Just as there are different styles of conventional blood sorcery, there are a variety of Necromancy practices. It is primarily practised by the Giovanni clan and the Samedi, Harbingers of Skulls, and Nagaraja bloodlines. The blood magic style itself could be said to be an evolution and fusion of the Cappadocians' earlier discipline of Mortis (as written up in the revised Dark Ages: Vampire setting) and the Giovanni's trademark "Nigrimancy".
While there are several "schools" of Necromancy, the foremost in the Western World is the art that draws inspiration from Classical Rome and Greece. During this time, Necromancy was not seen as inherently evil, as long as the necromancer would refrain from forcing the spirits of the dead to do his bidding and would use their arts for good ends. With the advent of Christianity, the earliest necromancers would syncretize the Roman and Greek arts with the new christian worldview. Even tonight, Classical mythology and the imagery of figures like Hades and Cerberus resonate with many rituals used by necromancers. During the Dark Ages, vampires believed that Necromancy showed God's disfavour by placing them between the realms of the dead and the living, without belonging to either. As a drawback, use of Necromancy tends to poison the world around it. Effects called Sequelae form in the aftermath. The strength of a Sequela depends on how often Necromancy has been used in the location and how potent its application was. Effects of Sequelae include the stunted growth of plants, lower fertility in mammals as well as harder births, visible marks of death on the practitioner (including corpse smell and a rotting visage) and a slow weakening of the Shroud that allows wraiths easier access to the world of the living.
In the Modern Nights, Necromancy is divided into two parts that further cemented themselves in the third century: The Principle of Authority and the Principle of Taboo. Authority was developed with reference on the cosmology of Iamblichus, which classified gods, demons, and similar entities into a single hierarchy of beings that could be manipulated through the right use of symbols and cultic practices. As the ghosts of the dead occupied a lower place than the living, a necromancer could force these creatures to his bidding, as God had given Adam and Eve dominion over the world. For these necromancers, wraiths were as much resources as wood and grain. Necromancers of this strain emphasize purity, chasteness, preciseness and the use of objects with symbolic connotations to authority and enslavement.
Taboo, on the contrary, does not rely on rules, but on the overstepping of them. Taboo-breaking necromancy posits that the rules of a society have mystical properties that draw from the persons that observe them. Deliberately breaking these rules gives the necromancer power. The more sacrosanct the rule is, the more power can be gained from breaking it. Since the contact with human remains was among the greatest taboos in the Western World, necromancers focused on bodily remains of the dead. Necromancers of this strain emphasize the use of objects that arouse disgust in the living (rotten flesh, maggots, grave dust and similar things), as well as objects that are associated with concepts that are thought separate from death (youth, fertility, pleasure). Acts like necrophilia are then used to break the Taboo and power the practice.
The Principles of Authority and Taboo are very difficult to use conjointly. Most necromancers focus on one approach.
Standard Paths and AbilitiesEdit
Necromancy paths, similar to their Thaumaturgy counterparts, are collections of reliable powers which revolve around a particular aspect of the dead. Among the Giovanni (and thus the majority of Kindred necromancers) the Sepulchre Path is the primary path that most practitioners learn. Subsequent releases in the Revised setting added various rituals and a handful of additional paths as well.
This path allows the necromancer to command, interact with and combat ghosts.
- Insight: see the last moment's of a corpses life.
- Summon Soul: summons a wraith.
- Compel Soul: force a wraith to do your bidding.
- Haunting: binds a wraith to a location or object.
- Torment: damages a spirit.
This path allows the necromancer to animate and control the dead corpses of animals and people, letting him/her create zombies of a sort.
- Tremenes: making the flesh of a corpse shift once
- Apprentice's Brooms: allowing the dead to rise and perform simple functions like lifting a heavy box.
- Shambling Hordes: allows the dead to rise and perform attacks.
- Soul Stealing: remove one soul from its body.
- Daemonic Possession: place a soul in a fresh corpse.
- Shroudsight: allows you to see into the Shadowlands
- Lifeless Tongues: allows you to speak with the dead in any language
- Dead Hand: allows to you reach into the Shadowlands and touch objects there
- Ex Nihilo: allows you to enter the Shadowlands
- Shroud Mastery: allows you to strengthen or weaken the Shroud rating in an area
Bloodline and Specialty Paths and AbilitiesEdit
Below are some Speciality Paths of Necromancy detailed. Each of these Paths is a closely guarded secret among its associated bloodlines, who are usually not forthcoming with teaching their treasured art.
The proprietary path of the Nagaraja, it allows for more refined control over wraiths than even the Sepulchre Path; a master of the path may gain sustenance from them. It was introduced in Vampire Storytellers Handbook Revised as a replacement for the Nihilistics Discipline.
The Vitreous path was originally quite stripped down compared to Nihilistics, removing the powers that focused on harnessing Oblivion energy to focus exclusively on sensing and manipulating Wraiths. The V20 revision altered the path to more closely emulate Nihilistics, the main difference being that the 2nd and 3rd level powers were switched.
- Hour of Death: (Rev) Grants the necromancer Deathsight of his own which can be used to determine nearness of death or diagnose illness
- Aura of Decay: (V20) Infect an object with the taint of Oblivion
- Soul Judgment: (Rev) Determine if a Wraith is controlled by his Shadow
- Soul Feast: (V20) Consume the energy of a Wraith as a substitute for blood
- Breath of Thanatos: Release necrotic energy as a deadly weapon
- Soul Feasting: (Rev) Consume the energy of a Wraith as a substitute for blood
- Nightcry: (V20) Summon creatures from the Shadowlands
- Touch of Death: Sense the recent presence of wraiths
- Reveal the Catene: Allows the Vampire to identify if an object is a fetter
- Tread Upon The Grave: Sense the strength of the local Shroud
- Death Knell: The necromancer can sense deaths that occur near him
- Ephemeral Binding: Create artificial fetters
Path of AbomboEdit
Path of WoeEdit
This Path is the province of the Rosselini family within Clan Giovanni. While the Giovanni prefer the subtlety of the Sepulchre Path, most Rosselini instead focus directly on dominating and breaking their victims.
- Finding the Locus: Determine if an object is a fetter
- Expurgate the Damned: Force a Wraith to appear at a location the necromancer has marked before
- Blood Scourge: Use your vitae to cause a wraith excruciating pain
- Cursed Eucharist: The necromancer can try to feed from a Wraith to regain Willpower
- Purge the Apostate’s Soul: Deal aggravated damage to a wraith, producing a puddle of plasm
- Tend the Body Garden: Manipulate the rate at which a corpse decomposes
- Witch's Fruit: Enchant fruits to allow a target to see into the Shadowlands
- Raise the Green One Raise a corpse enhanced by plants
- Wails and Whispers: Fasten or slow a soul's descent into the Underworld by either screaming or whispering at it
- Chthonic Womb: Birth a wraith servant from a person you have drained dry
Path of HauntingEdit
A path practiced by the Maeghar and also pioneered by Giovanni during their time as a bloodline of the Cappadocians. It revolves around the ephemeral nature of the Shadowlands and the fascination associated with death.
- Destroy the Husk - Turns a corpse into a pile of ashes
- Rigor Mortis - Allows the Kindred to cause rigor mortis in mortal or undead bodies
- Wither - Allows the Kindred to cripple an opponent's limb whether they are undead or mortal. The muscles shrivel up, the bones get brittle, the skin peels, etc
- Corrupt the Undead Flesh - This ability causes the victim to be stricken with a horrible plague. Mortal victims of this ability are highly contagious and easily spread the disease to other mortals and to vampires if their blood is taken. Kindred have a harder time spreading the disease but are affected by the weakness it causes all the same
- Dissolve the Flesh - An expansion upon the level one ability, this ability allows the Kindred to turn vampiric flesh to ash
Corpse in the MonsterEdit
- Masque of Death - Allows the Kindred to turn his/her body into a corpse-like state
- Cold of the Grave - The Kindred enters a state of death where in they can temporarily feel no emotional or physical pain
- Curse of Life - The user causes a vampire to feel destructive aspects of his/her previous life, such as hunger, thirst, etc
- Gift of the Corpse - Although it lasts for only a brief period of time, this ability removes the inherent weaknesses of a vampire, such as vulnerability to sunlight, fire, etc
- Gift of Life - This ability transforms the Kindred into an assemblance of their former self. They lose their vampire weaknesses and gain the ability to eat, drink, etc
Path of SkullsEdit
A nearly extinct Path that was the purview of a secretive cabal of Cappadocians intending to strengthen the political power of the Clan
- Calvaria Emissius: See through the eyes of a prepared skull
- Consilium Mortuus: Draw upon the memories of a severed head
- Ammorsus Vicarius: Animate a skull to bite attackers
- Exedo Animus: Place a memory of a skull into your own mind
- Degulo: Devour a small part of a deceased person's soul to gain a skill, knowledge or ability in exchange for sacrificing one of yours
Path of the Twilight GardenEdit
- Whispers to the Soul - Releases a wisp of bilious humour into the ear of a victim to whisper nightmares to him as he sleeps or fearful imaginings when he is awake
- Kiss of the Dark Mother - Concoct a toxic substitute for saliva that makes a bite even more deadly
- Dark Humours - Secrete a tainted version of one of the four bodily humors that serve different functions depending on the humor invoked Phlegmatic: Induces lethargy in a victim. Melancholy: Induces visions of death. Sanguine: Induces excessive bleeding in a victim. Bilious: Becomes a deadly toxin.
- Clutching the Shroud - Draw closer to death, toughening the unliving body, granting knowledge of coming death in nearby mortals and bestowing the ability to see the dead
- Black Breath - Expel a miasmic black cloud that chokes everyone around with malaise and depression
- Main article: List of Necromancy Rituals
Similar to Thaumaturgy, Necromancy has several Rituals that can be used to achieve static effects.
Official Abilities (Defunct)Edit
- Insight: (1st/2nd/VTDA) Allows recall of the last thing glimpsed by a corpse
- Summon Spirit: (1st/2nd/VTDA) Allows a necromancer to summon a wraith
- Compel: (1st/2nd) Compels a wraith to obey a necromancer's commands
- Corporeal Home: (VTDA) Traps a wraith inside a container
- Haunting: (1st/2nd) Ties a wraith to a location in the Shadowlands
- Soul Stealing: (1st/2nd) Turns a mortal into a wraith temporarily, leaving his body as a fetter
- Zombie: Animates a corpse through the insertion of a Drone into the shell
- Torment: Allows a vampire to strike a wraith physically and do normal damage
- Severing the Ties of Death: Traps a wraith inside an object, preventing them from being affected from the Shadowlands
- Soul Exchange: Permits the exchange of spirits between bodies
- Possession: Temporarily places a wraith in command of a freshly dead corpse
- Inurement: prepares a fetter in order to become a wraith if faced with Final Death
- Death Pact: Lets a mortal promise service beyond the grave in exchange for a favor from the necromancer
- Plot Device
The proprietary path of the Harbingers of Skulls (though this is questionable), this path allows the necromancer to manipulate the actual state of undeath for personal utility and offensive applications. It was introduced in Guide to the Sabbat as a straight adaptation of Vampire: The Dark Ages Mortis discipline.
- Reaper's Shroud: Causes an individual to resemble a walking corpse, temporarily
- Blight: Causes all the ill-effects of advanced age and decrepitude in a target
- Resume the Coil: Awaken from torpor or help another vampire do so
- True Death: Become a true corpse, unaffected by the banes of vampirism
- Mercy for Seth: Infects its target with a virulent plague that kills mortals or puts vampires into torpor
Necromancy in the second edition was a single Discipline, favored by the Giovanni, Nagaraja, and Kiasyd. In the revised edition Necromancy was broken up into paths and rituals much like its counterpart Thaumaturgy. The Kiasyd's Clan Disciplines were changed, replacing Necromancy with Dominate.
In Vampire: The Masquerade 20th Anniversary Edition, Necromancy and Mortis are combined into a single Discipline for simplicity's sake, adding the Path of the Grave's Decay, the Path of the Corpse In the Monster, and the Path of the Four Humors. The Mortuus Path, being a simplification of the first two, was removed.
^ Level 1
|Insight||Vampire Players Guide First Edition||Pg. 127|
|Insight||Vampire Players Guide Second Edition||Pg. 136|
|The Tragedy Revealed||Clanbook: Cappadocian||Pg. 42|
|Insight||Vampire: The Masquerade Revised Edition||Pg. 161|
|Tremens||Vampire: The Masquerade Revised Edition||Pg. 163|
|Shroudsight||Vampire: The Masquerade Revised Edition||Pg. 164|
|Eyes of the Dead||Vampire Storytellers Handbook Revised||Pg. 40|
|Eyes of the Dead||Vampire: The Masquerade 20th Anniversary Edition||Pg. 174|
|Finding the Locus||Tome of Secrets||Pg. 57|
|Tend the Body Garden||The Black Hand: A Guide to the Tal'Mahe'Ra||Pg. 70|
|Calvaria Emissius||Tome of Secrets||Pg. 54|
^ Level 2
|Summon Spirit||Vampire Players Guide First Edition||Pg. 127|
|Summon Spirit||Vampire Players Guide Second Edition||Pg. 136|
|Call Forth the Host||Clanbook: Cappadocian||Pg. 43|
|Summon Soul||Vampire: The Masquerade Revised Edition||Pg. 161|
|Apprentice's Brooms||Vampire: The Masquerade Revised Edition||Pg. 163|
|Lifeless Tongues||Vampire: The Masquerade Revised Edition||Pg. 164|
|Hour of Death||Vampire Storytellers Handbook Revised||Pg. 40|
|Aura of Decay||Vampire: The Masquerade 20th Anniversary Edition||Pg. 175|
|Expurgate the Damned||Tome of Secrets||Pg. 57|
|Witch's Fruit||The Black Hand: A Guide to the Tal'Mahe'Ra||Pg. 71|
|Consilium Mortuus||Tome of Secrets||Pg. 54|
^ Level 3
|Compel||Vampire Players Guide First Edition||Pg. 127|
|Compel||Vampire Players Guide Second Edition||Pg. 136|
|Corporeal Home||Clanbook: Cappadocian||Pg. 43|
|Compel Soul||Vampire: The Masquerade Revised Edition||Pg. 161|
|Shambling Hordes||Vampire: The Masquerade Revised Edition||Pg. 163|
|Dead Hand||Vampire: The Masquerade Revised Edition||Pg. 164|
|Soul Judgment||Vampire Storytellers Handbook Revised||Pg. 41|
|Soul Feast||Vampire: The Masquerade 20th Anniversary Edition||Pg. 175|
|Blood Scourge||Tome of Secrets||Pg. 58|
|Raise the Green One||The Black Hand: A Guide to the Tal'Mahe'Ra||Pg. 72|
|Ammorsus Vicarius||Tome of Secrets||Pg. 55|
^ Level 4
|Haunting||Vampire Players Guide First Edition||Pg. 127|
|Haunting||Vampire Players Guide Second Edition||Pg. 137|
|Haunting||Vampire: The Masquerade Revised Edition||Pg. 162|
|Soul Stealing||Vampire: The Masquerade Revised Edition||Pg. 163|
|Ex Nihilo||Vampire: The Masquerade Revised Edition||Pg. 164|
|Breath of Thanatos||Vampire Storytellers Handbook Revised||Pg. 41|
|Breath of Thanatos||Vampire: The Masquerade 20th Anniversary Edition||Pg. 176|
|Cursed Eucharist||Tome of Secrets||Pg. 59|
|Wails and Whispers||The Black Hand: A Guide to the Tal'Mahe'Ra||Pg. 72|
|Exedo Animus||Tome of Secrets||Pg. 56|
^ Level 5
|Soul Stealing||Vampire Players Guide First Edition||Pg. 127|
|Soul Stealing||Vampire Players Guide Second Edition||Pg. 137|
|Torment||Vampire: The Masquerade Revised Edition||Pg. 162|
|Daemonic Possession||Vampire: The Masquerade Revised Edition||Pg. 163|
|Shroud Mastery||Vampire: The Masquerade Revised Edition||Pg. 165|
|Soul Feasting||Vampire Storytellers Handbook Revised||Pg. 42|
|Nightcry||Vampire: The Masquerade 20th Anniversary Edition||Pg. 176|
|Purge the Apostate’s Soul||Tome of Secrets||Pg. 59|
|Chthonic Womb||The Black Hand: A Guide to the Tal'Mahe'Ra||Pg. 72|
|Degulo||Tome of Secrets||Pg. 56|
^ Level 6
|Zombie||Vampire Players Guide First Edition||Pg. 127|
|Zombie||Vampire Players Guide Second Edition||Pg. 137|
^ Level 7
|Torment||Vampire Players Guide First Edition||Pg. 128|
|Torment||Vampire Players Guide Second Edition||Pg. 137|
|Severing the Ties of Death||Clanbook: Giovanni||Pg. 42|
^ Level 8
|Soul Exchange||Vampire Players Guide First Edition||Pg. 128|
|Soul Exchange||Vampire Players Guide Second Edition||Pg. 137|
^ Level 9
|Possession||Vampire Players Guide First Edition||Pg. 128|
|Possession||Vampire Players Guide Second Edition||Pg. 137|
|Inurement||Clanbook: Giovanni||Pg. 43|
^ Level 10
|Death Pact||Vampire Players Guide First Edition||Pg. 128|
|Death Pact||Vampire Players Guide Second Edition||Pg. 137|
|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 · Necromancy, Voudoun · Necromancy, Western · Ogham · Sadhana · Sihr · Thaumaturgy · Thaumaturgy, Dark · Thaumaturgy, Sielanic · Sorcery, Assamite · Sorcery, Anarch · Koldunic Sorcery · Sorcery, Setite · 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|