Salad and Bread

I’m now pretty much done with the outline for Blood Sorcery: Sacraments and Blasphemies. My writing staff is already in place, so all I have to do is sort out a few paperwork issues and then we can kick this thing into gear.

I had pitched this book back when we were doing the current schedule, but not very hard; I was more focused on Secrets of the Covenants (which is still coming, and needs a better title) and A House Divided. Where the book really started to take shape was Grand Masquerade, when Rich and I had a bunch of time to kill in an airport. Over surprisingly decent hamburgers, I started laying out why I thought the next step for the line should be a book on blood sorcery.

As usual, a lot of this was fan-driven; new blood sorcery rituals are always popular, and I thought we could actually push beyond just listing new spells and into cool new tools. I also wanted to look at sorcery from a broader perspective than just what happens inside the covenants. There’s still a fair amount of fictional ground that we can cover, and it’s all really interesting stuff.

So what’s actually in the book?

A cold wind through a closed window. The cawing of ravens at an hour when no bird should be about. Rage at someone who hurt you, and the willingness to hurt back. Your reflection in the mirror, blurred, distorted, yet somehow still staring back at you.Being a vampire is inherently trading humanity for power, but most Kindred didn’t do it on purpose. Blood sorcery is about wrapping your arms around blood sacrifice or inhuman philosophy and holding it close against your silent heart.This book has three goals. First, make blood sorcery the gory, theophanic experience it should be. Both covenants with major forms of sorcery are religious, and I’d like to get at that. I also want more of the 2007-and-onward Requiem feel to it. Circle of the Cronewas a step in this direction, but let’s bring our asphalt-glittering-with-blood attitude towards the whole subject of magic. You don’t have a spell list, you have a list of violations you can perform in the name of your red-handed God.Second, I want to overhaul the system. I want to provide an optional blood magic system that’s open-ended, a la Mage or Witchfinders. I want to provide better support for non-covenant rituals like the Count’s Serpent in the Belly, so that a little bit of mojo is open to every character. Crúac  and Theban Sorcery will remain distinct, but will build on a common underlying system that lets players create new rituals.

Finally, we’re going to introduce new, occult-themed antagonists, secretive creatures that play up some aspect of the vampiric condition and distort it.

Bringing all of those things together should make this a great addition to the line, and one that sees a lot of actual play in Circle or Spear heavy games, while also offering new options for vampires of any covenant. At the same time, the fiction will give you more tools to talk about sorcery in vampire society, not just inside the covenants that practice it.

21 thoughts on “Salad and Bread”

  1. Sorry, I submitted too quickly.

    How versatile is the optional blood sorcery system going to be? Would it be possible to toss out the Discipline system and allow players to construct character’s abilities based on this optional system?

  2. The sorcery system takes a Mage-ly approach to the things that sorcery already does. Rituals are built from five “themes.” You could use it to replace the Discipline system, but you’d probably want to add new themes to cover things like Physical Disciplines.

  3. I have two questions and a comment:

    Will there be material for any of the Ordo Dracul stuff like Blood Alchemy or Wyrms Nest rituals?

    Secondly, will there anything about creating new blood magic styles; like how Crúac and Theban Sorcery (and presumably Kindred Voodun) remain distinct? I’m mostly thinking about Bloodlines like the Architects of the Monolith having their own styles.

    Finally the comment: This all looks bloody brilliant (pun intended)

  4. Unfortunately, no material for Wyrm’s Nests or Alchemy. I’m capped at 50,000 words. 🙂

    Sorcery styles are defined by two things: theme bonuses and costs. Theban Sorcery costs a flat amount of Willpower for any miracle. Crúac costs escalating amounts of Vitae. So Theban rituals are more expensive at the lower levels, but stay the same price, whereas Crúac rituals start out cheap but get dear as you do higher-level casting. A similar theme and cost scheme could be devised for other styles.

    • Shame about the Ordo, maybe something will make it into Secrets of the Covenants or a Goblin Markets style mini-pdf. Are theme bonuses extra dice you earn by playing to the style, or are they closer to strict requirements?

      Still, what this lacks in Ordo goodness it makes up for in style construction. It sounds like this will give me the material I to make something awesome for my Hermetic Wizard / Aztec Sorcery / Pirate (of the Caribbean) Bloodline concept.

      Do I make the Cost western style wizardry (Willpower like Theban?) and the theme bonuses Aztec or the other way around. The hard part would be making mechanics about Hubristically trying to capture and/or dominate things (Spirits?) that are probably more dangerous than you so I’ll see where that fits easier. (Possibly require Vitae taken directly from a Spirit ridden? Maybe break the rules and have some spells with European Costs and others with Aztec costs but one theme to show the two historical roots and the present unity?)

      Ideas are flowing already! and the book isn’t published yet. This can only be a good sign.

  5. If the spell systems are anything like Alucard’s Control Art restrict or Miyu’s Illusion magic from Vampire Princess Miyu, I would totally love to get this book.

  6. I know Necromancy was handled under the Translation guide but a Requiem take
    on Death magic would be pretty awesome (and a nice addition for some of my players who want to play Sangiovanni Kindred).

    Can we hope for some of that? 🙂

  7. am very happy to know that this book will be distinct from ‘SotC.’ I daresay this could be my most anticipated release for VtR in 2012.

    And yes, I too want more, MUCH more on Necromancy & the Sangiovanni 😉

  8. Sounds very interesting. However a suggestion, something that would be nice to have would be some ritual descriptions for ideas, a book that did this very well was Kult, to be more specific it was included in the 3rd edition corebook (Beyond the Veil) and that was lifted from the older Beyond the Boundaries and Heart mind and soul, although those last two where close to unreadable due to horrible layout. All hard books to get ones hands on these days, but who knows maybe you can, I would definitely have a look at its magic chapter for inspiration.

  9. This sounds like a fantastic supplement. Will all vampires (especially belonging to more occult-styled covenants) be able to access these sorcery styles? Unfortunate that there will be no alchemy but I would like to see the Ordo be able to do some actual blood magic apart from the Coils. I will second the desire to see Death-magic (a la Necromancy) handled in a non-Translation style methodology. Am a big fan of the Dragolescu and there have been intimations in the past that Vampires have instrinsic connections to the realm of the dead. With Geist and the Underworld book now released there’s even more reason to flesh out blood magic that vampires can utilize to manipulate the Dead.

    In terms of an occult-style antagonist, I would suggest taking a literal page from Mage and Masquerade and examining the Tremere (or a similar-style cult of wood-be vampire sorcerers) that used blood bonds and blood magic to gather power. But, perhaps, I am simply being nostalgic. Even if you look at the origins of the Tremere legacy in Awakening it offers an intriguing hook. The Tremere were actually an obscure lineage of vampires. I think it might be worth exploring.

    • Any vampire affiliated with the Sanctified, the Acolytes, or someone else with a magical tradition can learn the new free-form blood sorcery. The new mini-rituals, Threnodies, can be learned by anyone at all.

  10. As a MES/Camarilla member who does a lot of Cross-Venue with his Mekhet Lance PC, I think this is a wonderful way of expanding on the theory and abilities of blood magic. It may also make the power difference between vampire and mage just inverse quadratic instead of exponential.

    Granted, I’m not the BoD or MST, but hopefully the org will see the benefits of Requiem 1.5 and go with it.


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