Biothaumaturgy

This bizarre path reputedly has its roots in the secret tomes of the inscrutable Black Hand. Over the past few years, its esoteric secrets have spread among certain cabals of Tremere, who regard it as a curious mixture of Hermetic science and genetics. Biothaumaturgy concerns itself with the manipulation of life energies. In the laboratories of inspired biothaumaturges may be found strange creatures almost out of myth, veritable Frankenstein’s monsters and less wholesome creations. Although it is not considered a “taboo” path, Biothaumaturgy is nonetheless strange and unsettling to those who observe its results.

Biothaumaturgy does not require the expenditure of blood points to create its magic. Rather, the powers of this path take one week per level to complete at Levels One and Two, and one month per level to complete at Levels Three through Five. For example, the Level One power takes one week to work, while the Level Three power takes three months for the biothaumaturge’s experiments to come to fruition.

Biothaumaturgy also requires the thaumaturge to have a laboratory where he may conduct his experiments. This need be nothing more complex than a doctor’s table and a few sharp knives, but it may be as complex as the “mad scientist” affairs of pulp fiction, with steaming alembics and crackling generators. The Storyteller should feel free to modify a character’s Biothaumaturgy difficulties if he has an excellent laboratory resources or his facilities are utterly lacking. Working with a crude lab may add two to the difficulty while a high-grade facility may lower the difficulties by two.

• Thaumaturgical Forensics

The thaumaturge may take a tissue sample from a living, dead or undead creature and ascertain its distinguishing characteristics. A wealth of information may be gleaned from this sample, including information that “normal” forensics and genetics would not yield, such as age, generation, clan, etc

System

Each success on the activation roll yields one piece of simple information about the subject, which may be any living, undead or dead entity (but not an inanimate object), including plants. This information is limited to physical characteristics of the subject - Thaumaturgical Forensics can be used to determine gender, clan, traces of diablerie and the like, but it will not reveal if a given subject killed an individual or where she kept her trove of personal belongings.

•• Thaumaturgical Surgery

The thaumaturge uses his knowledge of magic and physiology to aid a body in its regenerative capacity. Even the most grievous wounds may heal more quickly if aided by this sorcerous art.

System

Each success on the player’s roll allows the thaumaturge to “convert” one health level of damage to a lesser type. Aggravated damage becomes lethal, lethal becomes bashing, and bashing becomes easily slept-off fatigue (and vanishes completely). Note that the actual surgery does not take the above-mentioned two weeks to finish, but recuperation times account for that period.

••• Lesser Animation

The thaumaturge mystically endows a dead life form with magical energy and imparts to it a rudimentary set of instructions. The resultant creations carry out their orders to the letter; biothaumaturges use this power to populate their havens with deathless guard dogs and other, quirkier “pets.”

System

This power affects plants and simple animals - nothing more than a single tree or dog per use. If the effect is successful, the animated creation may be given a one-sentence command, which it will fulfill until destroyed. Minor variations on the subject may even be made - a thorn thicket could be animated to move slowly toward intruders to entangle them, or an animate cat could be given a set of larger, permanently extended claws that do additional damage. Specifics should be worked out with the Storyteller.

Creatures animated in this manner have their original Strength and Stamina Traits, while their Dexterity drops by one (but never below 1). Social and Mental Attributes are considered to be at zero. Each creation has a number of health levels equal to half of those it had in life (round up).

Creatures animated in this fashion immediately crumble to dust if stricken by sunlight, and suffer double damage from fire.

•••• Greater Animation

At this level, the thaumaturge has refined her knowledge to allow her to animate more complex creatures. Even human corpses and large animals may be given the “spark of life” with this power - one biothaumaturge in Egypt is rumored to have a pair of animated elephants with which he terrorizes his enemies.

System

This power works the same way as Lesser Animation, but allows the vampire to animate more complex creatures. Certain lifeforms are probably beyond the capacity of this power -zombie whales sound fairly foolish- but the only limit is what the Storyteller chooses to allow. This power also allows minor changes to be made to the subjects, or allows major changes to be made to lesser subjects. For example, an animate human corpse may wield a bone-hook instead of a hand, or a rat might be able to fly with a pair of leathery gargoyle-wings made from the bones and skin of birds and infants.

A human animated in this manner retains none of his original “self.” This power merely animates the corpse; it does not reunite the spirit with the body.

Note: Alterations made to animated creatures must be discussed and approved by an ST beforehand.

••••• Cognizant Construction

The pinnacle of Biothaumaturgy, this power bestows a dead creature animated through one of the lesser powers of this path with a semblance of the intelligence it had in life. Animated animals possess a malicious cunning while higher lifeforms gain a shrewd ability to reason deductively rather than satisfy rote commands.

System

Although this power gives an animation a base intelligence, the creature nonetheless still serves the orders it is given by its creator. A creature animated via Cognizant Creation has Mental Attributes of one less than it possessed in life (but never below 1). This won’t be creating any undead geniuses, but the story effect is that it creates an animated monster capable of reasoning. A Cognizant Construction won’t mindlessly fight to its second death if it sees a better or cleverer way of routing foes, and it will be capable of other deductive tasks as well.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 License