‘’’Dark Thaumaturgy (Daimoinon)’’’ Revised from Discipline of the same name by Eric S. Bertish, and posted to BJ Zanzibar's WoD page.
"Please allow me to introduce myself,
I'm a man of wealth and taste;
I've been around for a long, long years,
Stolen many a man's soul and faith."
-- The Rolling Stones, "Sympathy for the Devil"
This path of Dark Thaumaturgy is the fast route to power. Created by vampires whose lust for power and control far outweighs any petty concerns for something as minor as an immortal soul, its practitioners must voluntarily give themselves over in complete servitude to their demonic master, Ba'al. With each soul so garnered, Ba'al grows in power, and so the worshipper is rewarded. Of course, the whole point of the Path of Daimoinon is to facilitate Ba'al's rulership of Earth, so the entire path is ultimately self-limiting -- sort of. Through diligent practice and servitude, a Baali will increase Ba'al's influence on Earth; with an increase in influence the Baali gains in power; as the Baali gains in power, Ba'al's influence on Earth increases.
It should be noted, however, that the Baali do not regard this as a disadvantage. In fact, to their way of thinking, Daimoinon is less of a Thaumaturgical Path and more of a ritualized religion. This makes the Baali, ironically, one of the most devout vampiric bloodlines in existence. This irony is not lost upon them.
Where lesser beings would see occultic rituals for summoning and binding lesser infernal powers, the Baali see prayers and religious rites. What we would call consorting with the forces of darkness, they call engaging in (un)holy communion with their savior. This distinction is important, for it sets the Baali apart from all other vampiric power-seekers: they feel they are engaged in a holy war, a war they must win.
The Path of Daimoinon is more than just a religion or set of ritualistic summoning techniques; it is a magickal theory that closely parallels the paradigm of the Nephandi. Through diligent study of the Prophecies of Shaitan, the dark scrolls that were written by the bloodline's founder under the tutorship of Ba'al himself, the Baali may advance upon the other paths of Dark Thaumaturgy detailed in the Storyteller's Guide to the Sabbat. (A few of the younger Baali, feeling particularly witty, have started calling these teachings the Shaitanic Verses in parody of the novel by Salman Rushdie. This practice has died out within the past few years, as older Baali are noticibly touchy about their beliefs. After the first few ceremonial eviscerations of the offending parties, the rest quickly fell into line.)
The strongest adherents to this set of beliefs are those vampires who were embraced directly into the Baali bloodline itself. Those vampires who were corrupted through the use of investments are less fanatical in their beliefs. After having become addicted to, and dependent on, the power granted by Ba'al, it is easier for them to give up their last pretenses of morality than it is to lose their hard-earned abilities. As the Baali are fond of saying, "Once you give up integrity, the rest is easy!"
However, many of these converts-by-blackmail are less than sincere in their beliefs. Many convert to them out of sheer desperation: after finding the true source of their power, they feel they are damned for using it, and so must ally with devils to insure their survival, as God must surely have forsaken them by now. This particular line of logic has been used to convince many potential converts in the final battle with their last vestiges of a conscience.
System: In game terms, this means that the Path of Daimoinon is for the Baali what the Path of Blood is for the Tremere: the core Thaumaturgical Path from which all others diverge. A Baali may learn other Paths, both regular and dark, but cannot exceed the level of her primary path.
Table Top LevelsEdit
- Sense the Sin
The first step for all Baali is to embrace the darkness within their souls. Only by rejoicing in their darker nature can they ever be truly free. Once this is achieved, the Baali are set above all other vampires who deny their darker passions, and by accepting their own limitations they are endowed with the ability to see the shortcomings of others. This is particularly useful for finding weak-willed cattle for use in greater rituals.
Conversely, the Baali may use this ability on herself, in order to facilitate relations with infernal denizens. By sympathizing with the Darkness, one gains strength from it...
Systems: By making a Perception + Subterfuge roll against the target's Self-Control +4, the Baali can sense the subject's greatest character flaw, be it a low Virtue, a weak Will, a Derangement, etc.]
To use it on oneself, roll Wits + Self-Control. Each success reduces all difficulties involving Daimoinon by one. Botching the roll increases the difficulties for each 1 on the dice.
- Speaking the Demon Tongue
The fledgeling Baali learns the infernal language spoken by Ba'al and his consorts. Knowledge of this language is required for advancement in the bloodline, as all meetings and rituals are conducted in it. In addition, all of the occultic lore on Thaumaturgy available to the Baali, be it Dark or Mundane, is written in this tongue. A Baali is simply not a Baali until this level is reached, and is instead considered merely another unenlightened peon.
This tongue cannot be learned as a normal language, for it is not a human language at all, and therefore has no discernably consistent system of syntax and grammar. The language of the infernal can only be spoken and understood by those who understand its mode of thinking.
System: The Baali can converse with demons and banes as if she was a native speaker. Note that this only circumvents the language barrier; there is nothing keeping the creature from speaking obtusely, in riddles, or refusing to speak at all. An Intelligence + Occult roll may be required to understand a particularly convoluted line of thought, particularly Infernal Contracts written in High Demon, cross-referenced in Sumerian...
- Summon Quisling
This level allows the Baali to conjure minor Gaffling-level demonlings called Imps or Quislings. These spirits are neither the strongest nor the brightest in the world, and as such are useful for minor services such as spying, harassing an enemy, or being a slave for the Baali.
System: This ritual requires a Wits + Occult roll at difficulty 7. 1 success will summon a Quisling, a mostly brainless, snivelling demonling not good for much other than manual labor and target practice. Three success gets a creature of low intelligence but a fair amount of cunning, like Gollum. 5 success gets a devious bastard on its way up in the infernal world, who may decide to sell you out in exchange for greater power. A botch summons an Imp, which is a Quisling with free will. If you can't figure out how to exploit this, then you shouldn't have Baali in your chronicle. You're just not evil enough. ^_^
- Summon Servitor
The Baali may now summon, bind, dismiss, or block Servitor-rank demons. Note that not all denizens of the Infernal realms fall under Ba'al's control, so Baali should not expect a friendly welcome from whatever she has dredged up from the Pits. Indeed, there are rumors that Ba'al has more than his share of enemies among the Fires Eternal who enjoy venting their frustration on Baali who expect everything that comes out of Hell to be their ally by dint of possessing a common foe. System: It takes one hour to cast. This ritual requires a Wits + Occult roll at difficulty 8. A botch means that whatever has answered the summons is decidedly unfriendly...
- Summon Tempter
Mid-level demons can now be summoned. These beings are damned powerful and have individual names, so the rituals for summoning, binding, dismissal and protection have to be individually researched and implemented, rather than using the generic rituals of the previous levels. Woe be to any Baali who mispronounces a name...remember Army of Darkness?
The beings summoned at this level are far more powerful than at previous levels. This is because, up to this point, Daimoinon was "generic" to a certain extent: names weren't needed, because the demons summoned didn't have individual names. Power is needed to claim a name for oneself in the Pits. At this level, and for all rituals of this level and above, names must be used, or they just won't come.
The Tempter thus summoned is compelled to perform one task, and one task only, for the Baali. Many Baali bind the Tempter into serving as a patron and mentor. For this to occur, a contract must be drawn up (cf. level 2). The details are up to the Storyteller to work out.
System: Wits + Occult, difficulty 9. This takes 3 hours to cast and requires a blood sacrifice, though nonsentiant cretures like cats may be used. A botch here means that the Baali becomes a snack served on a savory cracker for the demon. The logic is this: there are elaborate rules and protocol to summonings. When a summoner makes a mistake, all bets are off as the demon is no longer bound by the rules -- the contract has been rendered null and void by the mistake. In fact, even the rituals which used to work against it no longer function. You'd better be able to think very quickly at this point...
- Sense the Sin
- Speaking the Demon Tongue
- Summon Quisling
- Summon Servitor
- Summon Tempter