Abaddonites discipline: Communion
Communion is a rather low-key vampiric discipline, one which is found exclusively within the ranks of the Sicarii priests, the Abaddonites. At lower levels, it can subtly manipulate the masses who throng to the subterranean cathedrals of the Thornite faith. The higher one goes in proficiency, however, the more of a connection there is between the Kindred and the Dark Ones mentioned throughout the text of the Book of Thorns. Exactly what these demi-gods (demons? angels? something entirely different?) bestow upon the practitioners of these higher levels is unknown to even the most knowledgeable of sect elders.
It is said that the Abaddonite Antediluvian has been translated beyond his vampiric existence and now acts as an intermediary between the Dark Ones and the Thornite religious hierarchy. No one really knows and no one is willing to ask. The rumor, itself, however is widespread and the Abaddonites do nothing to dissuade the masses of the notion... something, which makes the Regent feel very uncomfortable...
* Flock: Through the use of this discipline, the Abaddonite priest can gather a vague sense of the congregation he is about to or is currently leading. Such a sense can allow him or her to judgewith impeccable accuracy--whether or not they will be receptive to the sermon to come, or the knowledge he or she will impart. Clever players will also find that they're able to use it as a crude gauge of receptivity with persons they are fairly close to (Storyteller's discretion) but not, however, any person on the street with whom the Abaddonite has no connection with.
System: No roll is required, but a single Blood Point is expended per half-day of use. Flock's effects last for approximately twelve hours, though it is rumored that higher generations have it perpetually in 'on' mode.
** Hook of Faith: Hook is akin to the second level Dominate "Mesmerize" in that it allows a single suggestion to be implanted into a person's mind. That, however, is where the similarity ends. Since the Abaddonites are primarily a religious-orientated Clan, the thought must be of a religious nature such as: "Study the Acts of the Sirens." It's also different in that there's a good chance that the Hook will be a broadcast message, rather than one simply tailored to a single person, depending on the particular roll of the player.
System: The player rolls Manipulation + Leadership (the difficulty being the target's Willpower) and then consults the following table:
1 Success: Your primary target feels the compulsion to do what it is you asked...but isn't quite taken with the idea. You've got your foot in the door, though.
2 Successes: Your primary target is receptive to your suggestion and will feel a pang of guilt if he or she does not follow through.
3 Successes: Your primary target is receptive to your suggestion and is compelled to follow through on it. If he or she is unable, the target will feel a crushing sense of guilt.
4 Successes: Congratulations! You've broken the target barrier! Now, a random number (1d10) of targets are receptive to your suggestion...but are not quite taken with the idea yet. Alternately, a single target can be imparted with a command, which will last for two days. For example: in the aforementioned case, the target is compelled to read the Acts of the Sirens for forty-eight hours (not necessarily straight) before the compulsion leaves.
5 Successes: A larger group of targets (2d10) are receptive to your suggestion...but are not taken with the idea yet. Alternately, a smaller group (1d10) may be compelled on pain of crushing guilt or a single target may be compelled for a week's time.
6 Successes: The entire congregation (or 4d10, whichever is lesser) is receptive to your suggestion... but are not taken with the idea yet. Alternately, a medium-sized group (2d10) may be compelled on pain of crushing guilt, a smaller group (1d10) may be compelled for a week's time or a single target may be compelled for a year.
Note: When rolling against more than a single target, use the member of the group with the highest Willpower to defend against the Hook of Faith.
*** Sanctuary of the Faithful: Primarily used as a ward against Thaumaturgical or otherwise magickal intrusion, Sanctuary is said to tap into the Dark Ones, themselves, in an effort to bolster the Abaddonite's position.
System: The player rolls Wits + Theology (or, for those of the more baser bent, Occult) and consults the following chart for the result. Use as the difficulty level the Willpower of the person trying to scry the Abaddonite and/or his or her party.
1 Success: The character's immediate position is safe from magickal scrying for a single turn.
2 Successes: The character's immediate position is safe from magickal scrying for two turns.
3 Successes: The character's immediate position is safe from magickal scrying for a single scene. Alternately, the character's pack is safe from scrying for a single turn.
4 Successes: The character's immediate position is safe from magickal and physical scrying (to include Garou tracking methods) for two turns. Alternately, the character's pack is safe from magickal scrying for two turns.
5 Successes: The character's general position (within a block's radius) is safe from magickal and physical scrying for two turns.
6 Successes: The character's presence (within a ten-mile radius) is safe from magickal and physical scrying for four turns.
**** Breath of the Ages: It is often said that the gods can sweep away their opposition with but a blast from their lungs...
System: The player rolls Strength + Theology (or Occult) and consults the following table. The difficulty level is a base 7 but can be altered to account for open spaces (lower) or crowded conditions (higher):
1 Success: A gust of chilled wind is called into being. It's not enough to cause any damage, but it will make it impossible to read from a book, keep a lit fire, or concentrate on using Thaumaturgical or other magickal Disciplines/Spheres.
2 Successes: A blast of freezing wind is summoned. The wind is so cold that it causes Strength-level in aggravated damage to all preternatural physical beings (like Kindred and Garou but not Wraiths). Mortals and the like (Ghouls, included) are dealt Strength +1 in Health levels' damage.
3 Successes: The character can momentarily twist the prevailing weather patterns in the local area (within a mile radius) to a certain (limited) extent. He can drive the temperature down fifty degrees in any season and whip up the winds to gale-force strength. Any preternatural creature of physical nature directly in the path of these wild currents will suffer Strength +2 in aggravated damage while mortals and their kin suffer Strength +3.
4 Successes: and above have no additional effects.
***** Translation: An Abaddonite who has the power of Translation has been chosen by the
Dark Ones to be the indirect recipient of Their Word. He or she can now read the macabre and thoroughly alien script that was the original tongue in which the Book of Thorns was written.
System: The player rolls Wits + Occult and consults the following table. Note that the higher the success, the greater the number of layers that are exposed to the novitiate. This isn't necessarily a good thing... The Storyteller assigns the difficulty level, but keep in mind that knowledge, once learned, cannot be unlearned. Keep the difficulty high, if only to save the character some grief.
1 Success: The novitiate can read the plain text message of the Book of Thorns in its own tongue. No hidden meanings are discerned and, as far as the character is concerned, there appears no difference between it and the various translations into mortal languages.
2 Successes: The acolyte can discern a subtle subtext to the Book of Thorns, particularly in scripts written before the year 1000 AD. In them, there are additional pearls of wisdom, mostly dealing with parables allegedly told by the Antediluvians and the Dark Ones. Nothing too sinister but certainly of interest to the theologian.
3 Successes: The acolyte now can discern the first hints of what the Abaddonites call the Gnosis, the hidden meaning behind the Book of Thorns. Parables now have a darker meaning as the true nature of the Antediluvians is revealed and their plan for the Seed of Caine and Abel, though not fully spelled out, is certainly hinted at.
4 Successes: The full plan of the Antediluvians is spelled out, at least, as far as the Priests were told. It is from these hidden and cryptic passages that much of the legend surrounding Gehenna comes, aside from the brief imagery found in some copies of the Book of Nod. Also, there is the first mention of a being called the Demiurge.
5 Successes: The Demiurge is given more space and His role in the eschatology of the Thornites is given. He is also referred to as the Iniquitus, the Fallen Messiah. The first hints of what will come after Gehenna are given, though those hints are conditional upon continued faithfulness on heath of Thorns
6 Successes: The Truth. The origin of the Kindred, the Fall, the relationship between the Dark Ones and the Antediluvians and the world after the Demiurge's coming.
Note: that any novitiate or acolyte who has already used Translation may not do so again for a month's time while the Abaddonite's truth-singed soul recuperates from having learned too much.
****** Disciple: An Abaddonite who reaches this level of mastery over Communion can infuse his faith and zealotry into those willing to receive it. Most often, this is used to bolster the ranks before a Crusade is launched or to anoint a successor when the time has come for the Final Death. A variation of this is the Seventh Level power, Apostle.
System: The player rolls Manipulation + Willpower, with the difficulty level the opposing Willpower minus one point per level of Willpower that the transferor has above and beyond the transferee's Willpower.
Any success at all means that the transferee is suddenly imbued with the Abaddonite's faith and zeal. However, if more than one person is being Discipled, consult the following table:
1 Success: Upwards of two Disciples are created.
2 Successes: Upwards of six Disciples are created.
3 Successes: Upwards of ten Disciples are created.
4 Successes: Upwards of fourteen Disciples are created.
5 Successes: Upwards of twenty Disciples are created.
6 Successes: Everyone in the immediate area (defined by the Storyteller) is Discipled.
Note that no memories are exchanged. Just the current status of the Priest's faith. This can be good, if the Priest in question is a hard-charger and the Sabbat is gunning down on the city. It can also be bad if the Priest is a Doubting Thomas.
******* Apostle: This power is predominately limited to high-level Thornite theocrats, mostly those of Bishop-status and above but not including the Antipater. It's a much stronger form of Disciple in that actual memories are transferred between the sender and the recipient. Note that, again, as in the case of Disciple, this is not necessarily a good thing. Also, unlike Disciple, Apostle can be done on an unwilling target, though the difficulty level is always two higher than it would have been if the recipient was willing. Such targets, if successfully apostled, are usually referred to as "The Called" by those Abaddonites with a sense of humor still intact.
System: Exactly the same as Disciple, with the except- ion of the unwilling clause.
1 Success: Upwards of two Apostles are created.
2 Successes: Upwards of six Apostles are created.
3 Successes: Upwards of ten Apostles are created.
4 Successes: Upwards of fourteen Apostles are created.
5 Successes: Upwards of twenty Apostles are created.
6 Successes: Everyone in the immediate area (defined by the Storyteller) is Apostled.
******** Beatification: This power is used exclusively to transfer the thoughts, memories, faith and actual portions of an Abaddonite's personality from the outgoing Antipater to the incoming one. Used once per fifty years (after which the Antipater voluntarily steps down), it provides an extended continuity from one church head to the next and links the faith from the presents days to the dim reaches of the past.
System: Same as in Apostle. Note this power can only be bequeathed upon a single person at a time... though it can be used multiple times. No Antipater has issued an edict condemning the practice (called Polytheosis) but there are many rumors of multiple potential Antipaters and Anti-Antipaters leading various factions within the Thornite faith. There's even a strong legend about an alternate Unholy See in Avignon...but no expedition or inquiry has ever returned or lived to tell of it. It proves nothing...but it worries many.
********* Consultation: An Antipater of significant strength in blood and faith can, under extraordinary circumstances, actually call upon the various Avatars of the Dark Ones for consultation. This is a power that is used very rarely and when attempted is done with the most reverence possible, lest the Dark Ones anger too quickly over a perceived slight.
Note that anything Consulted with might or might not be an Avatar of the Dark Ones. The number of successes helps to determine how close the being is to the Princes of Darkness but, in the end, the Antipater is taking a very grave risk...
System: Wits + Theology against a difficulty level of eight...and pray you get good results. This roll is a secret roll in which the player tosses the dice behind a barrier. Only the Storyteller will know the result.
1 Success: Contact is achieved, but the being in question is very obtuse and much time will be needed to extract any knowledge from it.
2 Successes: Contact is achieved, but the being in question is sly and slippery. It likes to play with the Abaddonite, though will otherwise be quite receptive to the Kindred's queries...after a fashion.
3 Successes: Contact is achieved and the being is completely receptive. Treat as a nominal success with no penalties. This is actually a lower-level contact (possibly a Cherubim) with the Dark Ones. All other beings contacted with lower success rates are...something else.
4 Successes: Contact is achieved with a receptive midlevel entity (possibly a Seraphim) closely affiliated with the Dark Ones.
5 Successes: Contact is achieved with a receptive full Avatar. Caution is urged.
6 Successes: Congratulations... you've just contacted a Prince of Darkness, Himself. Good luck...
********** Apotheosis: An Antipater of the highest purity and faithfulness may, upon reaching the required Generation, seek to become translated into divinity. This effectively removes the character from play but it is a path many Antipaters of old take after the religious and secular glories of the preternatural world no longer hold any charm for them. In a way, it's a sad power, because it signifies that there is nothing left to experience in this world and the only way out is to fully and faithfully submit yourself to the desires of what you think are your Saviors. But what if you're wrong?
System: Wits + Theology against a difficulty level of nine. A total of four successes must be attained before Apotheosis is achieved. Anything less and the procedure fails and cannot be attempted again for five hundred years. Anything greater and your stature in your upcoming life is raised. The Dark Ones notice you and will take heed.
In any case, as already stated, this is a character-ending power, but should be used as the climax of a long campaign and not frivolously.