Necromancy - The Cenotaph Path

Experienced Ghiberti Kindred recognized that mystically compelling the dead required an extensive knowledge of the ghosts to be so commanded. Whereas many among the family content themselves with mastery of the occasional wraith and the means to affect corpses or the Underworld, more erudite practitioners looked into necromantic means to unearth locations or objects holding strong ties to the dead. Some such studies became rituals, whereas others developed into a discrete path concerned primarily with discovering or forging links between the living world and the Shadowlands.

Most students of Necromancy attribute the creation of the Cenotaph Path to the eras following the World Wars. The great numbers of dead and dying across the world, especially with displaced soldiers flung to far corners of the globe, made for a brisk trade in soul-catching. Those Ghiberti who could “sniff out” the recently dead (especially in quantity) managed to augment their pursuits with the use of Cenotaph Necromancy to find objects or locations important to the legions of wraiths. A few older members of the Giovanni point out that similar powers proved useful during the ancient heyday of Mediterranean expansion, in seeking out death cults or battlefields during the prime of Rome and Italy. Regardless, the path remains something of a rarity, as it serves primarily to amplify the other powers of an already-skilled Necromancer.

Cenotaph Necromancy seems to function on the principle that a Kindred, already a cadaver, is an unnatural bridge between the living and the dead. Through this principle, the path allows the Necromancer to find other, similar linkages. The basic rudiments of the Cenotaph Path function easily enough once the Kindred learns to attune himself to these connections. Advanced mastery of the path usually entails some brief ritual to forge artificial connections, either through breaking taboos to draw the Shadowlands closer by focusing unsavory passions or through techniques of authority and purity designed to command the two disparate worlds together.

A Touch of Death

Just as a Necromancer may exert mastery over the Shadowlands, so too can some ghosts exert themselves in the mortal world. Whereas obvious displays of wraithly power such as bleeding walls or disembodied moans certainly won’t be mistaken, some ghostly abilities exert subtle effects that aren’t easily recognized. A Necromancer sensitized to the residue of the dead, though, can feel whether an object has been touched by a ghost or sense the recent passage of a wraith.

System: The Necromancer simply touches a person or object that he suspects is a victim of ghostly influence. The player rolls Perception + Occult (difficulty 6). If successful, the Necromancer can determine whether a ghost has exerted any sorts of wraithly power on the subject, or even crossed nearby, to the duration detailed below.

1 Success — Lasts a turn; detect use of ghostly power
2 Successes — Last three turns; detect use of ghostly powers
3 Successes — Lasts an hour; detect ghost’s touch and use of ghostly powers
4 Successes — Lasts a day; detect ghost’s touch and use of ghostly power
5 Successes — Lasts a week; detect nearby passage of ghost, ghost’s touch and use of ghostly power

On a failure, the Necromancer receives no impressions. A botch reveals a misleading answer (an object may seem tinged with ghostly power when it’s not, or vice versa). Should the Necromancer succeed in detection while touching an object or person that a ghost is possessing, he immediately becomes aware that the ghost is still inside. The impression gained in such a case is sufficient to count as a “strong psychic impression” for purposes of the Sepulchre Path’s powers, so the Kindred may be able to (for example) immediately command a ghost to exit a person whom it possesses.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License