Subversions of the Divine Will was an expression used by the mages of the Circle of Red during the Dark Ages, to collectively describe the four Pillars of their magick: Abomination (Defilement of Creation), Subversion (Defilement of Knowledge), Malediction (Defilement of Truth) and Diabolism (Defilement of Faith)
Abomination (Defiling of Creation)Edit
Reliance on God’s plan leads to personal weakness. Divine creation can and should be improved upon. Within every aspect of creation — animate or inanimate, physical or spiritual — lies a pattern. Each pattern contains a potential for hidden flaws, tiny potentials for sin buried in the fabric of creation. The Pillar of Abomination exploits these flaws, reworking and manipulating the pattern to the mage’s will. Once a pattern has been altered, however, each additional shift becomes more difficult, as the pattern moves further from God’s design. Through this increasing complexity, the Circle of Red masters control over itself and creation.
- • At this level, members of the Circle of Red can sense the innate patterns of creation. This allows the mage to perceive the hidden flaws in the pattern, as well as the potential to exploit those flaws. It is also possible to sense demons and thralls, due to Torment’s distinct distortion of the pattern, and other mages, due to their ability to alter God’s reality.
- •• A member of the Circle of Red can manipulate the patterns of inanimate objects to cause physical distortions, including properties of density, shape and substance. This changes only the physical appearance or make-up of an object. The mage can also make temporary cosmetic or substantive alterations to his body (adding or subtracting a dot of Appearance or a Physical Attribute per success).
- ••• Upon achieving this level, the mage can manipulate the physical forms of animate objects. By reaching into the creature’s pattern, the infernalist is able to discover and exploit flaws and potentials for mutation, using them to physically warp an animal or human into a monstrous beast. The mage can also make alterations to his own mental state (adding a dot to a Mental Attribute per success). This bonus can temporarily enhance memory (Intelligence), permit exacting and wary scrutiny (Perception) or aid in seizing opportune moments (Wits).
- •••• The mage can now defile the mental states of others, inducing overwhelming emotions such as panic. The mage can induce derangements through alteration of another’s pattern or cause amnesia by carving out portions of the target’s memory. At this level, he can also defile his own spirit, temporarily imbuing himself with Arcana as if he were a thrall (with a total value equal to the successes x 2).
- ••••• Now a master of corruption of the pattern, the Veneficti can defile the spiritual pattern of another creature or place. At this level, the mage can attack a demon’s Resolve or a Blessed’s Conviction through direct manipulation of the pattern, and can also perform a physical or mental attack or alteration of a spiritual entity. The mage can also poison the energy of a cray or caern, or defile another mage’s Fount.
Specialties: Creating Monstrous Beasts, Manipulating Demons
Foci: Bone, stone, carved idols, weaving tablets
Subversion (Defilement of Knowledge)Edit
The Circle of Red resists any attempts to censor or forbid knowledge. Its members usually have a working knowledge of demonology. Membership to the Circle offers access to a huge variety of subversive and infernal texts, some of which can be dangerous and even deadly to read without a mind properly prepared to handle the information (and often spells) invested in the pages. Mastery of this pillar brings with it an understanding of how languages work, allowing mages to learn many languages easily. Jealously guarding the knowledge it has acquired, the Circle of Red subverts, manipulates or profanes information used by those outside the order.
- • Veneficti can read infernal literature without suffering risk of insanity or other negative effects as addressed in Chapter Two (p. 71). She has a natural understanding of languages and may use magic to translate specific texts or phrases. She can look through a simple focus item, such as a mirror or flame, to scry current events.
- •• The mage can scry current events without having to look through an item, or scry past or future events through a focus item. She can glean simple surface thoughts from others if engaged in direct conversation or contact with them. Her mastery of language grows to inscribe unfamiliar tongues into her mind (gaining fluency in one language for one day per success).
- ••• At this level, the mage can read the deeper thoughts of others, including delving into buried memories, if engaged in direct conversation or contact with them. She can use another’s experiences or capabilities through subtle borrowing of memories, temporarily copying one dot of any of the target’s Knowledges for each success. The mage can also implant a “trigger word” in the target’s mind, which, when spoken, can result in the immediate recollection of a specific painful memory.
- •••• The mage can control the minds of others through direct manipulation of their thoughts, including implanting a word that will trigger a specific action or series of actions when spoken. The mage can rearrange memories, placing them out of sequence or skewing the outcome of events as they are recalled. She can enchant herself to understand and communicate in any spoken or written language.
- ••••• With mastery of the Pillar of Subversion, the Veneficti can bind and control demons. She can create infernal texts with the power to drive the unprepared reader to insanity, prompt him to murder or to commit suicide, or lead him to perform a series of actions through mind control.
Specialties: Altering Memories, Creating Infernal Texts
Foci: Mirrors, fire, infernal texts
Malediction (Defilement of Truth)Edit
The Circle of Red covets secrets while promoting the fabrication of sacrilegious lies. With this Pillar comes an understanding of the truths of the divine plan, twisting them to create new truths and make what was once true into a lie.
- • At this level Veneficti become skilled with secrets and lies. They can sense when someone is lying, and are able to pierce through illusions. This allows mages to gauge an individual’s overall trustworthiness, determining things like bribability.
- •• The mage is able to conceal lies in her speech, producing a completely believable subversion of the truth; this reduces the difficulty of a Subterfuge roll by –1 per success, to a minimum of difficulty 4. She can mentally shield herself, adding one die per success to her effective Willpower (or other appropriate dice pool) to resist telepathic intrusions that target thoughts, memories or emotions.
- ••• Now the mage can shield herself from sight by causing herself to be overlooked. She can cause others to see her as something other than she is, casting a temporary illusion. Treat successes as an attempt to use Obfuscate 3: Mask of a Thousand Faces (Dark Ages: Vampire, p. 198).
- •••• The mage can physically become invisible or cause others to forget her existence, and continue to forget her after repeated interactions with her. She can create larger scale illusions affecting her surroundings.
- ••••• The mage can conceal her soul from others. She cannot be located by magical means. She has the ability to replicate a false emotional Aura, temporarily overriding that of her Foundation; she receives all the benefits of the counterfeit Aura.
Specialties: Crafting False Doctrine, Disguising Form
Foci: Human skin, smoke, veils
Diabolism (Defilement of Faith)Edit
In their deliberate pursuit of sin, the members of the Circle of Red actively seek to control and manipulate the denizens of Hell in open defiance of God. Veneficti are prolific diabolists with access to nearly unlimited resources with which to summon and exploit the trapped Fallen. The mage’s Diabolism Pillar cannot exceed his Demonology rating.
- • At this level, mages can sense the presence of demons, even from far away. The Circle of Red mage can track a demon’s movements through the infernal “footprints” it leaves behind, and can also feel when a Summoning ritual has been performed in the surrounding area. He intuitively understands the practical applications of Demonology.
- •• The mage can create wards against demons or circles in which to summon demons. He can invoke a demon by Celestial or True Name, opening a direct line of communication to the demon. In a demon’s presence, the mage can hear the demon’s Celestial Name as if from some infernal whisper. The mage can also summon energy directly from the Abyss, often manifesting as fire from nowhere.
- ••• With knowledge of a demon’s Celestial Name, the Circle of Red mage can invoke the demon directly without prior preparation, spontaneously formulating the summoning ritual. A mage can temporarily anchor a demon to the world without providing a vessel (one hour per success).
- •••• At this level, the mage can attempt to banish a demon back to the Abyss at his command, regardless of the demon’s power. He can create small, permanent wards against demons, or create large zones of warded space. The mage can also create summoning circles as artifacts usable by anyone. These portals to the Abyss are set up in advance for a specific number of uses (one use per success) and are usually activated by blood.
- ••••• Masters of Hell, the Veneficti can summon and banish demons without a ritual, simply by speaking the demon’s True Name. He can also learn and perform the complex rituals to summon a demonic chain of command, invoking all the lesser demons in service to a master demon when the master demon is summoned. The infernal voices now whisper a demon’s True Name whenever the mage is in the demon’s presence.
Specialties: Summoning Demons, Warding Against Demons
Foci: Blood, flesh, flame, incantations