World of Darkness – Rites

   Here we have an assortment of Rites for Werewolf the Forsaken – or at least for some version of the World of Darkness. In this case they’re from the collection of Maximilian Sendak, a Garou who’d been raised by non-garou – and used some very eccentric rites and gifts indeed, most of them with an Egyptian theme.

    Alchemy of Seshat (Level Three): You may infuse essence into metals to bring out their magical properties. You may infuse either a solid item, giving it the magical properties indicated below, or a modest number (successes) of “doses” of powder – magical catalysts worth a +4 bonus on relevant operations. In either case, the enchantment is temporary. It lasts only as long as the alchemist keeps one of his “maximum spells” slots devoted to it. It normally takes about an hour.

  • Copper: Transformation. Infused copper can take on any form its wielder desires and holds it with enormous strength. This equates to a precision toolkit or a fine weapon (generally +4).
  • Silver: Purification. An infused silver weapon will inflict aggravated damage on any creature that’s linked with a foreign spirit. That’s vampires, spirit-possessed, and spirit-linked creatures such as werewolves. Silver weapons always cause aggravated damage to weres because, when a were is wounded, mana automatically flows into the wound to begin the healing process – momentarily infusing the surface of a silver weapon.
  • Gold: Energy Storage. An item of infused gold can store up to three magical effects – whether generated by paths or influences- for later use as a simple action.
  • Iron: Energy Grounding. Infused iron can withstand or absorb massive amounts of magical energy, countering 1-3 such assaults depending on the amount of infused iron involved. Oddly, powdered iron – perhaps due to its links with blood – is associated with Healing magic. This may be the origin of the belief that the weapon that inflicted a wound can be used to heal it. This is why iron commonly causes aggravated damage to enchanted creatures: it short-circuits and drains their mystical energies.
  • Lead: Spirit Binding. Infused lead is a spiritual anchor that allows a spirit to remain in Twilight or the physical world without having to expend essence. Used offensively, it can anchor a spirit in place for (User’s Occult + 2) rounds.
  • Mercury: Linking Magic. Infused Mercury exists in both the Material and the Shadow worlds simultaneously. A sufficiently large pool – such as the back of an old-fashioned mercury mirror – can act as a gate between the realms. More simply, you can use a tube of it to smack unruly spirits from the material realm.
  • Antimony: Dispelling. Imbued antimony disrupts negatively resonant essence on contact. If used against an abyssal spirit, or an undead, it drains 1-5 essence points on contact, up to a maximum of 12 points before it loses its imbuement. Powdered antimony can also help purify any negative resonances in an area.
  • Nickel: Warding. Imbued nickel can absorb tremendous amounts of punishment without passing on such damage. Imbued nickel or nickel-plated shields and armor gain a +3 to their armor rating. Similar weapons provide a +3 defense bonus, since they make it so much easier to block and parry effectively.

   The Alchemy of Seshat is essentially simply a version of the Rite of Fetish Creation. Unlike the Rite, it’s creations are strictly temporary and are of limited variety. On the other hand, you don’t have to get a spirit to participate.

   Metals such as Zinc, Cadmium, Platinum, and even Aluminum presumably do something when imbued – but no one has yet determined what they do or the proper procedure to imbue them yet.

   Bast’s Blessing (Level One): This popular rite calls on the powers of Bast, goddess of sex and pleasure. The actual “rite” varies; going out on a date, seducing a partner, and foreplay will all suffice. The effects are fairly simple; 1) Everyone involved will enjoy the proceedings much more then usual, 2) Pregnancy will not result unless both of the potential parents are willing, and 3) The proceedings are far less fatiguing then usual. As a side effect, each time this ritual is enacted, there’s about a .1% chance that Bast herself will “bless” the participants, giving them the Striking Looks merit at L4. If and when this occurs, the participants will also suffer from a compulsion to play “matchmaker”, protect young lovers, intervene in family disputes, find new sexual partners, and otherwise promote pleasure, for 2-8 months thereafter.

Rite of Boundless Rage (Level One): This swift and simple rite sends a willing werewolf recipient straight into a massive fit of Death Rage. It will last for about half an hour, so it’s best to make sure that the subject is properly contained first before enacting the rite. The rite temporarily exhausts the recipients rage: he or she cannot take Wolf-Man form – or go into Death Rage – for the next 24 hours. While this can leave you vulnerable, it can also mean that your children survive your visit despite your insulting ex-wife or ex-husband.

   Rite of Cleansing (Level Two): This ritual purifies an individual or a modest area, restoring harmony. The essence in the area takes on positive resonances, negatively-oriented (or possessing) spirits in the area must make opposed willpower rolls against the ritualist or flee, and physical contaminants (such as drugs, toxins, and various pollutants) are cleansed away. The number of successes required is set by the game master in accordance with the area to be affected and the extent of the contamination. Note that – in extreme cases -cleansing something can destroy it: a playground built over a great pool of toxic waste may collapse when it’s removed, and a person who’s had most of their spirit devoured may collapse and die without his or her possessor present.

   Rite of the Diplomat (Level One): This minor rite involves sharing a good ethnic meal with someone familiar with the culture and languages of a particular area. Each success provides one”dot” in a relevant language or cultural lore skill. Unfortunately, the effects fade in a week or so, but any sensible user can find plenty of chances to re-enact it before it runs out.

   Nine Suns Kung Fu, The Focal Point (Level Three): An eastern technique, used for focusing personal energies. It seems to work a bit differently for weres then it does for humans – for whom it does work (in fact, they seem to have originated it). The rite has five stages; each takes about ten minutes to perform. It’s purchased as a level three rite, but the level of results you can actually achieve with it depends on your Ritual level.

  1. The Eye Of The Storm. Induces serenity. Weres get +2 dice for rage rolls for the next week (or are treated as humans if they don’t have rage problems). Humans gain a +1 to composure (and willpower) for a similar period. As a side effect, user’s tend to need a lot less sleep.
  2. The Focal Point. Allows the user to focus all of his or her energies on a specific non-combat task – gaining a +2 die bonus. This can be applied to an extended task if you don’t mind being pretty exhausted afterwards.
  3. Gnostic Awakening. The user may tap into the power of the umbra to recharge his or her essence pool once per day, regaining (successes + 2) points. Humans may use this to build up an essence pool of up to (Stamina) points.
  4. The Centered Will. Lets the user shrug off unwanted mental contacts, such as telepathic probing, psychic attack, possession, and so on, reducing the power user’s number of successes by (Int/2, rounded up). While this is effectively constant once developed, it takes months of regular practice of this rite to do so.
  5. The Inner Fire / Channel The Beast. The final level of nine suns kung fu allows humans to store up to (Sta x 3) essence. Weres learn to tap into the strength and stamina of their bestial forms without shapeshifting, although they must expend a point of essence to invoke this talent for a scene.

   Seal The Horizon (Level Four): This powerful rite does what it says; it permanently seals off an anchorhead or portal at the cost of (1d10+2) XP. Sadly, while the rite itself is straightforward, whoever or whatever is on the other side of such a gateway often objects to having their doorway slammed in their face and nailed shut.

   Rite Of Initiation (Level Five): This exotic rite bonds a willing spirit of the umbra to a human host, turning them into a living fetish – a creature of flesh and magic. The exact results vary.

  • Bonds with relatively peaceful animal spirits, plant spirits, and land spirits result in Shamans. Shamans get no shapeshifting or regeneration, but may acquire any gifts that they can talk anyone into teaching them. In practice, up to L3 is easy, beyond that gets tricky. They get three level one and one level two gifts to start, but are otherwise treated as per weres.
  • Predatory animal spirits generally transform their hosts into weres.
  • Upper umbral spirits create Avatars (unique beings), Wizards (as per weres but no shapeshifting or regeneration, astral projection instead of stepping sideways, and a choice of four upper umbral spells to start), and even”Chosen” (a.k.a. “Hunters”) or “Changelings”.
  • Spirits from the lower umbra – invariably specters – create beings equivalent to eastern Kuei-Jin.

   It should be noted that, while this ritual requires at least one day to perform, and calls for numerous odd ingredients, the real labor lies in the months of training, vision-quests, and study, which the prospective initiate must undergo to locate the spirit they’re going to bond with and attune themselves to it. Variant forms of this rite are more specific; there’s a badly corrupted version which involves bonding with the residual mystic energies of a bunch of dead werewolves (the so-called “Rite Of Sacred Rebirth”), a version which a bunch of living werewolves (Or changelings, or whatever) can use to adopt mortals by imbuing them with a portion of their energies- and a version for binding corrupted spirits into unwilling victims to create fomori.

   Rite of Renunciation (Level Four): The target may renounce an old power – any skill, attribute, or ability except their first level of Arcana or their first dot in any attribute – and reclaim the XP he or she spent on it. The target may spend most of those point again next session, but two of them are lost for good – the price of such a transformation. This is an extended rite: the ritualist must obtain at least one success per XP worth of abilities to be removed up to a maximum of fifty XP. Note that the GM must approve of the changes to be made.

   Song of the Sea (Level Three): This variant on the Rite of Summoning calls up an emanation of the local elemental lords – the spirits of nature which govern an area. While most such entities are reasonably friendly and obliging, and can be quite informative, it is best to ensure that there are no blighted, poisoned, or otherwise corrupted, areas in the immediate vicinity.

   Summon the Barque of Ra (Level Three): This rite calls forth Manjet-Mesektet, the ship of Ra. Unfortunately, while the ship of Ra can reach almost any destination – and those who complete such a voyage are restored to youth and health even if dead – boarding it means embarking on a voyage through the depths of myth. You may have to battle your way through the Egyptian underworld – the legendary Twelve Hours of the Night – and escape Apep, the devouring serpent. You may have to solve some complex historical intrigue, re-enact an ancient creation myth – or simply refuse paradise. Regardless, those who are left behind during such a voyage will be stranded deep within the spirit worlds, and may well never return even if they survive.

   Warding Hand of Isis (Level One): This ancient rite imbues the recipient with a “pool” of warding and healing power attuned to emotion and need. Sadly, it only works on those who are very adaptable – such as small children. It also works on pregnant, women as the unborn child absorbs the power instead. In general, the more successes you get, the greater the protections available in an emergency.

   In practice, this serves as an excellent excuse to make the NPC’s last longer, so that they can continue to harass the characters.

   Whalesark (Level Two): One performs this ritual, one dives into the sea, and one transforms into a dolphin or whale until one comes ashore again. Thankfully, the transformation includes the ability to “speak” with other denizens of the sea- as well as some extra strength, stamina, and health levels, as appropriate to the form.

   Wheel of Life (Level Three): This deceptively simple rite offers release – a swift and easy shift into their next incarnations – to the restless dead, to the bound or corrupted, and to anyone suffering beyond their endurance. Those touched by this ritual MAY opt to let go, but are in no way forced to do so. They’re merely offered “awareness” of where they are now, and that a new beginning awaits them if they choose to accept it. The area affected can be quite large.

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