V20 Dark Ages: Koldunic Sorcery

Vampire: The Masquerade

Hi everyone following Dark Ages and its development. I wanted to stop by  briefly, poking my head up from the final development pass, and share something I thought was super cool.

This is V20 Dark Ages’s answer to Koldunism. It’s one of the few truly unique additions to V20 Dark Ages. I felt it hit on some important thematic notes for the Tzimisce and the Dark Medieval World, and it embodies one of our design philosophies for this supplement:

New Rules, Old Rules

Part of our philosophy of bringing an authentic but not always accurate experience is offering some new angles and ideas in game rules. If you’re familiar with past iterations of Dark Ages, you’ll notice that some of the Disciplines have changed, and some of this, that, and the other thing might be a little different. We want to give you a little more bang for your buck and provide some fresh content to go along with the swaths of reprinted and recompiled material. If you prefer the new editions, that’s great. If you prefer the old editions, we’ve written this book to be highly compatible with old content. If you prefer the Vampire: the Dark Ages version of Superpowerus 5 over ours, use it.

Because of the Genius Loci ability acting as a pretty solid mirror for the old Way of Spirit, you could easily adapt these kraina as Revised Vampire the Masquerade Koldunic Sorcery Paths, or you could adapt them forward for use with V20 Dark Ages’s version.

Koldunic Sorcery has been presented by Renee Knipe. You might remember her from the Werewolf chapter of Dark Ages: Darkening Sky. She’s also offered up our Tzimisce clan writeup, our version of Vicissitude, the Gargoyles bloodline, and a number of other bits and pieces throughout the book.

This particular draft is in editing, so don’t worry about minor usage and typo stuff.

  54 comments for “V20 Dark Ages: Koldunic Sorcery

  1. shkspr1048
    July 22, 2014 at 12:01 am

    Wonderfully written, and very evocative. Will there be text given on the change from this form to the modern V20 style of Koldunic Sorcery?

    • machineiv
      July 22, 2014 at 12:07 am

      Maybe not in Dark Ages V20 as it stands, because it’s being written as its own little island. But I might give it some attention and space in some later content.

  2. kyle h
    July 22, 2014 at 12:29 am

    FINALLY a version of Koldunic Sorcery worthwhile. The other versions just haven’t clicked, and seemed like fairly bland Thaum derivatives. This not only lends more flavor to the style, but the lead in description bothers to explain exactly how it differs from hermetic style magic. In very few sentences, at that. All this, and it really gives the Fiends the type of powers to back up their claim as lords of their domains. It services in every single way to be unique and evocative, leaving the reader wanting to know more about it.

    • machineiv
      July 22, 2014 at 12:35 am

      Thank you! That’s exactly the response we were hoping for with this.

      Let’s hope we get to flesh it out with supplementary material later.

    • Renee
      July 22, 2014 at 12:53 am

      I can’t tell you how much it pleases to me to see comments like these. It was a bit scary to break from tradition, but it was also my favorite part of the assignment and the thing I most wanted to show others!

      • kyle h
        July 22, 2014 at 1:55 am

        Honestly, you somewhat built in a great flaw that explains the decline in its use over the years. Amusingly enough, it lines up with the clan weakness as well. They are tied to the land, and this really shows that their magic is caught up in the essence of their identity just as much as the force that animates them. We all very much are marked by our place of origin. However, newer Tzimisce tend to be from areas like Bakersfield CA. Two handfuls of dirt is fine enough to get buy on, but there isn’t any proud tradition of magic in places like that. Nothing to be passed down thru the ages. As the clan spread, it was simply too much work to develop new magic for these areas. Disinterest or simply obliviousness set it, and now you have their current situation: only the oldest of the old-school seem to use it.

        I would, however, think that the occasional occult minded Tzimisce from somewhere like Vegas or Paris can whip up something really amazing that captures the spirit of the place he is tied to. It would be rare, but absurdly interesting.

        Thats what I’m loving about it. You only used a few paragraphs, and didn’t exhaustively churn out rules. You laid it out, and got out of the way to let the reader form the rest of the ideas. More like this. (and also, can we get Setite Sorcery this kind of love? or at LEAST a real name?)

        • machineiv
          July 22, 2014 at 1:58 am

          Let’s see if we can find space in some supplement or another soon. I’d love to play with the Setites a bit.

          And I totally want to see a California Kraina.

          • JezMiller
            July 22, 2014 at 3:53 am

            And now I have the Eagles’ “Hotel California” running through my head and I’m finding little coded vampiric messages in the lyrics. Oh, dear…

          • PrimalFlame
            July 22, 2014 at 4:03 pm

            I’d like to see a Mexican Kraina! No other (New World) land evokes the relationship between blood and soil as Mexico!

        • Renee
          July 22, 2014 at 7:35 am

          Yeah, exactly…I wanted distinguish each koldun, make them old and powerful and uniquely tied to these places that they’ve bonded with through their own blood. But also, a little bit trapped by it.

          A Vegas kraina would rock. 🙂

  3. Possessed
    July 22, 2014 at 3:08 am

    This was marvelous piece of work. Making Koldunism more evocative and unique than ever before with a nice bonus for those who remain within the lands they draw their power from.

    Only thing I will be missing, and it’s mostly since in our Sabbat game it has been the most used power, is the healing power of the former Koldunic Way of the Earth. Still a minor thing compared to the awesomeness contained herein.

    And the only other thing to note is that Genius Loci seems to have remained the same as it was as Way of the Spirit which got a lot of heat on the grounds that it allowed one easy way to penetrate Obfuscate. So be prepared to hear more about that one.

    Still the two kraina we got are perhaps the best writing I have yet seen from DAV20. Too bad there were not more of these.

    As a final thing there is no mention of Koldunic Rituals which I would hope are still within the book.

    • machineiv
      July 22, 2014 at 3:50 am

      Let me see if we can squeeze a few into the space. Not sure yet. Otherwise, I’ll find room later. We have an overwhelming amount of blood sorcery in this book, I’ve got to be careful.

      As far as the healing thing, this isn’t the last we’re going to see of Koldunism. Bear with us.

  4. Hawthorn
    July 22, 2014 at 3:49 am

    Very interesting. I agree with previous posters that this is far more evocative then the previous versions of Koldunism.

    Out of interest, you’ve already shown how Tremere Thaumaturgy is differnet (Lesser/Greater path divide + drawbacks to Path of Blood)
    How Lamia (and Nagaraja) Necromancy has changed (making it more Lilith focused in the former’s case and making closer to the old Nihalistics in the latters)
    Now you’ve shown how the Tzimisce’s magic is getting a new flavour to it.

    So, the question is, have you done similar things for Assamite and Settite Sorcery to give them a more unique feel away from the base line of “generic Thaumaturgy”?

    Likewise, Machine IV you mentioned that Abyss Mysticism has a small section in the book as well. So has that received similar revamped treatment?

    I really hope one of the Kickstarter goals is a big book (M20 Book of the Fallen style) all about Blood Magic in this new version of DA Vampire. As I would love to see unique and interesting takes like this version of Koldunism on the Assamites and Settites (not to mention more Koldunism as well)

    Knocked this out of the park.

    • machineiv
      July 22, 2014 at 3:52 am

      Abyss Mysticism is in there. There are nine powers I believe. Not a huge treatment. But it’s keen stuff. Enough that I feel we can expand upon it.

      When we start Kickstarting, keep that on the tip of your tongue. I’d really like to do more with it.

      We’re not hitting on Setite Sorcery in V20 Dark Ages. I didn’t feel we had space to do it justice. We will touch on it soon as we can. As far as Assamites go, we’re going to have a tiny bit of attention, with more in the pipeline.

  5. JezMiller
    July 22, 2014 at 3:49 am

    And I didn’t think I’d be all that interested in the Discipline section. This is superb. What really makes me applaud isn’t so much the individual powers (not that those aren’t well done) but the consistent theme running through it – magic that is derived from and shaped by the land of its origin, rather than just being a Coca versus Pepsi Hermetic variant. The little references to geography and history throughout give a sense of depth to it – “we’re only showing you the surface here, but like an iceberg, there’s a lot more hidden underneath”. The net result is something that – in a necessarily minimalist fashion, given your word count limitations – gives a feeling of a developed mature shamanic tradition and culture rather than a D&D-ish grab-bag of kewl powerz. And it fits the Tzimisce like a glove.

    The very first Dark Ages, if memory serves, was the game that introduced the concept of combination Disciplines, allowing high-generation vampires to develop signature powers for the first time. That idea was a great success and subsequently adopted by Masquerade and eventually, Requiem as well. I wouldn’t be surprised if this has a similar effect in setting a new standard for Koldunism and perhaps in time, other thaumaturgies.

    • Renee
      July 22, 2014 at 6:03 pm

      That’s some high praise there, Jez. I can only hope to leave such an indelible mark. 🙂

      • JezMiller
        July 23, 2014 at 3:35 am

        I have a feeling that you might. During the V20 development, someone – Rich T or Achilli, I think – commented on the forums that Requiem players tended to be system-orientated, whereas Masquerade players tended to be setting and background orientated. If so, the approach you’ve taken – starting with the setting and background material, and moulding the systems very tightly around it – is precisely the one that’ll appeal to a big percentage of the cWoD fan base. I suspect it may become a de facto standard, and if it does, OP’s bound to pick that up and run with it.

  6. atamajakki
    July 22, 2014 at 4:32 am

    I’m absolutely in love with this; totally nails the “kolduns are the Fiend’s tie to the earth made manifest” while being distinct from Thaumaturgy. These rules do what every good power should do: make me want to make a character around them.

    The totally-not-Deep-Ones did get a smile out of me, however.

  7. Mu
    July 22, 2014 at 6:47 am

    As I said in other occasions, I don’t like much changes that break completely with the former material.

    That said, I have to state that if I have to consider this proposal at its own, I’ll say that it makes a lot of sense. And it is very evocative, as shkspr1048 said. I have to congratulate the writer and the designer.

    The old koldunic sorcery seemed to me a bit, how would I say it? A bit dragonball, with massive earthquake and fire columns. I would say some powers of this ways still are too spectacular, but more moderate.

    The first level of Transylvanian Kraina seems a bit overpower for a level 1, because it allows almost the same as Auspex 5. Maybe you could put some restrictions, as not being able to enter in house and buildings.

    Proposal: You can only learn a Kraina in the lands of that Kraina. So if a transylvanian koldun wants to learn the Black Sea Kraina, she has to travel this land and live in there for a time, maybe visiting the places the powers make reference to.

    • Mu
      July 22, 2014 at 6:58 am

      Also, the Minions of Deep Marmora are way too powerful. Given enough blood you can generate an unlimited amount of creatures, each of them more powerful in combat than the average vampire. Compare them to other creatures generated with other powers. They probably are even more powerful in combat that Gargoyles, which are a lot more expensive to create.

      4 in brawl seems that the newly born creatures know to fight like the best martial artists in the world, and the physical attributes are equally high.

      Another comment: Kupala’s Exhalations state that fire damage is lethal to non vampires, but as far as I know in the Storyteller Sytem fire is aggravated for everyone (even Mages).

  8. Phaolan
    July 22, 2014 at 2:48 pm

    I do like this, and I agree with just about all of the comments above. However, I have two critiques:

    1. The activation roll being Attribute + Occult with a difficulty to Power level + 4 sounds okay, but THEN the reduction by 2 if it’s the koldun’s primary kraina means that my koldunya from Alba Julia will likely get a LOT of successes when she uses Burebista’s Throne ‘coz her difficulty is only 3. Like MU said (above), it’s already a powerful effect, but the basic casting has such a low difficulty as to make the roll little more than a ‘courtesy’ thing… But know that I feel about the same way about ALL blood magics. I ‘houserule’ that the difficulties are always higher than written.

    2. There is no dread fate awaiting a koldun who offends the spirits or fails to perform the proper rites. That is – as pure game mechanics – this blood magic doesn’t have any spelled-out consequence for the player rolling a botch as does Tremere Thaumaturgy. I would absolutely just mandate something nasty if it came up at my table, but I know every Storyteller is not as creative as I am.

    …The above are maybe nitpicks, but they’re the best I have. As stated by everyone above, this is some proper well crafted stuff! It hits the feel of of what these horrid rites are alluded to be in various books.

  9. PrimalFlame
    July 22, 2014 at 4:08 pm

    DA deserts it’s own Rites of the Blood, with more Krainas: Baltic, Kievan and maybe Pannonian (for the plain region Kolduns).

    • Renee
      July 22, 2014 at 4:29 pm

      I actually have a Lithuanian kraina partially written in my work folder, but it had to be set aside due to wordcount. A Russian one was next on my list, as Russia is sort of my favorite place ever in this time period, but I hadn’t settled on which portion of Russia to focus on. Kiev is a location steeped in lore, so it’d be a great option. I had briefly flirted with the idea of doing one for the steppe, but there was just no way it was going to happen at this point in time. I had a few other ideas too. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to explore more of those, although part of me doesn’t want to go too far with it…I like the idea of keeping them kind of open for people to play with, rather than locking down all of Eastern Europe with “official” lore.

      • PrimalFlame
        July 22, 2014 at 10:34 pm

        Hope this content can appear somewhere else, of maybe as a stretch goal, if DA goes kickstarter. Again, DA V20 deserts it’s own Rites of the Blood, and The Onyx Path already has a developer and writers (you guys).

        • Renee
          July 22, 2014 at 10:53 pm

          +1 million

  10. Renee
    July 22, 2014 at 5:58 pm

    I just wanted to pop in again and say thanks to everyone who’s commented so far. The critiques have been good food for thought. The praise has had me smiling all day. Thanks so much everyone!

  11. Valismedsen
    July 22, 2014 at 6:51 pm

    I really liked this approach of Koldunism. Thanks for this!

    I have a question, either to Renee or machineiv. Black Sea Kraina••, Grave Of The Marea Neagr?. How do you think sleeping under water interacts with the tzimisce clan weakness? Does it count as sleeping on the homeland soil? And if the koldun has a different soil than the black sea surroundings, or uses the power on a different location?

    Also, Renee, it would be great to hear something more about the thought process that went in crafting the krainas, to help ST and players develop our own. Anything you could add or share?

    Thanks!

    • Valismedsen
      July 22, 2014 at 8:00 pm

      Also also, is Kupala’s absence from the description intentional? Does it mean a new design direction for the Tzimisce, away from Kupala? If Lithuanian and Russian Tzimisce sorcerers are also practicing Koldunism (I guess Byelobog, a great Koldun from Lithuania, sets a precedent on this, no?), does that mean Koldunic Sorcery is not necessarily tied to or originated from the land beyond the forest and Kupala? Would, for instance, the finnish witch, Gunnhild (clanbook tzimisce Rev. P 23, “the sabbat’s struggle”) be a koldun? Her kraina would be Norse inspired and with runes? (Since we are talking about possible mexican and american krainas…)

      I could get behind this, i kinda like it, actually! But i’m playing with these ideas in my head to see how much they make sense. But this shows how inspiring this take on Koldunic Sorcery is!

      • Renee
        July 22, 2014 at 8:48 pm

        Ah, regarding Kupala…

        (and I’ll keep this one short)

        Kupala gets referenced a tiny bit in my sections. I think I reference him once in the Koldunic Sorcery section. I name drop him a couple times elsewhere. I think one of my co-authors does as well. I even wrote a short fictiony bit for the apocrypha that’s all about Kupala, but I think it’s most likely going to get cut for space.

        The net result is that, unless we go back and add a sidebar or something (most likely in the setting chapter), Kupala’s influence will feel de-emphasized.

        That could be controversial. He is a major part of canon, after all. I’m of two minds about it really. On one hand, people are probably expecting him to be there. On the other, the more you talk about him, the more one note he seems to me, and I’d rather keep him ambiguous and mysterious. On the third hand, he’s an awfully convenient scapegoat for the corruption of the Tzimisce (how did these noble rulers of the land come to known for monstrous fleshcrafting anyway?).

        But right now, in terms of pure wordcount? I talk about Byelbog more than I do Kupala.

        • PrimalFlame
          July 22, 2014 at 10:42 pm

          Kupala could be considered another “spirit of the land”, among many. Kupala is a earthbound, but other spirits, local spirits, aren’t necessarily demons.

          Also, maybe a spirit (including Kupala) isn’t essential to the development of local Krainas… maybe the spirits are nothing but messengers between the land and the Cainite, but sometimes a Cainite could establish a covenant (with the land) without the help of a spirit. The Tzimisce already are “telluric beings,” as expressed by their clan weakness.

        • Phaolan
          July 23, 2014 at 5:53 pm

          If there’s THREE hands in this conversation, this fan of Clan Tzimisce gives it three thumbs up! Also, I applaud the fact of Byelobog getting more words!

    • Renee
      July 22, 2014 at 8:34 pm

      That’s a good question! I think the easiest approach, the one least likely to create discord, would be to rule that the koldun still needs two handfuls of dirt from their sourceland…perhaps soil from the bottom of the black sea, or more generously, from the shore. I think it’s outside the scope of the power to provide immunity to the clan’s weakness, and it doesn’t literally make any body of water an extension of the Black Sea. If a player wanted to carry around a couple of quarts of black sea water as a substitute for soil, I’d be okay with that, though that’s going to be a lot harder to scrape up off the floor in a pinch.

      The process was pretty organic, and pretty interesting. Originally we weren’t even sure we were going to address koldunic sorcery. Wordcount was going to be tight and it wasn’t part of the initial assignment. But there were a lot of people asking about it, so David asked me if I had any ideas for it. I didn’t; I really did care for the traditional elementalist approach so it wasn’t something I’d given much thought to. But being a fan of the Tzimisce, I agreed that we shouldn’t put out a new edition that ignored something that’s been fundamental to the clan for a long time. So I put it on the backburner and went about the business of the rest of my writing.

      In addition to the Tzimisce, I also had the Gargoyles, associated disciplines, associated roads, another bloodline (that I’m going to keep under my hat for now, because I’m not sure whether they’re going to make it in or not), and the whole Eastern Europe/Eurasia part of the setting chapter…pretty much everything I was writing was tightly focused on the Hungary/Carpathia region and east. I had done some research on medieval Russia for personal projects (some of which made it into mine and Stew’s Darkening Sky adventure), but I’m not an Eastern European scholar (unless you count Hammer Horror films, in which case I am way above average), so I immediately grabbed a bunch of research materials and began Evernoting everything. And I kept coming across all these interesting bits of trivia – people, places, and so on. Like the fact that the Black Sea is anoxic, or that Carpathia has these huge methane reservoirs beneath it. Or parts of Transylvania can be vulnerable to flashfloods (upon reflection, that seems pretty obvious, but I’d never given it much thought until I stumbled onto an academic paper about flood levels in medieval Carpathia).

      After I’d accumulated enough of these, it just hit me that this was how my koldunism was going to work…rather than be broken up into traditional elemental paths, which I find ridiculously dull, it was going to be regionally-based. It was going to focus on the things important to actual people and their relationship with the land. If you grew up there, you were going to know *those* lands, and if you were actually standing there, it was going to work even better for you, because you’ve already spent several lifetimes seeding it with your blood.

      So I went through my notes and picked a few locations that I had lots of cool, evocative notes for and started sketching out powers. Some of them I pilfered from V20 or other sources, with only minor tweaks, and others I made up whole cloth. It wasn’t until I was actually writing the piece that I realized it was doing double-duty, both as cool powers and as cool setting material. That made me happy, because I knew the wordcount in the setting chapter was going to be too tight to talk about folks like Burebista. 🙂

      And I guess that’s my advice! Dig into the history of a place, try to appreciate what kinds of things people lived with, good and bad, in their environment. When you do that, you can’t help but stumble onto things that grab you – maybe just a name, or a bit of history that’s particularly cool – and you’ll be like, “yeah, I *have* to use that.”

      I’m going to cut myself off there because I could talk about this forever. Thanks for asking though…throwing myself into this was great fun, and I still have that new geek thing going on where I like to talk about all the things I discovered. :p

      • Renee
        July 23, 2014 at 5:37 am

        One last note, I was obviously approaching this from the angle of a not-very-well traveled USian, but these are real places, so for a lot of people this will be pretty mundane information. I was totally not trying to exotify the cultures of east Europe, but I’m afraid it kind of came off that way.

        • Olivier Jobin
          July 23, 2014 at 8:32 am

          Thanks A LOT for this Renee. I’ll echo my fellow cWoD fans that this is extremely inspiring, and with this background approach you shared, it gives us a good idea of how to take a shot at it for ourselves. Awesome job. 🙂

      • Valismedsen
        July 23, 2014 at 1:22 pm

        Thanks, Renee, for being so generous! I could read about this backstage process all day.

        • Renee
          July 23, 2014 at 6:17 pm

          Thanks! And thanks to you too Olivier.

          It’s a fun process, and we have a fun group. Tightly knit, a nice mix of veterans and fresh voices. And a lot of what’s good about it goes right back to David, who’s fostered a very open, generous community among the writers. It’s going to be a really fun book.

      • kyle h
        July 23, 2014 at 7:17 pm

        A) Hammer films are definitely a more relevant education than an encyclopedia when it comes to WoD. It certainly sets the environment better.

        B) The fact that you based these powers on small but random facts (like methane pockets) is awesome, but you really sold it in an old school horror way. Thats probably what makes this whole section so appealing to the creative mind. For a while now, WoD has had its fair share of Kewl Powers more appropriate to X-Men (see the current unending list in the Lasombra write up a few articles ago). THIS list is something you expect from any given chapter in Stoker. Really, I get the whole horror vampire vibe here more than i have in a long time. Especially the whole “lords of the land” bit. It is a scary bastard who clearly is the master of his domain who can step out and flood a whole basin in his wrath. You can keep the whole mutant power bits, the subtle horrific powers here give me far more pause. They definitely make me paint a much more interesting Tremere/Tzimisce war in my head.

        C) thank you for also sharing an open account of how this came across. It really shows that great ideas grow from small and coherent discoveries rather than starting with “we want them to be like this”. Thats what turned me off about the elemental powers. They seemed to be a case of making four power sets and forcing something in when short of ideas. This was a moment of realization that all these little real-world things could add up to a viable and internally coherent gaming system. I wish more designers stepped away from the “start with a cool power and fill in the blanks” setup.

  12. Vesper
    July 22, 2014 at 8:08 pm

    Koldunic sorcery rarely conveyed any sense of being separate and unique from thaumaturgy in any way. The classic elements used in Slavic areas never sat quite right with me, especially when Russia to Romania offered such a rich mythology for mystical exploitation. This entry, along with some of the other posts, seals my intent to buy and run V20 DA. Beautifully executed rules supplant that image of kolduns as just another type of thaum-wielding vampire and hit so many right notes. I love the idea of twisting kraita to actual modern cities.

  13. Aldo Montoya Reynaga
    July 23, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    -The Tzimisce claim kingship not from heavenly mandate, but from the land itself.- and that was enough to love Koldunic sorcery, Renee i’ love the new way you brought to DA and the terrific Tzimisce.

    The difficult is a little to easy (power level +4) making the first lvl diff 5, and 3 if primary path, all to easy.

    I find that as extra Kranias, you could do Germanic & Nordic kranias as Slavics where from Norway & Sweden also of the east of Elba river. That could reflect Ventrue-Tzimisce conflict too as they loose connection to their lands … Damn i got my first V20 DA chronicle popping

    Again thanks great approach keep the excelent ideas going ppl

  14. July 23, 2014 at 6:03 pm

    This is some really, really great work. I love it! I only wish that the name of the Discipline had been updated. Koldunic Sorcery is a bit of linguistic muddle, since I believe it translates fairly closely to “Sorcerous Sorcery”.

    Koldunism has always been the most unique among the blood magics, but now it’s even further set apart. It’s truly awesome and actually now invites new kraina, whereas before the elemental nature put off any new Ways. How could you just invent new Elements, after all?

    • Renee
      July 23, 2014 at 6:25 pm

      Sorcerous sorcery would be the best sorcery right? Like twice as good as normal sorcery, I would think. :p

      Maybe I should start a thing where I only ever refer to it as “koldunism”.

      And thank you! And thanks to Vesper and Aldo as well! It tickles me that people are so excited (not just about koldunism, but the book as a whole) and already planning chronicles. Now, if the koldunism stuff happens to inspire a few chronicles…well, that’ll be swell. 🙂

      • Aldo Montoya Reynaga
        July 23, 2014 at 6:44 pm

        No, thanks to you, this book will be the One edition to rule them all!!!!
        The Sorcerous sorcery can, no will be, a chronicle inspiration. I´m Gangrel fan but with this a little of the Under the Black Cross and we could get the best West-East Europe conflict history.

        The combat is less overwhelming, there is no point in all the post i have read that sounds like “meh that kind of sucks” even the Mortis disapperance is no biggy.

        Really, keep up the good ideas and take my money

      • kyle h
        July 23, 2014 at 7:23 pm

        no for real, I’m very sure this small couple of pages from an unreleased book has people scrambling to add it to their current games. Characters, new locales for Krainas, whole chronicles… you can already see minds turning.

        btw, its not often a new word gets dropped like that and immediately becomes accepted into the language without batting an eyelash, but “kraina” is now a thing like its been there since the mid 90s.

        • Renee
          July 30, 2014 at 1:06 am

          Hah, it would be cool if that actually happened. And thanks…you just never know when introducing new things how they’ll go over.

      • July 24, 2014 at 3:58 pm

        I’m all for it just being “Koldunism” or something similar. Koldovstvo would be proper Russian for Witchcraft or Sorcery, right? Koldun means warlock, so I guess it’s not sorcerous sorcery so much as “Warlock Sorcery”…which is hilarious considering the Tremere’s nickname.

        But, yeah, the term “Koldunic Sorcery” is from the same era as “Setite Sorcery” and “Assamite Sorcery” but those two got updated to the much-more-fitting Akhu and Dur-An-Ki. Koldunic Sorcery needs an update too, and this seems like a perfect time! You’re already making so many great improvements!

  15. tau neutrino
    July 28, 2014 at 6:33 am

    A bold innovation.

    “Upon earning their first dot in Koldunic Sorcery, the koldun learns the first power associated with their primary kraina. With each new dot, they may take the next power in a kraina they already know, or learn the first power in a new kraina.” Can other kraina be purchased separately, or will 8th generation and above be limited to five dots total?

    Ten dice of lethal damage per turn seems a lot for Restless Medias. Would it be reduced if the targets stand in a doorway or go outside?

    • July 29, 2014 at 2:20 am

      The kraina are learned the same way Ways were learned before. You can put your dots from raising Koldunism itself anywhere (meaning it’s possible to have Koldunism 5 and not a single kraina rated at higher than 1, just put each dot from Koldunism into a different kraina), or stack them all into a single kraina.

      Kraina are likely learned at the same XP cost as Secondary Paths of other forms of blood magic.

    • Renee
      July 29, 2014 at 10:18 pm

      For Restless Medias, I’d definitely reduce the damage pretty liberally, depending on measures taken. And it could end up being revised a bit…all the crunchy bits are, at best, strong suggestions at this point and I’m keeping all the feedback bookmarked. Thank you!

  16. Tacitus
    August 16, 2014 at 8:38 pm

    I just wanted to chime in and say that I really liked this update. I’m an old V:tM player who recently got passionate about the game and started reading through V20. I spent a lot of time these past couple days reading through the V20 Dark Ages previews. Reading the previews, there were some things I liked, some places where I found the tone to be off, and some changes I disliked or found necessary. Generally, I want this book to be written with an eye toward compatibility with V20.

    Despite that last part, I absolutely love this version of Koldunism. It is evocative and it develops the setting in an interesting way. In fact, reading the Clans of Caine preview, I thought the Tzimisce was the best done of the baker’s dozen. The “Appearance” section was particularly good because it created a powerful vision of the traditional Tzimisce Clan, while also foreshadowing things to come in a way that bridges the gap to the Final Nights setting. Also the clan description did a great job of describing the clan, and providing story seeds that are potentially relevant to new characters, without getting bogged down in backstory, metaplot, or signature characters. Following on that, this Koldunism segment was very enjoyable, and altogether, I think this is the best version of the Tzimisce that I have seen. I’m genuinely interested in playing one in a Dark Ages game, and even working some of these concepts into Tzimisce Elders when designing V:TM chronicles.

    The only thing I would like to add is that I would love to see more Kraina where appropriate, and I think that rituals should absolutely be present, and I would love to see rituals that are tied to a particular land/kraina.

  17. August 18, 2014 at 6:13 am

    I’ll write a longer comment later on.

    One thing I wanted to point out, is about the word count. Koldunic sorcery is an important part of the universe, the background. Way more important than previous editions make it believe.

    It’s in the canon that before the Tremere dominion over magic, Tzimisce were the major source of sorcery among Kindred (maybe not the oldest and more powerful one as they boast, the Assamite would have something to say about it, but if a Kindred needed sorcery, Tzimisce was THE way to go).

    And yes we all know that moving forward, the Tremere will get their major status, and dominion over Kindred magic (at least in the Camarilla). However Saulot’s end was 1133, meaning extremely recent. Even in the 13th century of this V20 edition, there’s a war going on. Meaning that the probable current state of “Kindred magic for sale” is, at the very best, a 40%/40% between Tremere blood thaumaturgy and Tzimisce koldunism (the last 20% being other clans, Assamite aren’t usually big sharers). Meaning equal word count.

    And that’s the *current* state of affairs. Most elders don’t adapt well to changes, meaning that for a lot (as in a LOT) of NPC Kindred magic still equal Tzimisce koldunism.

    Meaning that, in my opinion, whatever the word count is on Tremere magic, it should be bigger for koldunism.

    Not as a shift from previous edition per se, more like getting word count (for background and system alike) in sync with the Dark Ages Vampire canon and background.

    On this thought, absolutely don’t forget rituals, and keep this point in mind doing so. Yes the Tremere have a huge (post Magick) advantage, and they make wonders in a very very short time. Still, the Tzimisce have provided Kindred sorcery services for several millenniums. I’m not talking about a power level vs power level between the two school, I’m saying that Koldun did know how to do a lot of things needed by the others clans and powers before.

    One last thing. Don’t also forget the canon about wandering kolduns, and the Eldest’s Traveler way. Kolduns do travel.

    • machineiv
      August 18, 2014 at 10:58 am

      It’s probably worth noting before you write your longer comment, we’re done. We’re through editing. We might make some minor tweaks in post.

      It’s also probably worth noting that word count allocations are hard to change in post. You want me to favor Koldunism over Thaumaturgy. While I appreciate your opinion, I can’t cut thousands of words one writer labored over, and give thousands of words to another author well after the project’s in its final stages.

  18. August 18, 2014 at 7:41 pm

    I shouldn’t arrive after the party 🙁

    Well, maybe for a future book…

    • machineiv
      August 18, 2014 at 7:48 pm

      It happens. All’s cool. I just didn’t want you to spend a time posting a huge line-by-line or whatever, since I really can’t realistically integrate it. It’s only fair to you.

      That said, we’ll make sure to give Koldunism more love. It was already a bit of a stretch to fit it, and I wanted to wade carefully into this new version. But it’s getting some nice reviews, so I’ll make sure to give it attention as soon as I can.

      There’s always stretch goals.

  19. August 19, 2014 at 8:34 am

    Yup got that, and thank you for it 🙂

    So I’ll make a small comment. As a lot of people here, congrats on the author. It’s a very short first step, but it’s the best first step so far from all editions. Previous ones were either a Thaumaturgy clone or too DragonBall-esque. This one is much more in par with the flavor and the background.

    I didn’t read all the other disciplines, so I can’t comment on the power level, but remember that using different Attributes for different powers is very, very, *very* taxing. In previous editions, Thaumaturgy was Intelligence, Occult, Willpower, and that’s all. Using half a dozen attributes is quite difficult for the koldun, and probably should be rewarded in the power level created. Even more so than the last version, which used 6 different Attributes but it was one Attribute per Way, few koldun had mastery over all of them.

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