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Necromancy: Path of the Crumbling Avatar

by: Reno Camilani A Legacy Article from Sanguinus Curae

Giovanni necromancers at the Mausoleum have made another breakthrough in the black arts: the Path of the Crumbling Avatar. This path ignores wraiths (for the most part) and focuses almost entirely on corpses instead, similar to the Bone Path, although the Crumbling Avatar deals more with uses of the corpses themselves (and their putrefaction).

Survey ●
This power lets a Necromancer discern details about the death of a corpse. It's similar to the Auspex power The Spirit's Touch, but it doesn't have to do with emotion as much. Survey gives cold, hard facts.
System: The character rolls Perception + Occult, the difficulty varies depending on the corpse's state of decomposition:

Difficulty Time Dead
5 Less than an hour
6 An hour to 72 hours
7 Three days to 10 days
8 10 days to three weeks
9 Three weeks to seven weeks
10 Seven weeks to three months

After three months of decomposition, Survey automatically fails. For every success rolled by the Necromancer, a piece of information is gleaned from the corpse. Common tidbits include the subject's age, physical size/shape at time of death, nature of the death, time of the death, perpetrator (if it was a murder), etc.

Taint ●●
By agitating the decay of a cadaver, a Necromancer may contaminate the surrounding environment. Air becomes difficult to breathe, water becomes polluted and useless, plants wither and animals become diseased. The corpse disintegrates into ash after this power has been used successfully on it once (and becomes unusable for powers of this path in the future).
System: Roll Intelligence + Occult. Use the chart for Survey to determine difficulty, but reverse the numbers (example: a two-week old corpse is difficulty 7, a two-month old corpse is difficulty 5). On success, an aura of putrefaction extends around the corpse by 5 feet per success. Oxygen-breathers find it difficult to respirate, and the stench is nauseating. Any air-breather in the area must roll Stamina (difficulty 8), success means they may remain in the area, but if they don't have something over their mouth (like a scarf or other article of clothing), they're at a one-die penalty to all rolls. Failure means they take a level of bashing damage. A botch means a level of bashing damage and a round in which the mortal can take no action, as he vomits and fights nausea. The air-breather must make a Stamina roll every turn they're in the Tainted radius. Plants around the area die, and animals' cells begin to degenerate.

Stop Decay ●●●
This power is aptly named. It lets a Necromancer interrupt the decomposition of a body for a period of time. While affected by Stop Decay, a cadaver stays exactly as it was before the casting (unless an outside force acts upon it, like a coroner tossing it into an incinerator).
System: The Necromancer rolls Wits + Occult (difficulty 7). Each success halts the decomposition of the corpse for one week.

Corpse Eruption ●●●●
This violent ability detonates a carcass, spraying tissue, bones, and fluids in a sphere around it. Necromancers generally use this power to deter opponents in a fight if a mortal gets defeated. The shrapnel from the corpse causes damage, temporary blindness, and even disease. There generally isn't much left of an identifiable body after Corpse Eruption has been used.
System: Roll Strength + Occult (difficulty 8). Each success creates a blast radius of two feet around the corpse. In this area, bones snap off and fly at high velocity, blood is sprayed like water from a hose, and sheets of skin rip off and splatter themselves against objects. Anything in the blast radius gets coated with the grisly debris and takes the number of successes rolled in lethal damage (Stamina and Fortitude may be used to resist this). If three levels of damage get through, the victim must make another Stamina roll (Fortitude may be used). If she blows this roll, she has contracted a degenerative disease (gangrene, rot, maybe even leprosy, at the Storyteller's discretion). Also, unless a victim's eyes are fully protected, it takes two turns for the fluid to be wiped out before he/she may make an action (unless they choose to go blind). The explosion lasts for two turns, after that, the corpse is obviously useless.

Resurrection ●●●●●
This power gives a Necromancer the power of life and death. When used on a corpse that has been dead for less than a week, it brings it back to life as though it had never died. It's a rather difficult power, and is used sparingly. Some devoutly Christian Necromancers refuse to learn it, claiming that it smacks too much of their God's power.
System: The character rolls Intelligence + Occult. Difficulty is 6 for a simple animal (rats, bats, bunnies, etc.), 7 for more complex beasts (lions, hawks, dolphins), 8 for an ordinary human, 9 for werewolves and Mages, and 10 for changelings (should the opportunity ever arise). This power actually reinserts the soul of the dead back into their body. It will not tear a spirit directly out of the Shadowlands, but the wraith (or Specter) will feel drawn back to their body and will generally make their way towards it (unless they are prevented from doing so). If the body has any damage done to it, this power heals it all when the spirit re-enters, even flushing out cancer, STDs, and other diseases, giving the person a fresh start. If the body died of old age, it dies again in a week. Resurrection may break the Masquerade if it is well-known that the person died (imagine if JFK or Martin Luther King had been revived).

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