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TRUTH IN INK

The Black Hand has an almost mythic reputation for being able to sniff out impostors among its ranks, and this simple ritual is one of the primary reasons why. It is the single most common ritual found in the subsect, as it is undoubtedly invoked each and every night by more than a few of the subsect’s blood sorcerers around the world. The ritual itself is also the oldest one specifically created by the subsect, as its creation occurred concurrent with the subsect’s decision to brand all of its members with the mystical mark of the crescent moon. In all the long centuries that the mark has been a fundamental part of the Hand, so too has this ritual.

This ritual, which takes mere moments to cast, allows the user to determine the true source of any crescent moon tattoo within sight. The Cainite must be able to clearly see or touch the tattoo for an accurate reading to take place. If either condition is met, the blood magician may then spend a blood point to invoke the ritual. With a single success on the activation roll, the caster becomes instantly aware of whether or not the mark was created by the Black Hand through the official rite of branding. If not, then the target is surely an impostor. With additional successes, the caster can even glean images of the circumstances through which the individual acquired the tattoo; with five successes, the mystical equivalent of a short “film clip” plays out in the caster’s mind, revealing every detail of the tattoo’s origin. Ultimately, the only way for this ritual not to work is if the caster fails his initial activation roll for the ritual itself. With zero successes, no information of any kind is imparted and the blood magician knows he has failed in his attempt. Still, he may always try again, but at the expense of yet another blood point. On the other hand, should he botch his activation roll, the information gleaned might be entirely false. In this way — and this way only — can an impostor fool the caster of this ritual into believing his false tattoo to be the genuine article.

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