Dark Thaumaturgy

Despite the inexplicable disappearance of the Tremere antitribu, Dark Thaumaturgy has entrenched itself into the malignant underground of the Sabbat. A basic tenet of Sabbat unity is the sharing of Disciplines among pack members. This sharing strengthens the pack as a whole, and it better prepares the pack for a stand against the Camarilla. Although this tenet is true, however, students of Dark Thaumaturgy are still rare, due to the innate dangers in dealing with the infernal..

Dark Thaumaturgy is simply Thaumaturgical knowledge gleaned from demons, rather than a separate Discipline. The distinction is made merely for the purposes of illustrating the danger of dealing with infernal forces — learning a path or ritual from a text or another vampire does not leave the taint of the infernal on a vampire. Trucking with demons, however, stains the soul in a serious way.

In the absence of traditional Tremere training and research, some Sabbat who want to learn the secrets of Thaumaturgy turn to demons. These demons pride themselves on taking over the beings to whom they teach their dark magics and bending them to their infernal will. Practitioners of Dark Thaumaturgy think they work to control the “Devil on their shoulder,” lest it take over entirely. In reality, Dark Thaumaturgy is practiced predominantly by fools who think they’re going to outsmart the Devil, those who want a quick route to power and people too weak to resist infernal temptation.

Dark Thaumaturgy has levels and paths, just like Thaumaturgy. The mechanical difference between Thaumaturgy and Dark Thaumaturgy is relatively moot — paths and ritual still create the same effects. However, Dark Thaumaturgy comes with a price. Traffic with the Devil’s minions permanently scars the soul, and the taint of infernalism manifests in the Dark Thaumaturge’s aura. Before long, the unmistakable marks of the Devil’s favor may even appear physically, as a wart on the nose, a “witch’s claw” behind the ear or even (among the most Damned of the Damned) withered limbs, freakish scars, horns or cloven hoofs! Needless to say, once these visible traits appear, the Iquisition is sure to follow close behind, hastening the infernalist to deliver his soul to whatever dark power has claimed it.

Again, Dark Thaumaturgy is simply Thaumaturgy learned from demons — there is no separate Dark Thaumaturgy Trait. Demons may teach any of the “normal” paths and rituals of Thaumaturgy, but a few powers may only be learned with demonic tutelage. Increasing path and Thaumaturgy Traits is less difficult when dealing with the minions of Hell, but that ease is more than compensated for by the ruthless pursuit and persecution the infernalist faces when (not if) her unholy leanings come to the fore. (Buying Thaumaturgy as a "New Discipline" with demonic instruction costs only 8 experience points. New paths cost only 5 points. Increasing a Thaumaturgy Trait with infernal assistance costs the current rating x 5 experience points, while increasing a path rating costs the current rating x 3 points.)

You're Going to Hell

In case you didn’t get the clue, Dark Thaumaturgy is a Bad Thing. Thaumaturgy and Dark Thaumaturgy alike are dying among the Sabbat because the best practioners of arcane magic, the Tremere antitribu, have vanished from the sect.

Keep in mind, however, that however many appreciable benefits Dark Thaumaturgy has it comes with significant disadvantages. Quite simply, learning Thaumaturgy from a demon requires service to that demon… and they must do what the demon says, whenever it wants him to.

Should some character actually want to enter into pacts of this nature (it does make for a good “damnation” plotline or a tragic character flaw), don’t be surprised when the demon drags them off to Hell at their slightest inkling. That’s what you get when you deal with the Devil.

Dark Thaumaturgical Paths

Like normal Thaumaturgy paths, Dark Thaumaturgical paths require a Willpower roll (difficulty equal to the power’s level +3) and the expenditure of a blood point. Only one success is necessary to invoke these powers, unless otherwise noted. Failure on this roll signifies that the effect fails, while a botch costs the thaumaturge a permanent point of Willpower.

Guide to the Sabbat

The Fires of the Inferno (Inferno) - Similar to The Lure of Flames, but the sickly green balefire conjured from Hell by this path has only one use: destruction. Price: Obvious balefire taints the user's aura.
The Path of Phobos (Phobos väg) - this path conjures a foe's worst fears to assault him. Price: Horrific nightmares.
The Taking of the Spirit - Saps the willpower of the victim. Price: Arrogance, manifesting as megalomania.

Sins of the Blood

The Path of Pain - mastery over and the infliction of physical pain. Price: Addiction to pain.
The Path of Pleasure - the creation of artificial, addictive pleasure and other drug-like effects. Price: The Beast's desires become harder to resist.
Path of the Defiler - mystical corruption; possibly an infernal variation of the Path of Corruption. Price: Jealousy, manifesting as possessiveness of the user's victims.
Path of the Unspoken - the acquisition of knowledge via blasphemous means. Considered a myth by most sorcerers. Price: Memory lapses.
Path of Pestilence - the creation and spread of disease. Price: "The Rot", an ever-worsening disease.

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