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Theurgy

by: Jesse Balanger A Legacy Article from Sanguinus Curae

Theurgy is similar to Thaumaturgy, save for the source of the magics. Some Theurgists say that their powers are gifts from God. Some say that they harness the divinity inherent in their vitae. The few Thaumaturgists who know of them accuse them of theft, despite the inherent differences in style. Some few don't really care: it gets the job done.
It is interesting to note, however, that some unscrupulous Kindred have attempted to learn the secrets of Theurgy, and try though they may, they can never grasp the higher mysteries. A Kindred's Theurgy rating may never be higher than his Humanity; Kindred on a path (including the Path of Heaven) cannot learn Theurgy. If a vampire's Humanity degenerates past his Theurgy rating, he is unable to access the higher powers, though he may regain access if he regains his Humanity.
Though Theurgy does have some of its own, unique paths, other paths are available, just not as widely spread. Though the names and styles differ, the costs, rolls, and effects are the same. Other paths currently available to Theurgists are Refining Fires (Lure of the Flames), The Unseen Hand (Movement of the Mind), Waters of the Earth (Neptune's Might), and Command the Base Forms (Elemental Mastery).
Due to the nature of this Discipline, each level of True Faith the Theurgist possesses adds one die to the roll. Otherwise, the pool is normally figured exactly as Thaumaturgy (roll Willpower, difficulty is the power level used +3).


Path of Travel
Note: Extra Blood may be spent to affect others as well with the following powers as follows: 1 BP for one extra target, 3 BP for two extra, 6 BP for three, and so on. If the number of targets exceeds the vampire's spending limit, multiple rounds must be taken, and the power goes into effect when the last BPs have been spent. Any successes gained on the roll must be divided up amongst all who will receive the benefit of this power.
This Path was developed for the Harkener branch of the bloodline. Its use was widespread in the days before cars, trains, and airplanes. As such, most of the younger members of the bloodline disdain its use, though those more than a couple centuries old still prefer these methods of travel. All uses require the Theurgist to burn a small part of his life force, costing at least 1 Blood Point to use; additional costs will be outlined in specific powers.

The Long Run
This power adds to the user's land movement. Roll Dexterity + Athletics (dif. 6); each success gained is spent to either increase the user's running speed by 15 mph or to give a duration of 15 minutes. Note that no extra actions are conferred by this; just the ability to run really, really fast.

Leaps and Bounds ●●
This power increases the user's jumping distance. Roll Willpower (dif 6) and spend one Willpower point. The user can jump (15' x successes) horizontally, or one story per success vertically.

Spider Climb ●●●
This power allows the user to cling to walls and ceilings like an insect. Roll Dexterity + Athletics (dif. 7). Each success give the power a duration of 5 minutes. As a side effect, the user's difficulty to grapple in combat is reduced by one, and the difficulty of anyone/thing trying to knock him over (when he's standing on the floor) is increased by one.

Sky Runner ●●●●
This power allows the user to fly. Roll Willpower (dif. 7) and spend 2 Blood Points and a Willpower point. Each success on the roll allows for four minutes of flight. There is no maximum altitude, but reusing this power while falling is at +2 difficulty.

Here and There ●●●●●
The deepest secret of the Path of Travel is that of teleportation, though it does take its strain on the user. Roll Willpower (dif. 8). The maximum possible distance teleported is as follows:
# successes : distance traveled
1 : 1000 miles
2 : 3000 miles
3 : 5000 miles
4 : 8000 miles
5 : special (With 5 successes, the user may travel to anyplace he has been before, regardless of distance.)
This power costs one Blood Point and one Willpower Point to use; in addition, upon completion of a successful teleport, the user loses two more Willpower points, and is stunned for 10 seconds; he may take no actions other than reflexive ones.


Path of Light
This is one of the main paths used by the Guardians of the Missionariat. Its use focuses on the creation and manipulation of light, both regular and, at the highest levels, sunlight, to banish shadow and darkness, both regular and supernatural. Any of these powers can disrupt shadow power, though such a thing must be focused. A Theurgist may make the power's roll, at a difficulty of 3 + the level of the shadow power being used; each success cancels a success gained by the shadowmancer.
Each use of this Path requires a Blood Point to be spent, aside from the usual roll. Example: Genevieve, a Lasombra, has gotten tired of Julius and his preaching, and has decided to whip up a few shadow tentacles to crush the unlife out of the guy. Julius, not thinking that's a good idea, decides to blow away her tentacles. The two now roll. Genevieve has a Manipulation + Occult of 7, and gains 4 successes on her roll. Julius, using Searchlight, has a Willpower of 6, and True Faith of 1. He rolls his 7 dice at a difficulty of 6 (3, +3 for Arms of the Abyss), and cranks out 3 successes. Genevieve is certainly surprised by the large, brilliant beam of light that not only dazzles her, but obliterates some of her shadows. One tentacle still waves menacingly, however.

Will o' Wisp
This power creates a simple glow of light, 30' radius, at about the brilliance of a 75 watt bulb. It lasts for ten minutes.

Limnus Diam ●●
This use creates a bright, blinding flash of light. All who see it are blinded for three rounds; victims may make a Dexterity + Athletics roll (dif 8) to reduce the number of rounds of blindness, minimum one round.

Searchlight ●●●
This creates a blinding beam of light, 3 feet in diameter, out to 300 yards. It can blind as Limnus Diam, but must be aimed. (It lights things up pretty well, too.) It is considered to be "bright light" for those with the Light Sensitive flaw and Setites.

Blinding Gaze ●●●●
The user of this power must first meet his target's gaze. When the two have locked eyes, a bright beam of sunlight shoots from the eyes of the Theurgist into his opponents' eyes. Non-vampires are blinded for one turn per success; vampires suffer one health level of unsoakable aggravated damage as their eyes are burned from their head. Healing the damage will regenerate their eyes. (Note: If, for some reason, a vampire with three eyes is hit with this, they simply suffer the from the damage, and gain the Flaw: One Eye for a time.) This power is not without its dangers, however. If the roll fails, the Theurgist is blinded for one turn. On a botch, his own eyes are burned in their sockets, causing him the damage and the blindness.

Blade of Light ●●●●●
Some neonates outside the Bloodline who have seen this used (and survived) call its practitioners "Obi-Wan". It does more or less what it says: creates a blade of pure, direct sunlight from the caster's hand. As it has no substance, it cannot be used to parry other weapons, the exception being mystical shadows, against which it does damage as above. The roll is Dex + Melee, difficulty 5. It cannot be blocked or parried, and armor is no use against it. Against non-vampires, the blade does one level of fire damage. Mortals can soak this on a Stamina (dif 8) roll. Against vampires, they are affected as though the body part hit was exposed to direct sunlight: three levels of aggravated damage, soakable only with Fortitude (dif. 9). The blade lasts for the duration of one combat, or a scene when not used in combat. It can be ended prematurely.
Given enough time, the blade can burn through flammable mundane objects as well. For example, if held on/next to a rope, the rope will eventually smolder and burn.


Prayers (Rituals)
Theurgy Prayers are identical in function to Thaumaturgy Rituals. In form, however, they are radically different. The main dichotomy is the Thamaturgist's view of, "By my will this is done," versus the Theurgist's view of, "By God's will is this done." Regardless, many Prayers duplicate familiar Thaumaturgy Ritual effects, though the components are usually altered. For example, Innocence of the Child's Heart requires a child's smile, freely given. Feel free to take appropriate Thaumaturgy Rituals and use them as prayers, with the key word being "appropriate". Mourning Life Curse is probably OK; Escape to a True Friend is quite suitable; Night of the Red Heart is right out.


Level 1 Rituals

Sense True Faith
The user of this ritual merely closes his eyes and concentrates, holding his cross, crucifix, or what-have-you, between his hands, and rolls Perception + Alertness, difficulty 6. The character's own True Faith works against him, for once, as his own Faith obscures the Faith of others. Each level takes away one success, though it's not possible to botch because of it. At one success, the character can determine who in his presence has True Faith (not Pagan or any other Faith); three successes will tell him the Faith's level.

Stumbling Block
This simple, yet effective ritual, requires the representation of a misshapen cube of some kind. (M.C. Escher's "Impossible Cube" is very popular among the more modern Theurgists.) To release the Prayer's power, the Theurgist utters a short verse, and tosses the representation at his target. As long as it lands within two yards of its intended victim, he will trip over an invisible nothing and fall from his feet.

Paper Guide
Handy for when you know where you need to go, but have no idea how to get there, this Prayer requires an eagle's feather quill and a piece of paper. The Theurgist concentrates on where he needs to go, and the quill will begin to ink out a map of how to get there, including landmarks, major street names, and the like. It will not point out dangers, nor will the map change if a change happens to the environment (i.e., a rockslide blocks off a road, etc.).

Level 2 Rituals

Safe Haven (Harkener versio)
A slight improvement on Defense of the Sacred Haven, this is often used to enchant travel gear such as sleeping bags and tents. An item so enchanted becomes much more durable to wind and weather, able to stand up to hurricane forces without suffering damage. (A knife will still go clean through it, however.) More importantly, the item becomes fully opaque, allowing no sunlight in whatsoever. The item in question must have survived at least one storm in order to be enchanted.

Safe Haven (Guardian Version)
The Guardians developed their own version of this Prayer, as they have little need for tents and the like. Instead, it functions in a similar manner to Defense of the Sacred Haven, allowing no sunlight into an area as large as a one family dwelling. In addition, the area is fireproofed; it becomes invulnerable to normal fires, and takes half damage from any supernatural ones.

Level 3 Rituals

Focus the All Seeing Eye
This prayer requires only a half-hour's meditation on the use of blood by the vampiric body. Its effects are subtle, but powerful. For the rest of the night, after the meditation is complete, the Theurgist may spend Blood Points on his Mental Attributes as if they were Physical Attributes, with the same costs and limitations. However, the use of Blood Points to increase Physical Attributes is lost for the rest of the night. Other functions of the Blood (disciplines, healing, etc.) are not lost.

Level 4 Rituals

Impregnable Gate
A specially prepared scroll, with ink made from at least a bit of iron, is required for this Prayer. The scroll must be detailed and errorless; at least a month is required to ink it. Once tacked up over a door, however, the door locks, and requires at least a 10 on the "Feats of Strength" chart to break down. (Tougher doors may require more, at Storyteller discretion.) The ink begins to fade as soon as the scroll is put up; it will last for seven days, or until removed. The scroll can be re-inked, even if taken down early. The person who inked the scroll is unaffected by it.

Level 5 Rituals

Ward versus Demon
This affects demons (true demonic entities, not Baali or those with investments) as for Ward vs. Ghouls. The item to be warded must be blessed by a mortal priest who has been specifically asked to bless it for use against demonic powers. The priest must use his own free will. There is a Warding Circle version of this as well, with the same requirement.

Cleanse Investments
A splash of holy water on the target is all that is needed. The Theurgist rolls Willpower + True Faith (difficulty 10 - the number of Demonic Investments the targets possesses, minimum 2). Each success causes one randomly chosen Investment to cease functioning for an hour. This does not work against formori; those are a totally different brand of evil. If a formori has Demonic investments, it will only work on the Investments, not the formori powers.

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