The Path Of Corruption

The origins of this path are hotly debated among those who are familiar with its intricacies. One theory holds that its secrets were taught to the Tremere by demons and that use of it brings the practitioner dangerously close to the infernal powers. A second opinion has been advanced that the Path of Corruption is a holdover from the days when Clan Tremere was still mortal. The third theory, and the most disturbing to the Tremere, is that the path originated with the Followers of Set, and that knowledge of its workings was sold to the Tremere for an unspecified price. This last rumor is vehemently denied by the Tremere, which automatically makes it a favorite topic of discussion when the matter comes up.

The Path of Corruption is primarily a mentally and spiritually oriented path centered on influencing the psyches of other individuals. It can be used neither to issue commands like Dominate nor to change emotions in the moment like Presence. Rather, it produces a gradual and subtle twisting of the subject’s actions, morals, and thought processes. This path deals intimately with deception and dark desires, and those who work through it must understand the hidden places of the heart.

Accordingly, no character may have a higher rating in the Path of Corruption than he has in Subterfuge.

• Contradict

The vampire can interrupt a subject’s thought processes, forcing the victim to reverse his current course of action. An Archon may be caused to execute a prisoner she was about to exonerate and release; a mortal lover might switch from gentle and caring to sadistic and demanding in the middle of an encounter. The results of Contradict are never precisely known to the thaumaturge in advance, but they always take the form of a more negative action than the subject had originally intended to perform.

System

This power may be used on any subject within the character’s line of sight. The player rolls as per normal. The target rolls Perception + Subterfuge (difficulty equal to the number of successes scored by the caster + 2). Two successes allow the subject to realize that she is being influenced by some outside source.

Three successes let her pinpoint the source of the effect. Four successes give her a moment of hesitation, neither performing her original action nor its inverse, while five allow her to carry through with the original action.

The Storyteller dictates what the subject’s precise reaction to this power is. Contradict cannot be used in combat or to affect other actions (at the Storyteller’s discretion) that are mainly physical and reflexive.

•• Subvert

This power follows the same principle as does Contradict, the release of a subject’s dark, self-destructive side. However, Subvert’s effects are longer-lasting than the momentary flare of Contradiction. Under the influence of this power, victims act on their own suppressed temptations, pursuing agendas that their morals or self-control would forbid them to follow under normal circumstances.

System

This power requires the character to make eye contact (see p. 152) with the intended victim. The player rolls normally. The target resists with a roll of Perception + Subterfuge (difficulty equal to the target’s Manipulation + Subterfuge). If the thaumaturge scores more successes, the victim becomes inclined to follow a repressed, shameful desire for the length of time described below.

Successes Result
1 success Five minutes
2 successes One hour
3 successes One night
4 successes Three nights
5 successes One week

The Storyteller determines the precise desire or agenda that the victim follows. It should be in keeping with the Psychological Flaws that she possesses or with the negative aspects of her Nature (for example, a Loner desiring isolation to such an extent that she becomes violent if forced to attend a social function). The subject should not become fixated on following this new agenda at all times, but should occasionally be forced to spend a Willpower point if the opportunity to succumb arises and she wishes to resist the impulse.

••• Dissociate

“Divide and conquer” is a maxim that is well-understood by the Tremere, and Dissociate is a powerful tool with which to divide the Clan’s enemies. This power is used to break the social ties of interpersonal relationships. Even the most passionate affair or the oldest friendship can be cooled through use of Dissociate, and weaker personal ties can be destroyed altogether.

System

The character must touch the target. The player rolls normally. The target resists with a Willpower roll (difficulty of the thaumaturge’s Manipulation + Empathy). The victim loses three dice from all Social rolls for a period of time determined by the number of successes gained by the caster:

Successes Result
1 success Five minutes
2 successes One hour
3 successes One night
4 successes Three nights
5 successes One week

This penalty applies to all rolls that rely on Social Attributes, even those required for the use of Disciplines. If this power is used on a character who has participated in the Vaulderie or a similar ritual, that character’s Vinculum ratings are reduced by three for the duration of Dissociate’s effect.
Dissociate’s primary effect falls under roleplaying rather than game mechanics. Victims of this power should be played as withdrawn, suspicious, and emotionally distant. The Storyteller should feel free to require a Willpower point expenditure for a player who does not follow these guidelines.

•••• Addiction

This power is a much stronger and more potentially damaging form of Subvert. Addiction creates just that in the victim. By simply exposing the target to a particular sensation, substance, or action, the caster creates a powerful psychological dependence. Many thaumaturges ensure that their victims become addicted to substances or thrills that only the mystic can provide, thus creating both a source of income and potential blackmail material.

System

The subject must encounter or be exposed to the sensation, substance, or action to which the character wants to addict him. The thaumaturge then touches his target. The player rolls normally; the victim resists with a Self-Control/Instinct roll (difficulty equal to the number of successes scored by the caster + 3). Failure gives the subject an instant addiction to that object.

An addicted character must get his fix at least once a night. Every night that he goes without satisfying his desire
imposes a cumulative penalty of one die on all of his dice pools (to a minimum pool of one die). The victim must roll Self-Control/Instinct (difficulty 8) every time he is confronted with the object of his addiction and wishes to keep from indulging. Addiction lasts for a number of weeks equal to the thaumaturge’s Manipulation score.

An individual may try to break the effects of Addiction. This requires an extended Self-Control/Instinct roll (difficulty of the caster’s Manipulation + Subterfuge), with one roll made per night. The addict must accumulate a number of successes equal to three times the number of successes scored by the caster. The victim may not indulge in his addiction over the time needed to accumulate these successes. If he does so, all accumulated successes are lost and he must begin anew on the next night. Note that the Self-Control/Instinct dice pool is reduced every night that the victim goes
without feeding his addiction.

••••• Dependence

Many former pawns of Clan Tremere claim to have felt a strange sensation similar to depression when not in the presence of their masters. This is usually attributed to the blood bond, but is sometimes the result of the vampire’s mastery of Dependence. The final power of the Path of Corruption enables the vampire to tie her victim’s soul to her own, engendering feelings of lethargy and helplessness when the victim is not in her
presence or acting to further her desires.

System

The character engages the target in conversation. The player rolls normally. The victim rolls Self-Control/Instinct (difficulty equals the number of successes scored by the caster + 3). Failure means that the victim’s psyche has been subtly bonded to that of the thaumaturge for one night per success rolled by the caster.

A bonded victim is no less likely to attack his controller, and feels no particular positive emotions toward her. However, he is psychologically addicted to her presence, and suffers a one-die penalty to all rolls when he is not around her or performing tasks for her. Additionally, he is much less resistant to her commands, and his dice pools are halved when he attempts to resist her Dominate, Presence (or other mental or emotional control powers), or mundane Social rolls. Finally, he is unable to regain Willpower when he is not in the thaumaturge’s presence.

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