Ritual of the Marching Morons
With the splash of a single droplet of blood, several minutes of manipulation, and a successful Manipulation + Occult roll, a thaumaturge can briefly empower an object of no greater size and weight than a wooden marionette to move on it’s own. It may dance or march or spin round and round, but the object will never perform a useful task. It may be compelled to hold or carry a small object, but cannot meaningfully interact with it. The tiny animation has no awareness of it’s surroundings and will unceasingly march into walls or to it’s doom into a fire as the case may be. The automation will function for one hour, but a thaumaturge may expend Essence or Willpower to increase it’s lifespan, giving it an addition day of false-life for ever mote or point of Willpower spent.
Sorcerer’s Handy Assistant
Inscribing the Rune of False Life onto an object with his own blood and spending at least ten minutes guiding it through the motions, a thaumaturge may bring to life as tall as a broom and as heavy as an iron brazier. It requires him to spend 2 motes of Essence or a point of Willpower and make a successful Manipulation + Occult roll at difficulty 2, but when successful he animates the object to serve some minor, but useful purpose. The object will sit and wait for a specific command to be given, either verbally or at a gesture, then spring to life to perform it’s task.
A broom might be compelled to sweep the floor clean, a book to fly off the shelf and soar into the thaumaturge's hand, or a stout legged chair to waddle slowly after the thaumaturge as he paces his laboratory, ready to catch him should he fall backwards. Such automations possess a single dot of Awareness and are able to recognize and avoid obstacles in carrying out their task, but little else. They do not actually recognize the thaumaturge specifically and will respond to anyone who performs the proper command. Such automations typically endure for a single day, but the thaumaturge may spend extra motes or Willpower to let them endure longer, expanding their life for another day for every 2 motes or 1 Willpower spent.
Elegant Machine Manifestation
The Rune of False Life painted in his own blood three times upon it’s surface and sprinkled in gold dust, the thaumaturge takes an object out under the noon day, where he holds up a delicate crystal lens worth Resources 2 to catch the rays of the sun. Guiding the beam of life that results, he makes a Manipulation + Occult roll at difficulty 3 to melt the golden patterns and sear them into the object both physically and in spirit. Successful, the thaumaturge can then spend 3 motes or 1 Willpower to cause the object to spring to life at his command. These greater automations are mildly self-aware, possessing two dots of Awareness. They are able to tell the thaumaturge from others and will ignore commands of anyone else. While they can be created to perform the same menial chores as lesser automations, they also possess to two dots in a single Ability which they may employ in response to certain circumstances. A sword hanging upon the wall may fly in a desperate lunge towards unwanted guests or a white quill might studiously copy every spoken word of the thaumaturge. These automations typically endure for only a single day, but the thaumaturge may increase their life span by one day for every additional 3 motes or 1 Willpower he spends on the ritual. A thaumaturge may also increase the number of ability dots possessed by the automation, permanently sacrificing 1 exp per dot, up to a total of 5 dots.
Moving the Clay Man
For this ritual to take place, the thaumaturge must first obtain two nearly identical platinum pendants, each one worth Resource 4 alone. One must be set with a single white pearl, the other with a black pearl, both of which sit in the center of an engraving of the Rune of False Life. The black pearl pendant is given to a “volunteer” whose willingness need not be absolute. At least half a ton of special clay must be gathered, ritually purified and mixed liberally with three health levels worth of the thaumaturge's blood. The volunteer, still alive, is enclosed in the clay which is slowly shaped around him into the form of a gigantic human statue. Under the earthly flesh of it’s chest, between the surface and the mortal trapped within, the thaumaturge places a heart of solid steel. While the clay is still damp, the thaumaturge takes a prayer strip inscribed with the Scripture of the Clay Maiden and slides it under the statues tongue. Leaning close, he whispers into the statues ear, reciting the scripture and speaking the name of the person inside at least one hundred times. At the end, he makes a Manipulation + Occult roll at difficulty 5 and permanently sacrifices three points of Willpower or one dot of Essence to will the statue to life. If successful, it’s steel heart will begin to beat and it’s glass eyes will start to glow and with a wordless moan the statue will rise.
This creature, known as a Golem, is animated primarily by the soul of the mortal trapped within. Stretched out into clay flesh, it looses all sense of self beyond it’s name. It possesses only 1 dot in all Mental and Social Attributes. However, a Golem is not created for it’s personality. These mammoth automations are phenomenally powerful and hearty, adding one-half of the 'vollenteers' Valor to their Strength and one-half of their Conviction to their Stamina. Thick limbed, it is never the less limber for it’s size, possessing Dexterity 2. It possesses double a mortals standard health levels and soaks lethal damage with it’s full Stamina, in addition to any armor the thaumaturge may later bolt onto it. It also possesses two dots in Brawl, Melee, Resistance, and Endurance.
The golem, while a devastating guardian, is still only a work of mortal magic and can be undone by a single blast of counter-magic. As well, it recognizes the thaumaturge as it’s master only by the amulet he carries. Anyone who steals this amulet and speaks the Golem’s former name into it’s ear can steal control of the automation. The essence animating a Golem does not fade with time, the automation respiring essence and beating it through it’s false steal heart just as a living mortal might.
Ritual of Morning Respite
Spending an hour before bed inscribing a strip of cloth with the Sutra of the Sleepy Maiden, the thaumaturge wraps the cloth over his eyes as he settles in for the night. For a single evening, his sleep will be restful and undisturbed by sounds of the evening, awakening them refreshed in mind and soul for the following day. When making a Conviction roll to recover Willpower the following morning, the thaumaturge converts one die of his roll to an automatic success.
Five-Fold Battle Preparation
In the evening before a battle, the thaumaturge sits facing towards the twinkling stars of the House of Battles. Before him he must place a sword that has been sheathed in five prayer strips signed in red ink and sit in vigil over the coming of the sun. At the moment between night and day, when the stars are still visible but the horizon is set ablaze in scarlet light, the thaumaturge raises his hands to the sky and beseeches heaven to grant him courage for the coming endeavor, making a Charisma + Occult roll at difficulty 2. If he succeeds, the prayer strips will burn off his sword. One time during the first battle he engages in that day, the thaumaturge may expend a point of Willpower to reroll any test of his Virtues that failing would drive him off the field.
Inner Lotus Meditation
Assuming the lotus position, the thaumaturge retreats his consciousness into the inner sanctum of his mind. The natural functions of his body all begin slow dramatically. The need for food and water or the attendance of other physical needs fall away one after the other. Even the beat of his heart will slow to the point that it requires a Perception + Medicine roll at difficulty 4 to detect ant vital signs from him. While in this state, the thaumaturge cannot move and has no immediate awareness of his surroundings, but will suffer no ill effects from dehydration, starvation, or the effects of nature, though anything that would normally deal environmental damage still harms him.
A thaumaturge can remain in this state for a number of days equal to his Temperance without ill effect. Every day there after, he must succeed in a Willpower roll to ignore the needs of his body, but each day he does this inflicts a single health level of bashing damage to him. Legends often speak of meditating thaumaturge-monks who ascend to levels of consciousness so high, that when they finally awaken, their bodies have passed on and they live only as ghosts.
Outer Lotus Meditation
To enact this ritual, the thaumaturge must first spend several hours inscribing prayer strips with specially made paint and brushes with a Resource value of 3. He must make five in total, four corresponding to and placed over the physical center of his virtues and the last hung on a string around his brow so that it covers his face. As well, he must paint a taijitu, the symbol of the upper and lower souls of man, upon the floor, in yellow and purple. Adorned in these prayer strips and nothing else, he must seat himself at the center of the taijitu and enter a deep meditative trance. Rather than questing inwards however, the thaumaturge attempts to press his awareness outwards. After five hours of silent effort, he spends 10 motes or 3 Willpower makes a Perception + Occult roll at difficulty 4 and upon success, breaches beyond the boundaries of his mortal shell.
The soul of the thaumaturge leaves his body as a dematerialized spirit, the two connected only by a flimsy life-line of mortal magic. While he can observe the mortal world in this state, he cannot interact with it directly. Mortals and most physical beings cannot see or hear him and his in substantial body passes through physical objects as if they did not exist. Creatures with the ability to see dematerialized spirits will see the thaumaturge as a softly glowing incarnation of himself, half yellow and half purple. Similarly, those with the ability to touch or strike dematerialized spirits can do the same to the thaumaturge. While on his spirit-walk, the thaumaturge is able see other dematerialized spirits and interact with them directly. He is also able to move and even to fly tirelessly at twice his normal sprinting speed.
By expending an additional mote per item, he can take with him up to his permanent Essence in objects, which must be anointed in his blood and arrayed on the ground before him during the ritual. These spiritual-objects will function as they would have in the material world, save that they only function on dematerialized spirits. Exalted and other essence users who are attuned to artifacts while employing this ritual will take with them with spiritual incarnations of their artifacts without additional cost, the object already tied in essence to their soul.
Every day the thaumaturge spends spirit-walking, his body grows weaker. Each day at sunset, his physical body will take a single health level of bashing damage which will not heal under any mortal administrations. Once his body has reached it’s Incapacitated health level, it will begin to rapidly die. Each minute there after, his body will suffer from a single health level of lethal damage. Unless his soul returns before his body completely dies, the link between the two will shatter and his soul will be sucked down instantly into the Underworld.
Binding the Bestial Soul
Any mortal may posses a pet, but a familiar is a creature who shares a far closer bond. This ritual allows a thaumaturge to bind himself to a single animal, taking it as his familiar. A thaumaturge must have already tamed the creature in question before he can attempt it. With a needle in hand, he opens a tiny wound upon himself and the animal, letting their blood mingle. Expending either 3 motes or 1 Willpower, he then spends the next hour symbolically ‘sewing’ their souls together.
At the end of the ritual, the thaumaturge makes a Charisma + Occult roll with a difficulty equal to the Background value of the Familiar, success binding the beast to him. A mortal thaumaturge may posses no more dots in Familiar than his Charisma attribute, though is free divide these as he sees fit. The Exalted and most other natural essence-users have neither need of this ritual nor suffer it’s limitations.
Scent of the Soul
Anointing himself behind the ears with the blood or urine of his familiar and spending a minute in ritual gesticulation, the thaumaturge can temporarily altar his earthly scent to that of his familiars. Animals will react to him as if he were a beast as well. Those who fear his familiar as a predator will flee from him, those who see his familiar as prey might stalk him, and beasts of the same type might welcome, ignore, or violently reject him. A successful Intelligence + Survival roll might be called upon for a thaumaturge to understand just how different beasts would react to his changed scent. This effect will last for up to five minutes or until the thaumaturge washes the scent from behind his ears.
Blood Borrowed Boon
Taking at least 1 health level worth of blood from his familiar, the thaumaturge anoints his fingers, face, nose, or other places upon his body with the still-hot essence of the animal. Stripped bare of all mortal traipsing, he must spend the next ten minutes in a deep meditative state to tap into the link he shares with his animal companion. By expending either 3 motes or 1 Willpower and succeeding in a Manipulation + Occult roll at difficulty 2, a thaumaturge may briefly borrow certain bestial traits from his familiar. For one scene, he gains a single mutation point which may be used to take a Pox that fits his familiar. This ritual can be extended to grant the thaumaturge up to his permanent Essence in Poxes, each additional mutation point requiring another health level in blood from the familiar and increasing the difficulty of the roll by 1.
Ritual of the Avatar’s Infusion
Placing his familiar at the center of a diagram drawn in both of their blood (2 health levels from both thaumaturge and familiar), the thaumaturge bows his head to the ground in supplication and spends one hour uttering prayer and incantation seeking the favor of the Animal Avatar of his familiars kind. With a successful Charisma + Occult roll at difficulty 3, the thaumaturge successfully petitions the favor of the Animal Avatar and the diagram of blood draws itself up into the familiar through it’s eyes and mouth or any open wounds. The familiar will grow substantially in size compared to a normal example of it’s kind, gaining the Huge mutation (E:L 214) and all accompanying benefits. Particularly impressive results on a roll (5 or more successes) may see the beast growing even more, gaining the Giant mutation instead (E:L 216). The familiar will remain in this enlarged state for the next 4 hours. If the familiar takes more than it’s natural health levels in damage before reverting to it’s regular size, the animal dies as soon as the effects of this ritual have worn off.
Before this ritual can take place, the thaumaturge must seal himself and his familiar into a circle of warding. The ward must be of at least Strength 3 and of Durability enough to last the entire three hour ritual. Under the light of a full moon, the thaumaturge ritually kills his soul-bound pet with a knife of cold-forged silver. Opening up it’s chest while the beast is still alive, he swiftly drinks at least half of it’s health levels in blood, then eat it’s eyes, it’s tongue, and it’s heart. Skinning the beast, he drapes it’s still-wet hide over his shoulders and gives a prayer to the Mother Moon to bind their souls as one. The entire ritual takes a full three hours to complete and at the end, the thaumaturge makes a Charisma + Occult roll at difficulty 5.
If he succeeds, the man and the beast become one in both spirit and flesh. From that point on, the thaumaturge may spend two points of Willpower to change back and forth between a mortal and an animal form which matches that of his former familiar. The transformation is both painful and grotesque, taking a two turns to complete. In his animal form, he still possesses his human Intelligence, but gains the animal’s Physical attributes and Perception. As well, in his mortal form, he gains a single permanent Pox that resembles a feature of his familiar and all animals will know him for what he is, treating him as if he were an animal even in his mortal form.
On every night of the full moon, this transformation will take place without cost or his consent. The thaumaturge will be overwhelmed by animal urges, compelled to hunt, kill, and consume the heart of at least one other mortal. He can make a Willpower roll at difficulty 4 to resist these urges, but every full moon he refuses to feed weakens him immensely, reducing his Physical Attributes by one dot, and offends the moon goddess who granted him this boon. If he refuses three times, his wretched body will transform into a half-animal abomination. Cast out of Luna’s sight, weapons of silver or Moonsilver will deal aggravated damage to the former thaumaturge. At any point before or after this final transformation, he can willingly consume a mortal’s heart and regain one lost attribute dot. This will appease the goddess if he does so before becoming an abomination, but no amount of prayer or offering can bring him back into her sight afterwards.