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Thaumaturgy: Path of Prime

by: Jimbo A Legacy Article from Sanguinus Curae

The Path of Prime is a newly developed area of study. Its existence cannot be confirmed anytime before the late nineteenth century, though owing to the secrecy of the Tremere it may have existed for far longer before the other clans found out about it. To date, it is believed to be the closest that the Tremere have gotten in their attempts to re-create their lost powers of True Magick. It involves the use of Vitae to perceive and, at the higher levels, manipulate Quintessence, the source of creation from which True Mages draw their power. Generally, only the eldest of Tremere possess this potent path, though some ancilla have been taught the lower levels. No vampire outside the Tremere Clan is believed to posses this path, and any that do would immediately find the entire clan arrayed against them, should they be discovered.
Note: The Path of Prime may not be chosen as a new character's primary path unless he was a Mage before the Embrace with at least one level in the Sphere of Prime. Otherwise, the mystical understanding involved in the use of Quintessence just isn't there. Other Thaumaturges of Clan Tremere may learn this as a secondary path following the normal rules, however.
Another Note: Players desiring for their characters to posses this Path are strongly urged to read up on the rules for Mages in 'Mage: The Ascension' before they allow their characters to use it.

Sense Quintessence
As the name implies, this allows the Thaumaturge to sense the proximity and relative strength of Quintessence. This applies to True Mages, Nodes, Tass or another Vampire making use of the Path of Prime at any level. Any source within one hundred yards is picked up.
System: No roll is required merely to sense that Quintessence is somewhere within the radius of detection. Indeed, the power is always active. However, to determine the location and strength of the source, the Kindred must roll willpower against a difficulty of 5 plus the arcane level of the source in question, if any. Should multiple sources be present, they are all detected at the same time.
1 Success- Direction of Source
2 Successes- Strength of Source
3 Successes- Distance to Source
4 Successes- Source is immediately identifiable, if it can be seen

See Quintessence ●●
At this level, the Thaumaturge can actually see the weavings of Quintessence as they take place. After a source has been detected with Sense Quintessence, the Kindred can use this power to learn more about it. This applies to True Mages casting sphere magic and Vampires using and Thaumaturgy Path or Ritual. Also, Quintessence being channeled by a Mage (or by a Thaumaturge skilled in the higher levels of this path) from Tass or a Node can be seen and tracked back to it's source.
System: The Thaumaturge must spend 1 Blood Point and roll willpower against a difficulty of 7.
1 Success- What sphere of Magic or Path of Thaumaturgy being used can be determined. Any source of Quintessence is immediately visible as if 4 successes had been scored on a Sense Quintessence roll.
2 Successes- Effects of any use of Thaumaturgy can be determined, Path or Ritual.
3 Successes- Channeled Quintessence can be traced, effects of True Magick being cast can be determined.

'Drink' Quintessence ●●●
At this point in ability, the Thaumaturge may use Quintessence to sustain himself. By channeling Quintessence from a target into himself, the Thaumaturge is able to nourish himself as if he had drank blood. The Quintessence does not actually turn into blood. Instead, its power is used to greatly increase the potency of the blood already in the Thaumaturge, causing it to be more sustaining. This may not be attempted unless the Thaumaturge has at least Three Blood Points in his system already. At the Storytellers discretion, Kindred who use this power as their only source of nourishment may suffer penalties or even derangements from this constant drawing of power into their systems and the fact that Vampires were cursed to drink blood, not magic.
System: The Thaumaturge must be in sight of his target and have already identified it with either four successes on a Sense Quintessence roll or one success on a See Quintessence roll. The Thaumaturge spends one willpower to make the attempt and rolls his willpower against a difficulty of the target's willpower (for a mage), 7 (for Tass), or 8 (for a Node). The number of successes scored indicates how many turns the character may 'drink' before having to re-roll to see if he can continue. Two points of quintessence may be drained each turn. Every point of Quintessence drained corresponds to one Blood Point gained by the Thaumaturge, and no more than 8 points of Quintessence may be drained from a single target in one night. Mages may roll Perception + Awareness at a difficulty of 7 to detect the Thaumaturge's attempt when it is first done. If he fails, he gets the same roll at a difficulty of 9 every turn that the Thaumaturge continue until he has to recast. If the mage detects the Thaumaturge, he may roll his willpower against the Thaumaturge's. Every success scored by the mage cancels one of the Thaumaturge's, forcing him to break off sooner. If a mage drops to a quintessence of 1, he automatically detects the vampire. Mages in an effected node or in the possession of effected Tass may roll Perception + Awareness, difficulty 7, when the discipline is first used to detect the attempt. Two or more successes allow them to determine the exact location of the vampire. The draining of Tass or a Node may be countered by any mage in the node or in possession of the Tass with Prime of 2 or more rolling his Arete against a difficulty of the Vampire's willpower. Each success cancels one of the vampire's, again forcing him to break off sooner. Mages are usually understandable angry when they detect a vampire 'raping' a node in this way.

Counter Quintessence ●●●●
This level of the Path of Prime is perhaps the most frightening to True Mages, the few who are aware of it's existence. The Thaumaturge may use the power of his vitae to make it more difficult for True Mages to work Quintessence for Sphere Magic.
System: For every blood point spent by the Thaumaturge, the difficulty of the Mage's attempt to use Sphere Magic is increased by 1. No more than four blood points may be spent per spell in this manner, and this must not exceed the vampire's generational maximum of blood points that may be spent per turn. This effect only works on spells that would directly affect the Thaumaturge or one of his previously used abilities. As usual, interpretation of the word 'Directly' is left to the Storyteller.

Use Quintessence ●●●●●
This, the pinnacle of understanding of the Path of Prime, is known to only a handful of Tremere. Now, that Thaumaturge can actually channel quintessence to fuel his use of Thaumaturgy. While this Quintessence may not come from a live Mage, as with the level three Drink Quintessence ability, it is still a potent power and many kindred who can use it have taken to carrying around articles of Tass with them.
System: For every point of Quintessence used in this way, the difficulty of the Thaumaturgy ability being used is lowered by one. This may apply to all paths of Thaumaturgy. No more than three points of Quintessence may be spent in this manner per turn. Only quintessence from Nodes and Tass may be used. Using Tass does not require a roll, but drawing from a Node requires a willpower roll with a difficulty of 8. No more than ten points of Quintessence may be spent in this manner per night, and no more than four points of Quintessence may be drawn from a Node for this purpose. Also, Nodes and Tass may be used either for this power or for the level three 'Drink Quintessence,' not both in the same night by the same vampire. At the Storyteller's discretion, this power may also apply to the use of Auspex, Chimerstry, Temporis, Mythercia and Necromancy but only with the storyteller's express permission. Also, only one quintessence point per turn may be spent to lower the difficulties of these disciplines, not three.

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