The Path of Voodoo
By Thomas Jensen (email@example.com)
The Path of Voodoo originates in the Caribbean Islands -- most Cainite scholars point to Santa Domingo and Jamaica as likely places of origin. This is mainly due to the regional concentration of Voodoo cults, but also because of the way in which Voodoo affects all stages of life on the islands; a so widespread, vital importance could not have been achieved if the Art had not been present from the very primeval youth of the islands, from before the petty colonial squabbles over the lush island of Santa Domingo or the days of Toussaint L'Overture and Dessalines.
The practice of Voodoo has been greatly feared through the centuries, and with good cause. Although many "investigators" believe they have revealed Voodoo to be a total hoax, in fact they have only seen the smoke screen that was set up by the True Cainite Priests that rule the islands and practice their dark arts.
The Path of Voodoo involves using Spirits of the Dead to do one's work and bidding. For the unwary, this Path can be a dangerous one, as failure to command the Spirits properly may very well gain the enmity of the Loa Spirits, such as Papa Legba or Baron Samedi -- but even the hostility of a normal spirit is a most unpleasant experience. If the Magus fails in the use of the Path, s/he loses a point of Willpower and furthermore gains the enmity of an entity from the plane of the Loa. The Storyteller should decide what kind of Spirit the would-be user offends. Note that a high-ranking (and thus more powerful) Spirit could very well interfere with the Magus's plans, if it judges its underlings to be unable to deal properly with the offending Magus. Of course, the severity of the offense is dictated by the degree of failure; a small failure would be dealt with by a Spirit similar in power to a poltergeist - with a correspondingly short period of punishment - while a horrible, botched failure will attract the attention and wrath of one or more of the Loa.
The Path of Voodoo is very rare and is usually only possessed by Cainites who were either members of a powerful Voodoo cult while they were alive, or who were embraced by a Cainite to whom the Practice of the Path would come instead of the Path of Thaumaturgy, such as the Followers of Set and the Serpents of the Light. Justin Crowe was such a Bokor before his embrace, and he has since regained the mantle of Bokor.
Unlike the Path of Spirit Thaumaturgy, which is somewhat akin to the Path of Voodoo, with Voodoo, contacting the Spirit Planes comes naturally to Kindred, as they are already attuned to the Plane of Death.
1 The Mark of Guede: The target of this power becomes invisibly Marked for Death, and it is primarily the way to prepare for more powerful Voodoo. Guede is the Loa Spirit of the Dead and is usually the one whom Houngans (male Voodoo priests), Mambos (female Voodoo priests) or Bokor (the notorious, evil Voodoo priests) address when they wish to curse someone. Papa Legba and Guede's Acolyte Baron Samedi are also used for such purposes, as the Opener of the Gateway and the Lord of the Cemetery, respectively. However, when the Gateway has been opened, the cursed character seems to attract malicious Spirits which follow him and torment him by hindering his actions to some degree. While these Spirits do not follow the Marked person constantly, they show up frequently.
System: The Cainite practitioner needs three things to use this power: A broad blade knife, with a serrated edge, and a handle wrapped in skin torn from a freshly-killed animal (this knife is sometimes known as the Ku-bha-sah), a clay amulet engraved with the Veves (Voodoo Runes) of Guede, which resemble a stylized image of a white snake curling around a tombstone. The snake is normally perceived as the Snake Loa Damballah's mark, but it is believed that his Veves have been mixed with that of Guede, for he also represents Power. This Amulet must be bound to the handle of the knife, using a leather strap made from the skin of a one-week-old corpse. The final ingredient are three blood points of Cainite Vitae, which is used to baptize the amulet and knife. If the materials have been properly prepared and approved by Guede, the Vitae is absorbed into the Knife and Amulet.
Caster must make a Mental V.S. Social roll against target. If the use of the Power is successful and the Vitae is absorbed, the knife with the attached amulet must be placed in the door, or doorway, of the victim in order for the Spirits to find their way to him. Note that once the Knife has been placed, it matters not if the victim removes it, since the spirits will already have homed in on their target.
The Level of the Path of Voodoo must be used prior to the casting of any of the Ritual Curses described below.
2 Ask of the Dead: This power allows the Priest to learn secrets from the Spirits of Dead Individuals. The existence of this power is well known in the Caribbean; both true Voodoo worshipers and Followers of Set go to great lengths to ensure that the corpse of any dead ally is destroyed in such a way that nothing can be learned from it through this method.
System: For this level of the Path to work, the head of the dead person must be relatively intact; if it has been severely damaged, it will yield no information. Furthermore, the person must not have been dead for more than seven (7) days, for according to Voodoo lore, the soul does not leave this plane of existence until the end of the seventh day. Until then, the Lore states, it floats invisibly in the vicinity of the corpse, highly vulnerable to the Powers wielded by those who know the Path of Voodoo.
The Priest recites the Praise of Samedi and forcibly inserts his fingers into the back of the deceased's head as s/he gazes into its eyes. 5 tests MENTAL VS victim's Social. For every Second Day beyond the first that the person has been dead this Difficulty is raised by one. Thus, beyond the Seventh Day, this power cannot be used. Only two attempts can be made, one day apart. The number of Successes gained on the Roll determines what is obtained, as follows:
**A victory is a win or a tie.**
3 Summon Snakes & Control Snakes: This power allows the Priest to summon all of the natural snakes in the vicinity, and then test to control them. Only summons live, non-ghouled snakes.
3 tests for summoning:
1 tie, 2 losses: all snakes within 10 ft.
1 victory OR 2 ties: All snakes within 100 ft.
1 victory =1 tie OR 3 ties: All snakes within 200 ft.
More:All snakes within 1 mile. Control:Social test with each snake.
4 The Curse of Samedi: This terrible and feared level of the Path of Voodoo grants the Priest the ability to kill his or her victims without actually being near them. However, the Priest must have inflicted or caused someone to inflict a wound on the target (i.e., caused a loss of Health Levels) with a Ku-bha-sah (enchanted knife) for this to work. When this has been done and this level of the Path is used, the victim begins to die of a strange, wasting disease that slowly, painfully destroys the blood and eventually kills him.
System: For this Power to Work, the target must have been Marked for Death with the Mark of Guede. The Ku-bha-sah that is used to wound the target need not necessarily be the one that was used to mark him, and the Priest need not personally be the one to inflict the wound. As long as the Ku-bha-sah was enchanted by the Priest for this purpose, it will work.
The Cainite makes a Mental + Social Roll against a Difficulty of the Victim's Willpower + Social. The number of successes indicates the number of Health Levels that the Victim loses. At this point, the blood of the victim has been corrupted, and filled with the energies of death.
Kine will lose additional Health Levels as a result of this, at the rate of one Level per 12 Hour period as their blood is slowly destroyed and their body mummified. When the Kine in question has no more blood left, s/he dies.
Kindred targeted by this Curse suffer a somewhat different fate. Their blood no longer runs naturally in their bodies, but rather is stored, for purposes of maintaining their "dead" bodies and expending in the use of Vampiric Disciplines. When a Cainite has been cursed and his or her blood corrupted, when s/he uses a point of Vitae, s/he loses a point of Health -- no matter what the Vitae is used for. So attempting to heal using Blood will only uselessly burn blood. The Cainite will eventually be forced into Torpor. Drinking fresh Vitae to cure the wounds will only prolong the agony, as the new Vitae will slowly become corrupted by the "bad blood" in the Cainite's system, and the process will begin anew. The only way to stop this magical disease is to remove all the Vitae from the Cainite's body. While this effectively removes the disease, the Beast will surge forth in frenzy and perhaps place the Cainite in more danger than s/he faced under the Curse.
4 Create Zombie: This Level of the Path allows the Priest to create Zombies -- Corpse Minions, to the Tremere. These Zombies follow all the same restrictions and requirements of Corpse Minions.
System: The body must not have been dead for more than seven (7) days for this to work, and the Spirit of the Corpse must still be unclaimed by any magic or bindings. Roll willpower v.s. spirit's willpower. Storyteller is under no obligation to disclose why the Zombie does not rise if something happened to the Spirit; that is up to the Priest to discover.
5 Create Serviteur: This ultimate level of the Path of Voodoo allows the Priest to create a Serviteur -- in this case an animal or Kine possessed by a Spirit, and not just a helper or acolyte, which are also called serviteurs. These True Serviteurs are probably one of the most feared servants of the Voodoo Priest (this being a Houngan, a Mambo or a Bokor). They are possessed of supernatural strength and abilities, and have no fear. Even Cainites fear these creatures, as none of the Mental Disciplines, such as Dominate, Presence, Obfuscate, etc) work against them. To confront one is to fight a tireless robot of flesh that will not stop unless it is utterly destroyed. And to face several... even the bravest might quail before the rush of a host such as these.
System: The Serviteur is a human or an animal, into whom the Priest binds a Spirit. This actually creates a lesser form of a Demon Bound creature; though weaker in most respects, they do not suffer the overheating problem of the Demon Bound, and so are more useful at times. If the use of this Path is successful, the Priest is left with a very powerful and utterly controlled servant. It is a much better tool than either a nearly mindless Zombie or a Kine or Childer with independent thoughts.
For this power to work, the Priest must have previously marked the target who is to be turned into a Serviteur for death with the Mark of Guede, as previously described. Once this has been done, and the target obtained and tied to a table top, the spirit of the target must be driven out of the body, a function that this level of the Path performs, after an Extended, Resisted Willpower Contest (The Priest's social + Occult Retests versus the Marked Target's Willpower). The winner of ten cumulative successes is the victor. This attempt can only be made once a night. The target may be drugged to lower his or her Willpower. Once successful, the cast-out Spirit usually dissipates or becomes a Wraith (at the Storyteller's discretion).
When the body is bereft of Spirit, but still living, the Priest must Summon and then again enter into an Extended, Resisted Willpower Contest with the Spirit to be Bound into the body. If the Priest loses the Contest, the Spirit flees and may not be re-summoned. If the Priest wins, s/he has overwhelmed the will of the Spirit and forced it into the living flesh of the victim, and created a True Serviteur.
A True Serviteur adds two points to all existing Physical Characteristics of the Man or Animal, has Four Additional Health Levels that cause no loss in Dice Pools. Most devastatingly, the Serviteur has the equivalent of Three Levels of Celerity and Three Levels of Potence. A common True Serviteur has a Power Pool of 15 Points from which to power it's equivalence of Disciplines. Serviteurs are capable of seeing in complete darkness, similar to the Protean Gleam of the Red Eyes.
The Spirit will continue to inhabit the host body until freed or the body is destroyed. The Spirit, like a Demon Bound, will not destroy the body on purpose. Unlike Demon Bound, True Serviteurs can speak, and many have access to the memories and abilities of the body they now inhabit. When away from their Master, and without instruction, they grow restless, and occasionally lapse into the persona and mind set of the former host body.
Rituals of Voodoo for followers of the Path
2 Fashion the Doll of the Spirit: Allows the creation of the much feared
No matter what type of wax used the doll will be the color of dried blood and unnaturally solid, i.e. the wax won't just come off or break.
4 Exorcism: This power allows a priest to separate the soul of a diablerized victim from the aura of a staked or torpered kindred. If this soul gained the kindred a gen (s)he looses that benefit. Extended willpower test with kindred (spirit lore), takes one hour. The priest may decide to take the soul into him/herself (test mental vs 10:spirit lore). Treat as per diablerie if successful. This power may also be used to separate a soul from an item.
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