-Control/Instinct
- From the victim remove one point of temporary Willpower, and choose their new Demeanor.
- From the victim remove one point of temporary Willpower, and choose their new Nature.
Revelations of Midgard
The path allows the practitioner to draw on their inner faith, and with it bolster their ghouls, beasts, and mortal servants.
- Bestowment of Scales: Heal a ghoul faster by growing scaled skin across their wounds
- Suffer for Jörmungandr: Grant a ghoul reptilian features
- Swallow the Tail: Draw shed blood from your surroundings to you
- Cycle of the Midgard Serpent: Grant a ghoul the ability to use your disciplines
- Apep's Transformation: Transform a ghoul of yours into a great serpent capable of understanding human speech
- First Taste: Create a pleasurable association with a minor, repetitive action.
- Cross-Addiction: Temporarily change what an addict is fixated on.
- The Jones: Remove a subject's inhibitions from indulging their addiction.
- Fatal Compulsion: Cause a target to suffer harm from not indulging their addiction.
- Temperance: Render subject unable to draw pleasure from their addiction.
Soul of the Serpent
The path allows the practitioner to embody the perfection of the serpent's form.
- Serpentine Sense: Gain ability to identify poisons and see in darkness.
- Scaleskin: Make one's body incredibly flexible.
- Venom Curse: Turn one's blood into a poison that blinds.
- Touch of Typhon: Transform one's arm into a venomous snake.
- Form of the Hydra: Transform into a mass of snakes nearly impossible to destroy.
The path allows the practitioner to create his own servants using Ushabti figurines.
- Laborer: Create a simple servant for manual labor.
- Servitor: Create a mildly intelligent servant.
- Guard: Create a servant capable of combat.
- Overseer: Create a skilled servant that can supervise others.
- Gift of Khnum: Create a servant that thinks for itself but is utterly loyal.
In addition to the Paths described above, lector-priests know many other Paths also used by other Thaumaturges, though they are known by different names and practiced in the very particular Akhu style. These paths have nothing in common but their effects and, in most cases, the Setite path is actually older than those created by the Tremere. Where names differ, the Thaumaturgical name is listed along with the reference.
Similar to the homonymous path.
Path of Ptah
Similar to the Path of Conjuring.
The False Heart
Similar to the Path of Corruption.
Similar to the Path of Curses.
Path of Thoth
Similar to Focused Mind.
Valor of Sutekh
Similar to the Path of Mars.
Vengeance of Khnum
Similar to Mastery of the Mortal Shell.
Path of Anubis
Similar to Spirit Manipulation.
The Breath of Set
Similar to Weather Control.
Whisper of Quiet Stone
Similar to Elemental Mastery.
- Main article: List of Akhu Rituals
Similar to regular Thaumaturgy, Akhu has several rituals that can be used to achieve static effects. Most of them draw on traditional Egyptian practices.
^ Divine Hand
|Divine Hand||Blood Sacrifice: The Thaumaturgy Companion||Pg. 25-26|
^ The Immanence of Set
|The Immanence of Set||Libellus Sanguinis 3: Wolves at the Door||Pg. 105-106|
^ Path of Duat
|Divine Hand||Blood Sacrifice: The Thaumaturgy Companion||Pg. 26-27|
^ Path of the Dry Nile
|Path of the Dry Nile||Blood Magic: Secrets of Thaumaturgy||Pg. 116-117|
^ Revelations of Duat
|Revelations of Duat||Tome of Secrets||Pg. 62-64|
^ Revelations of Eden
|Revelations of Eden||Tome of Secrets||Pg. 64|
^ Revelations of Midgard
|Revelations of Midgard||Tome of Secrets||Pg. 65-67|
^ The Snake Inside
|The Snake Inside||Blood Magic: Secrets of Thaumaturgy||Pg. 116|
|The Snake Inside||Blood Sacrifice: The Thaumaturgy Companion||Pg. 14|
^ Soul of the Serpent
|Soul of the Serpent||Cairo by Night||Pg. 88|
|Ushabti||Blood Sacrifice: The Thaumaturgy Companion||Pg. 27-28|
|Vampire: The Masquerade Disciplines pre-V5:|
|Abombwe · Animalism · Auspex · Bardo · Celerity · Chimerstry · Daimonion · Dementation · Dominate · Flight · Fortitude · Melpominee · Mytherceria · Obeah · Obfuscate · Obtenebration · Potence · Presence · Protean · Quietus · Sanguinus · Serpentis · Spiritus · Temporis · Thanatosis · Valeren · Vicissitude · Visceratika|
|Blood Sorcery pre-V5:||Abyss Mysticism · Akhu · Countermagic, Thaumaturgical · Dur-An-Ki · Mortis · Nahuallotl · Voudoun Necromancy · Western Necromancy · Ogham · Sadhana · Sihr · Thaumaturgy · Dark Thaumaturgy · Sielanic Thaumaturgy · Assamite Sorcery · Anarch Sorcery · Koldunic Sorcery · Setite Sorcery · Wanga|
|V5||Animalism · Auspex · Blood Sorcery · Celerity · Dominate · Fortitude · Obfuscate · Oblivion · Potence · Presence · Protean · Thin-Blood Alchemy|
|Defunct:||Deimos · Kai · Kineticism · Maleficia · Nihilistics · Rift · Striga|