Gilded Cage

The grandly titled Gilded Cage is a form of ritual magic known only to the Architects of the Monolith. Born of a combination of Theban Sorcery, Ordo Dracul rituals and sacred geometry, the art form focuses on controlling aspects of architecture and urban development to gain mystical power over a city. Most of the rituals have a Victorian Masonic aspect, with implements and precise performance required for their use.

To date, no non-Architect has ever learned the Gilded Cage, as it is one of the bloodline’s most closely guarded secrets. Very few vampires know of its existence as anything other than an odd power, often assuming it a path of the Coils of the Dragon. Teaching an outsider not only gives away power, it gives away secrets that could lead to the bloodline’s undoing. Nearly as importantly, elders use their knowledge of line rituals to keep younger members under their thumb. The only way to learn a new ritual is to be taught it by an elder who has mastered it, so progenitors use the careful doling out of power as a potent method of control.

Cost: Using Gilded Cage always costs one Willpower point. The whole Discipline is based on the idea of imposing one’s will on the world through mystical-scientific research. Willpower spent in this manner does not add three dice to activation rolls. Also, because only one Willpower point may ever be spent in a turn, another cannot be spent to augment a Gilded Cage roll unless specified otherwise.

Furthermore, Gilded Cage rituals require that specific items be used or that a caster be in a certain place in order to activate a power. Items, known as Means, are foci that align the will with the forces channeled. Places, known as Ways, are sites where a pre-existing tendency toward certain phenomena already exists. Any attempt to invoke a Gilded Cage ritual without proper Ways and Means fails automatically. Unlike other forms of vampiric sorcery, however, the Ways and Means used to activate Gilded Cage rituals are not consumed. They can be reused unless specifically noted otherwise. This fact has led some to suggest that Ways and Means are simply props to undead will and not actually mystical tools, but such conjecture defies the Carpenter’s teachings…

Like Crúac and Theban Sorcery, Gilded Cage does not have a linear progression as other Disciplines do. A character’s mastery (dots) dictates the highest level of rituals that he may learn. Rituals are bought with experience points. For example, a character with Gilded Cage 2 can know an unlimited number of one-dot and two-dot rituals (provided the experience points are paid to learn each), but he may not learn any three-dot rituals until his Gilded Cage trait increases to 3. Each time a character acquires a dot in Gilded Cage (including at character creation), he gains a ritual of that level at no additional cost.

Dice Pool: Intelligence + Occult + Gilded Cage

Action: Extended. The number of successes required to activate a ritual is equal to the level of the ritual (so a three-dot rite requires three successes to enact). Each roll represents one turn of casting. Note that each point of damage suffered in a turn is a penalty to the next casting roll made for the character.

If a character fails to complete a ritual in time (such as by being sent into torpor before accumulating enough successes) or he decides to cancel the performance before garnering enough successes, the effect simply fails. Spent Willpower is not recovered.

Utfall

Dramatic Failure: The ritual fails spectacularly, either inflicting some aspect of itself as a detrimental effect upon the caster or causing a reversed effect.
Failure: No successes are accumulated toward the required total.
Success: The number of successes rolled is accumulated toward the total required. Once that total is met, the ritual takes place as described.
Exceptional Success: Five or more successes are gathered than needed to perform the ritual. The effect takes place as described. In many cases extra successes are their own reward, conferring additional duration or capacity.

Modifikationer

Modd Situation
+2 Power is used in the downtown/center of a major city
+2 Power applies to a vampire with whom the user has a blood tie
+1 Power is used in the downtown/center of a minor city
0 The character is unaffected by threats or distractions
0 Power is used in a moderately sized urban environment
-1 Power is used in the downtown/center of a town
-1 Per Health point lost to an attack
-1 to -3 The character is rushed or distracted, such as by invoking a ritual in combat or while trapped in a burning building. This penalty is cumulative with multiple distractions (such as by casting a ritual in combat during a hurricane). Successes gained on a meditation roll for the night (see p. 51 of the) offset interruption penalties on a one-for-one basis.
-2 Power is used in a small urban area
-3 Power is used on the outskirts of civilization

● Paths of the Prey

This ritual combines an ability to read ley lines with intimate knowledge of the traffic flow of a city to make it much easier for a vampire to find mortals suitable for feeding. While any Damned knows she can find someone drunk in the Rack, someone using this ritual can find a ready, willing vessel in the downtown business core on a Monday night by following the flows of energy and probability, and by knowing of places where the city’s layout clouds mortal minds. Successes achieved on this ritual are added as bonus dice to the hunting roll made for the vampire that night (and for that night only). Only one casting of this rite can affect a user at a time. The rite can be performed on another vampire after a “consultation” with the caster in person.

Ways and Means: A detailed city-planning map of the area to be hunted

● Red Light

Traversing a well-planned city should be effortless, while crossing a poorly planned city is a daunting task. Using this ritual, an Architect is able to increase the amount of time it takes a subject to get from one point to another by invoking the random functions of the city to plague him. Victims of this ritual hit every light red, are caught behind trucks that break down in the middle of the street, are detoured by construction and are unable to find parking. A victim must be in the same city as the caster, and the caster must specify what location (typically about a five-block area) is made difficult to access. Each success on the ritual increases the base time required to get to that location by 25%. Exceptional success simply triples the travel time required. So, if normal transit requires 30 minutes, two successes increase that by 50%, for a total travel time of 45 minutes. Five or more successes make it a 90-minute trip.

No more than one casting of Red Light can apply to a single subject at a time. If the subject gives up trying to reach one destination and heads to another in a different part of town, a new casting must be performed to befuddle him again. The Direction Sense Merit has no benefit for the subject. He knows where he needs to go, he just can’t get there.

Ways and Means: Specification of the inaccessible locale

●● Green Light

The opposite of Red Light, this ritual enables an Architect to use secret detours, lucky coincidences, clear roads and traffic lights to help hurry someone from one point to another. Each success (getting only one doesn’t count) cuts travel time by 10%, down to a minimum of 50% of the base time. So, if a trip normally takes an hour and three successes are achieved, 18 minutes are shaved off the trip. (Accumulating only one success before the rite has to be terminated nets no results.) If the ritual is cast on someone else, the Architect must be in the same city as the subject, and must specify to what destination the rite applies. If the subject changes destinations for any reason, the ritual no longer applies and travel time returns to normal. Another casting is required for the subject’s new destination. If the ritual is performed on the Mason himself, the effects last for an entire night, making all travel for the evening faster. Note that a subject’s actual Speed does not increase. No more than one casting of Green Light can apply to a subject at a time.

Ways and Means: A planner’s triangle, a map of the city and a current schedule of the city’s public transportation

●● Aura of the Monolith

Great architecture inspires compelling emotions, be they of awe, reverence or fear. This ritual allows the caster to link herself symbolically to a great structure in order to enhance her personal aura, giving her something of the authority and radiance of the structure itself. For each
success achieved on the activation roll (accumulating only one nets no result), one bonus die is gained on Social rolls that involve the same emotion or premise that the building invokes. Intimidation and Persuasion rolls are most likely to be affected, but Expression rolls could be affected if a building is an arts hall, for example. The effect works only as long as the caster has direct line of sight to the structure in question, and the rite can be called upon throughout the night in which it is cast, as long as the same building comes into view again.

Changing buildings requires a new incantation. No more than one ritual can be active at the same time. The inspirational structure must be directly visible to the naked eye, not through binoculars or on television.

Example: Marie wants to enhance her personal aura of rightful authority, so casts Aura of the Monolith with a link to City Hall. Her player gets three successes. So long as she is in line of sight to City Hall, her player gains three extra dice to likely Social rolls, such as influencing others with Intimidation or Persuasion. If the Storyteller agrees, even Subterfuge rolls could be affected.

Ways and Means: Line of sight to the structure in mind

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