A tome and workbook of Maude's advancements in the Mortis discipline
Maude’s utterly vile and wholly unholy book of really rather useful tricks
LEVEL 1 (Difficulty 5)
- Bad kisser
Replaces the Kiss’s ecstasy with non-addictive, mild and temporary confusion.*
- Corpse Light
Create heatless light sources or explosives from bones.
- It wasn’t me, it was the claw what done it
Creates a ghostly claw that can manipulate objects at a distance.
- Let me spit in your face
Exhale a powdery concoction that toughens vampires and knocks humans unconscious.
- Preservation of Lore
Keep books, scrolls, paintings, etc. safe from decay.
- Revivify the Cold Vitae
Restore freshness to old blood or blood in a corpse.
- Rotschrek for beginners
Create a blue fire in Maude’s hand that doesn’t hurt her (and which extinguishes and is extinguished by regular flame).
- Shh, Maude’s talking
Secretly communicate with others over a distance; throw voice.
- Superstitious nonsense
Weaken the Shroud causing strange ghostly effects.
- Well, I don’t like them either
Ward an area so that it is repellent to animals.
- What were you thinking?
Consume a morsel of corpse brain to gain access to its memories.
LEVEL 2 (Difficulty 6)
Creates small reserves of a vampire’s vitae in edible teeth.
- Hungry Mould
Create a potent acid.
- I’m over here, fool!
Turns the recipient transparent, making stealth easier.
- Not just a pretty face
Changes face into hideous demonic visage panicking those looking her way.
- Skull of Warning
Enchant a skull to scream when trespassers come near.
- Wakey, wakey
Bring grievously wounded mortals briefly back to consciousness.*
LEVEL 3 (Difficulty 7)
- Better than a shovel
Maude sinks six feet into soil coming to rest like an interred corpse.*
- I’m no angel
Makes Maude incorporeal and hard to see, and allows limited levitation.
- I told you it was temporary
Heal aggravated damage inflicted on mortals with the Wither power.*
- I told you so
Revive a vampire in torpor.
- Vapours of Hypnos
Use an earthenware vase of water to create mist that sends mortals to sleep.
- You complete me
Share your Fortitude, wounds and senses with another vampire.
LEVEL 4 (Difficulty 8)
- He’s dead at the moment
Place mortal in state of suspended animation, indistinguishable from death.*
- Tasty and no strings attached
Create wafer thin pieces of flesh that remove vitae’s “identity”.*
All that is required for this ritual is a human bone, any bone will do, which must be soaked in a bath of molten wax mixed with a few drops of blood taken from a dead body. The blood for the ritual need not be human. Once the bone has soaked for at least one hour, during which the sun must at no point be in the sky, it will absorb the wax and blood.
System: If the roll is successful, the bone is imbued with the ability to burn with a smokeless, violet flame that it cold to the touch and burns nothing but the bone it is conjured on. Any exposure to normal fire will start the corpse light. To extinguish the corpse light, it must be doused in liquid. A treated bone burns at the same rate as a wax candle of similar size would, leaving behind a sticky, chalk-like residue. A botch on the ritual roll produces a bone that is visually indistinguishable from a successful one, but it will explode in a burst of fire when lit, dealing three dice of aggravated damage to anyone holding it and possibly catching nearby objects on fire with flaming debris. Note that these “bang-bones” can also be made intentionally.
It wasn’t me, it was the claw what done it
(aka Ritual of Wraith’s Hand)
Maude spends a blood point and summons a particular kind of barely-sentient wraith able to interact with the material world. She then constricts its corpus into a temporary arcane construct that appears as a diaphanous and insubstantial skeletal claw. Her control over the claw is equivalent to her regular manual dexterity provided she can see it clearly. She can “feel” through the hand in a limited fashion, but her control is somewhat compromised if it is out of sight (for instance, if she sends it through a wall). Although it can exert a reasonable amount of force, it can only do so in a sustained rather than abrupt fashion. This means it is of marginal use in combat, since it can’t directly harm or even impede a combatant short of startling them (although it might be used in more creative ways).
Casting time: 30 seconds
Success: Each success indicates (1) the duration of the ritual in tens of minutes, (2) the distance the hand can travel from Maude in tens of feet, and (3) the weight in tens of pounds that can be lifted with the hand.
Failure: Maude spends the blood point, but the ritual fails.
Botch: Maude spends the blood point, the ritual fails, and she entirely loses her sense of touch for the duration of the scene. This halves her dexterity, and halves any relevant ability (rounding down after adding them together) as well as other effects at the Storyteller’s discretion. It also has the slight benefit of reducing by one any dice-pool penalties from wounds.
Let me spit in your face
(aka Ritual of Deathly Vigour)
Maude prepares a powder made from bone, which can be used to temporarily gift Cainites with the renowned fortitude of the Cappadocians. Maude places the powder into her mouth, regurgitates some of her vitae into it, and then expels it into the face of the recipient in the form of a thicky oily blood-mist (the Blood Oath is not passed on through this). Strangely, the effect of the mist on humans is more akin to a powerful anaesthetic.
Casting time: Preparing the powder (multiple doses) – one hour; using the powder – one action
Success: For each success, Maude may spend one blood point to raise the recipient’s Stamina by one for the duration of the scene in exactly the same manner as if he had spent his own blood points for the purpose. Also, if she scores three or more successes, the recipient also gains the benefits of one point of Fortitude for the scene’s duration (or increases their existing Fortitude score by one). When used on a human, Maude spends one blood point and the target immediately falls unconscious unless they get more successes on a Willpower roll (difficulty 6) than Maude does on an opposed Intelligence + Occult roll (difficulty 6).
Failure: Maude must either spend another turn coughing up the powder or expel it immediately by spending a blood point.
Botch: The powder mixes badly with Maude’s vitae. Maude must either spend another turn coughing up the powder or expel it immediately by spending a blood point, and for the rest of the scene all rolls involving physical attributes are at +1 difficulty.
Preservation of Lore
This ritual preserves items of knowledge. Pages and scrolls remain supple, perfectly legible and all but immune to wear and tear for as long as the magic remains active. In order to protect an item it must be exposed to the smoke from a fire burning a bone from a literate man, a writing tool that has seen at least one month of use and a small quantity of ink. The smoke causes no damage to the object, instead coating it with a thick, black layer of soot that clears away within minutes, leaving behind an invisible layer of protection.
System: Each success on the ritual roll preserves an object from the ravages of time for a decade. If the ritual roll botches, the object being preserved is instantly destroyed, crumbling to dust and ash. This ritual can preserve objects which store information as part of their structure, such as books, scrolls, tablets and even paintings. The limitation is that the object preserved must be a single thing. For example, this ritual can preserve an entire tome, but it could not preserve a folio of loose sheets of paper without multiple castings. Items enchanted by this ritual can still be destroyed by concentrated effort such as burning them, tearing them apart or blotting out their contents, but they will be very resistant to accidents such as spills or rough handling.
Revivify the Cold Vitae
With this ritual the vampire may refresh old blood, or extract and make usable the blood in a fleshy corpse. This cold blood works just like normal, though it provides little pleasure to the drinker.
The ritual take half an hour to perform, and revivifies a number of blood points equal to the number of successes on the ritual’s usual Intelligence + Occult roll.
Rotschrek for beginners
(aka Ritual of Pallid Flame)
Maude summons a ghostly blue flame in the palm of her hand. The flame is short-lived, but will spread like regular fire if held to flammable material. The flame is like regular fire in most respects, but there are several key differences:
The flame will not harm Maude or anything she is wearing or carrying
It causes considerably less damage than normal fire to other vampires or undead (e.g. standing in a bonfire of the flame would inflict one lethal wound every two turns)
It does not cause Rotschreck
It burns a little more slowly than normal flame, and casts a little less light
A small amount of the flame will extinguish a much larger amount of regular flame and vice versa (e.g. a torch could extinguish a bonfire)
Casting time: One action.
Success: Each success allows the flame to remain sitting in Maude’s hand fuel-less for one minute.
Failure: The flame doesn’t materialise.
Botch: The flame appears, but immediately begins to sear her hand. She must immediately spend a blood point to extinguish it or take one lethal wound.
Shh, Maude’s talking
(aka Ritual of the Spectral Voice)
This ritual has two distinct but related effects. Firstly, Maude creates a connection to others through a temporary arcane conduit in the Shadowlands, which allows her to communicate with them over distance, and through intervening barriers like walls. She dabs the recipients’ lips, foreheads and ears with an arcane concoction, touches any part of her skin to theirs, and holds it there while in a trance-like state.
Afterwards, whenever Maude pictures a recipient in her mind and speaks, her voice carries to them as a ghostly whisper in their ear. The reverse is also true, though the recipients may not communicate directly with each other. A strange property of the whisper is that it can be heard clearly over any loud background noise. However, it is undetectable to anyone else except possibly those with advanced Auspex.
Secondly, the ritual also allows Maude to send her voice through the Shadowlands and subsequently project from any point in space in the physical realm that she can see clearly. In effect, this allows her to “throw her voice” out to a few dozen yards.
Note that either use of this ritual creates clearly audible speech that echoes throughout nearby parts of the Shadowlands, which may have consequences at the Storyteller’s discretion.
Casting time: Five minutes
Success: The number of successes indicates (1) the number of recipients that can be affected, (2) the duration in hours that the ritual lasts, and (3) the distance in hundreds of yards that the communication can be maintained (e.g. two successes equals two recipients who can communicate out to two hundred yards for two hours).
Failure: The ritual fails.
Botch: The ritual fails, and Maude can speak only in a whisper for a period of a number of hours equal to the number of “uncancelled” 1’s in the botch. Other than the obvious impracticalities, this causes all checks involving speech to be made at +2 difficulty (if they are even possible at all), and makes further use of this ritual impossible.
(aka Ritual of the Shroud Breach)
Maude reaches out with her sensitivities to the spirit realm, and creates a small temporary tear in the Shroud. This attracts certain kinds of wraiths who will then compulsively interact with the material world in frivolous ways, causing strange and eerie effects throughout the building (if inside) or within a radius of 100 yards (if outside).
Casting time: Five minutes
Success: The number of successes indicates the number of minutes the effects last, and which effects take place on the list below (results are cumulative, so six successes causes all six effects). Note that due to the unpredictable nature of the wraiths’ behaviour, the list is merely a guideline; the possible effects are limited only by the imagination and discretion of the Storyteller.
1)Strange gusts of wind swirl, even indoors, blowing out small flames and causing larger ones to flicker, and the air noticeably chills causing condensation and frost to appear on surfaces
2)Footsteps and muffled thumps can be heard without any apparent source
3)A faint blue-tinged mist suffuses the area
4)Eerie wailing, sobbing and maniacal laughter can be heard at the edge of hearing
5)Small objects levitate, and large objects visibly shift and rattle
6)Ghostly figures can be seen intermittently
Failure: The ritual fails
Botch: Maude tears the Shroud in an uncontrolled fashion. For a period of anywhere from 5-30 seconds, the result is treated as a full success as the area rages with supernatural effects. Then a spectre is drawn to the breach, passes through the tear which closes abruptly, and begins to hound Maude (as described by the Storyteller).
What were you thinking?!
(Ritual of Cranial Remnants)
Maude consumes a fragment of a corpse’s brain, and gives it the semblance of life once again by soaking it with a blood point worth of her own vitae while it lies in her shrivelled gut. She then enters a trance, giving her access to the brain’s dead memories. This involves reliving the memories as though Maude was there, complete with sensory input, emotions and surface thoughts.
In theory, this can work on a brain of any species, but the memories of any creature less intelligent than a dog are usually too chaotic and alien to be useful to a vampire. At the end of the trance she regurgitates the vitae-soaked brain fragment.
Casting time: Five minutes
Success: For every full day that has passed since the corpse’s death, one success is subtracted from the result as the brain decays. The greater the number of successes, the more coherent the memories. A single success on a human brain may give a few brief sporadic images and emotions associated with particularly memorable and recent events in the dead person’s life. Three successes gives Maude limited control over the timeframe and types of events experienced. Five successes allows Maude to focus on a specific event. Ten successes would in theory give Maude unfettered access to almost all easily recalled memories of the dead person.
Failure: Maude spends the blood point, but the ritual fails.
Botch: Maude spends the blood point and enters the trance, but exposes her psyche to the trauma of the dead memories. She loses a willpower point, gains no memories from the ritual, cannot attempt the ritual on another corpse until the next night, and may not attempt the ritual on this corpse ever again.
(aka Ritual of Bloody Teeth)
Maude carefully draws out the vitae of a Cainite from a small cut, mixes it with some ground animal organs, simmers it over a low flame, and congeals the vitae’s vital essence into a tooth plucked from an animal skull. The ritual makes the tooth brittle and crumbly, and if it is later chewed on, it will release the essence of the vitae contained within it.
During combat it takes an action to grab a number of teeth from a pouch or pocket and consume them. Note that a maximum of three can be used in one turn as that is the limit of how much vitae a vampire can absorb in such a short space of time.
The ritual creates a link of sorts between the teeth and the Cainite whose blood they contain. This means that there are limits to how much vitae a given vampire can store this way. Also, if a tooth is every separated from its “owner” by a distance of greater than about ten yards, it crumbles in a small gout of blood. Note that the Blood Oath can be passed on with the vitae in these teeth.
Casting time: One hour per tooth
Success: The recipient transfers a blood point from herself into the tooth. Each tooth holds one blood point. At any one time a recipient can only have her vitae in a number of teeth equal to her maximum blood point total divided by four (round as normal).
Failure/Botch: A failure indicates a recognised failure of the ritual. A botch indicates an unrecognised failure of the ritual. Therefore whenever a tooth is consumed, reroll any regular failure (since those teeth would have been discarded) until you get either one or more successes or a botch. These botched teeth still count against the total allowable per Cainite.
The vampire scrapes mould from a tombstone or grave and boils it in an iron kettle with vitae and raw animal fat. For every success on the casting roll, one cup of the mixture turns a sickly gray-green and thickens to a quivering gel. Any leftover ingredients must be strained away before the ritual can continue. Finally, the vampire drips a single drop of his blood into the gel to awaken it. From this point on, the mould becomes a deadly flesheating fungus. It greedily devours living or unliving flesh on contact, leaving patches of naked bone where a growing colony abscessed and ravaged all soft tissue. Even the caster is not immune, requiring utmost caution in handling the mould. Typically, Cappadocians decant the mould into metal vials or other portable containers for use as weapons.
System: Each batch of mould lasts one full month, after which it loses all magic. Anyone splashed with the mould suffers dice of aggravated damage equal to the total cups that made contact with flesh. This damage continues each turn, reduced by one die until the magic is spent.
I’m over here, fool
(aka Ritual of the Shroud Cloak)
Maude enters a trance, and carefully bends the Shroud around a recipient, the result being that light and sound can gain little purchase on their physical form. For the duration of the effect, they appear semi-transparent (although never completely invisible even with multiple successes) and any sounds they make are muffled (which can make communication difficult). The effect also reduces the damage inflicted by exposure to sunlight, as much of it passes right through the recipient. Finally, the recipient may be detectable by the inhabitants of the Shadowlands at the Storyteller’s discretion, even though they aren’t present in the Shadowlands themselves.
Casting time: Ten minutes
Success: For each success, the recipient can add one dice to any stealth check for the ritual’s duration. Also, stealth checks can be made without the need for cover, although once spotted the recipient would need to get out of line of sight before attempting another stealth check. While affected, the recipient takes half damage from sunlight (e.g. one aggravated wound per two turns of exposure of a small part of the body). The duration of the effect is one hour per success, though Maude can end it earlier with a moment’s concentration.
Failure: The ritual fails.
Botch: For the rest of the scene, the recipient randomly “flickers” between transparency and vivid opaqueness, and muffled and clear sounds. Other than being disconcerting, it makes stealth all but impossible (+4 to difficulty) (unless the stealth is purely quietness-based as the recipient is never actually louder than normal).
Not just a pretty face
_(aka Ritual of Death’s Visage)
With a moment’s concentration Maude may briefly transform her face into that of a hideous skeletal abomination with blazing red eyes. It is not an illusion – her face actually physically changes. As well as the cosmetic change, there are accompanying pulses of psychic fear akin to some rudimentary fear-based forms of Presence.
Note that the adjudication of this power requires considerable Storyteller discretion, especially outside combat situations. A superstitious human is almost guaranteed to flee, whereas a powerful Cainite would probably be startled at best, regardless of the result.
Casting time: One action
Success: Maude spends a Willpower Point and may attempt to terrify everyone who is focusing on her using an opposed Charisma + Occult roll vs. the targets Willpower (both difficulty 6). The range of the effect is equal to 5 times the number of successes in feet. Note that vampires and ghouls are less susceptible to this effect – the difficulty for their Willpower rolls is only 4 instead of 6. The effects are proportional to the number of successes by which Maude’s check exceeds the target’s: 1 more success indicates the target is shaken and may take penalties in combat, 2 more successes indicates the target flees in a controlled manner, 3 more successes indicates the target is gripped by utter panic and flees blindly or prostrates themselves quivering. This ritual may only be used successfully once per scene.
Failure: The ritual fails and the action and Willpower Point are wasted.
Botch: The transformation is incomplete but lingers. There are no psychic pulses of fear and Maude’s face simply appears wretched and pitted with disease. For the rest of the scene, and until Maude’s face has knitted back to its normal shape, she resembles a Nosferatu, the difficulties of all social rolls increase by 2, and she may not try this ritual again.
Skull of Warning
The vampire takes an intact human skull and cleans it thoroughly, painting its eye sockets and teeth with her own vitae. She then impales the skull on an iron spike and places it near the entrance of her haven.
System: If the ritual succeeds, the skull stands silent perpetual vigil. Should any being other than the caster or undead minions belonging to the caster enter the room, the skull’s jaw drops and it lets out an unearthly howl of rage and pain. This sound awakens even a vampire sleeping during the day, although she must then struggle to stay awake normally. An enchanted skull continues shrieking until the intruder dies or leaves, or a number of minutes pass equal to the successes rolled. A single skull can serve as the focus of this ritual any number of times.
I’m no angel
(aka Ritual of Shroud’s Embrace)
Maude enters a trance and carefully bends the Shroud around herself, entering an in-between state in which she is visible (though translucent) but incorporeal in both the material world and the Shadowlands.
By concentrating, she can switch her perceptions to one realm or the other, though both seem to take on something of the other’s qualities to her senses. For instance, vampires viewed in this state are clearly identifiable, as the ritual causes their undead features to seem particularly pronounced.
While in this state, she cannot interact physically with either realm, and is invulnerable to physical attacks. However, while her physical powers (e.g. Mortis) aren’t usable, her non-physical powers (e.g. Chimerstry) work normally. Also, she is still susceptible to non-physical threats like the Dominate discipline.
While in this state, she is far less affected by the physical laws of the material realm. This means she can float in any direction, including vertically, and can move unimpeded through most mundane physical barriers like walls. However, although shrouded, her form is still a physical one grounded in the physical realm, which imposes limits on her movement. Firstly, she can move no faster than a brisk walk.
Secondly, although she has a limited ability to “fly”, she can only remain airborne for a period of about ten seconds at which point she will descend until she is once again in contact with a horizontal surface (although continued lateral movement is possible during this descent). Thirdly, although she can hide for very short period within solid objects, she will take increasing damage to her physical form: none in the first round, one level of soakable lethal damage in the second round, two in the third round, three in the fourth round, and so on.
For the duration of the ritual, Maude is immune to normal flame and Rotschrek. However, sunlight is still harmful enough to inflict one level of aggravated damage every three rounds while in direct sunlight on a clear day.
Maude can exit the state safely over a period of about a minute. She can also end the ritual abruptly though this carries a small amount of danger, inflicting three levels of soakable lethal damage.
Casting time: 15 minutes
Success: The ritual lasts for one hour for each success rolled. Clever movement may negate the need for Stealth rolls indoors, but if one is required then it is checked against Maude’s Wits and Occult rather than Dexterity and Stealth.
Failure: The ritual fails.
Botch: For the rest of the scene, Maude exists fully in both the physical realm and the Shadowlands simultaneously. She gains none of the benefits of a successful ritual, except the ability to see both realms, but is vulnerable to all kinds of danger from both. As long as none of the denizens of the Shadowlands imperil her, she is no worse off than before. However, a vampire visibly wandering through the Shadowlands may well attract unwanted attention at the Storyteller’s discretion.
I told you so
(Ritual of Awakening)
Some practitioners of Mortis are known to be able to use their magic to revive those in torpor. Maude has been able to recreate this effect by fusing her advanced knowledge of ritual magic with her understanding of the precedents that have made it possible for others. The ritual, while lengthy to cast, is fairly undemanding.
The likelihood of the ritual succeeding is greatly affected by the amount of control the target has over her Beast; a diligent adherent of her Road is far easier to wake.
The condition of the target’s body may affect how long they remain awake and how they react when awoken. A vampire driven into torpor through massive bodily injury may only remain awake for a short time (perhaps long enough to be given some blood) before falling into torpor once more, necessitating multiple castings of the ritual. Also, if a vampire wakes with a very low or empty blood pool, they will almost certainly frenzy until their blood lust has been sated.
Casting time: 1 hour
Success: Only one success is needed on a roll of Maude’s permanent Willpower against a difficulty equal to ten minus the target’s Road score.
Failure: The ritual fails.
Botch: A botch could be catastrophic, but is only likely with either an unskilled caster and/or a target with a very low Road score. The results of such a botch are left to Storyteller discretion, but may include Maude losing a permanent point of Willpower.
Vapours of Hypnos
This ritual summons a mist charged with the power of the underworld. Those exposed to it find themselves drowsy, forgetful. The mist is unleashed by pouring out an earthenware vase of chilled water, mixed with vitae, over the ground. As the water hits the ground, the Cappadocian chants and the water vaporizes into thick, heavy fog.
System: The mist spreads out across an area of 100 yards per success on the ritual roll. Everyone within the affected area has the difficulty of all mental actions increased by 1 and must make a Willpower roll, difficulty 7, or fall into a deep but ordinary sleep. The memories of events that take place while a person is within the fog are hazy at best, except for those with a Self-Control of 4 or higher. Vampires are not affected by the memory haze or the sleep inducement of the fog, but they are subject to the increase in mental difficulty. They can opt to spend a willpower to ignore the effects of the fog for a scene. The mist lasts for five minutes per success on the roll.
You complete me
(aka Ritual of Entwined Essences)
The initial part of the ritual takes over an hour to perform. During this time Maude and the target must sit cross-legged in the centre of a circle of arcane writings, clouded in incense smoke, and remaining in constant physical contact the whole time, ideally by grasping each other’s wrists. At the culmination of the ritual, Maude and the target must each feed the other a pound of their flesh along with some of their vitae (making each one step blood bound to the other). This final act partially fuses their vampiric sparks of unlife for a limited time.
Following this, the short-term effects of this union last as long as Maude remains in the arcane circle maintaining the ritual. The target is now free to move around and act normally, though if he ever moves more than about 300 yards from Maude, the effect will end (though this won’t happen abruptly – both Maude and the target will first feel the connection starting to waver).
The short-term effects include the following:
- Maude can switch between experiencing her senses or the target’s at will, as can the target.
- Maude and the target can communicate telepathically.
- The target gains Maude’s Fortitude score (if it is less than hers).
- Any wounds inflicted on either of them are shared between them alternately, starting with the person actually wounded. So, if the target took five levels of damage (which would normally leave him ‘Mauled’), he would instead take three levels (‘Injured’) and Maude would take two levels (‘Hurt’). Another hit for a single level of damage would bring Maude to three levels (‘Injured’) as well.
Since this ritual was composed hurriedly and without testing, there are some lasting effects that Maude hasn’t yet been able to negate. The sharing of essences will make both Maude and the target take on something of the other’s demeanour and nature, which may be further compounded if they then spend time together (which is itself more likely since they’ll be partially blood bound to each other). Maude and the target will understand the reason behind their new feelings (or lack of) and so may try to resist in order to act like their “normal” selves, but this may take the expenditure of Willpower.
Furthermore, the temporary fusing of their essences may cause Maude and the target to share core experiences and memories from particularly pivotal or poignant moments in their lives. These will manifest as “flashbacks” of the events as though they were experienced first-hand, which will appear in both daytime dreams and nighttime daydreams over the following weeks. However, only those with Auspex will be able to remember them clearly enough to make sense of them.
All of the lingering effects will eventually fade as the blood bond does.
Casting time: 1 hour for initial segment of ritual, and then as long as maintained
Success: Only one success is needed (which Maude can choose to make automatic). Since the ritual was composed hurriedly, Maude hasn’t been able to compose it in such a way that skilful casting gives added bonuses.
Failure: The ritual fails.
Botch: Maude can’t botch the ritual as written, but if another caster did then the effects would be left to Storyteller discretion.