Mortuum Anima is the tailored Path-and-Ritual discipline for the Sangiovanni bloodline of Christian priests. The Sangiovanni are blind to their origins murked in the antiquities of the Carbonari and the Arabic invasions of Italy and Venice.
It is assumed that travelling Mekhet brought the rudiments or another form of necromancy with them to the Italian city-states. When Rome started losing grip on survival, groups of Mekhet would bundle what they could in groups and run for the safety of other cities.
When it was clear that Rome was ruined by barbarians, it was clear that there was no going back. So the group of Mekhet took the knowledge they had and contrived a new mysticism and systemised it with a flourishing new religion that fled with them across Italy, Christianity.
As the Mekhet became more absorbed with their growing discipline than their vampire origins. They actively recruited a stable base from which to Embrace and formed strictures to how these might be enacted. This with the intertwining Christian faith, they eventually left their Mekhet roots behind. There obsession with death and salvation led them to form a religious community that meshed with their beliefs – a monastery. There functional purpose was to explore death and find proof of the afterlife. They believe this work is their sacred duty.
They view their life in the analogy of the Catholic Mass – they are the accident the host left behind after transubstantiation of the communion of the Holy Chrism, the Embrace. It is their punishment for attempting such hubris. This is a vampire-orientated version of Gnostic Catholicism.
Discipline: Mortuum AnimaEdit
Any wandering souls the Mendicants find are obviously ghosts stuck in Purgatory, by working them, they ensure a faster passage to Heaven or offer possible respite from Hell. The Sangiovanni are doing the ghosts a big favour, whether they like it or not. Remember that the souls of the dead are just as devious, arrogant, otherwise, and evil as they were in life.
The rules for ghosts are found in the World of Darkness rules book pages 208 to 216.
Mortuum Anima is a discipline much like any other Ritual Path system. Each level allows a Kindred to access a set level of disciplines but further experience must be spent to learn each ritual individually. Mortuum Anima is highly ritualised and each requires at least on dot in Latin as a language. If the Sangiovanni has no such skill, all his rolls are made with a -1 penalty as the Latin is reliant on rote form.
Level One RitualsEdit
Sangiovanni are able to use exorcisms and abjurations against ghosts (WOD: 213 and 214) except they can add their Mortuum Anima Ritual rating to the roll and they do not need an eight or higher Humanity.
The Mark of the Righteous
By smearing a simple mark across the mouth of the corpse, the corpse and resident spirit can now resist any further supernatural tampering. The successes from the Mark forms a dice pool to aid resistance to further acts of supernatural tampering on that corpse (even ghostly possession).
The Felling of Scales from the Eyes
This ritual allows the Sangiovanni to sense ghosts in any the vicinity. It does not give any great visuals if there are none to give, just an invisible pin-point and whatever vice motivates the spirit.
It requires a Wits + Presence + Occult roll. The roll is contested by the ghost’s Finesse + Resistance.
The Scales remain off the caster’s eyes for as many scenes as he obtained successes on the roll.
Level Two RitualsEdit
The Whisper through Parched Lips
When someone dies the soul may not leave the body immediately. The caster first enters a meditative trance alone with the freshly dead corpse. After rolling Intelligence + Occult, the corpse gains ghost speech through which the soul can speak.
The spirit need not be in the body but at least nearby.
Conjuring the Spirit
The caster pours a bit of fresh blood on the floor (or vitae, for that matter) and calls out the ghost’s name. The ghost is drawn to the caster’s spilled vitae and manifests as if it possessed that Numen.
This ritual compels a spirit to visually manifest, causing the vitae to disappear as the ghost visually manifests. The ghost is now a visible to all that can see it.
The ghost may resist the summons with a contested Resistance roll if it wishes.
The Protection within Circles
A small circle is inscribed on the ground with lines of a Latin prayer scribbled about the line. The ghosts are unable to pass through the scribed circle but it does not affect any of their Numina.
It requires a point of Willpower to activate a small-radii two-person barrier or two for one that fills a room.
The circle has a resistance equal to the caster’s permanent Willpower rating. The ghost can try and penetrate it by exceeding the Willpower rating with an extended Power + Finesse roll.
The circle can be disturbed. Roll an appropriate action and deduct the successes directly off the Circle’s resistance rating.
The Lock for the Keys of the Soul
The subject must have Occult 3 to known the Three Secret Names and Words written across his forehead before this ritual can be enacted (a Wits + Crafts roll). The subject must genuflect before the caster and the caster must bow to kiss the subject on the three words of mirror writing.
Once this is done the caster gains the sum of the Wits + Occult roll to counteract spirit possession. This is applicable even if the subject is already in possession.
Level Three Rituals Edit
By inscribing the Three Secret Names and Words across a weapon over the ghost’s name, the weapon is now considered Blessed against that specific ghost.
The Draft of Mercy
The Sangiovanni is able to boil his own vitae under a flame while chanting to give a ghost permission to drink it. The ghost heals a level of corpus for every point of vitae bestowed.
The sangiovanni bends down and utters a secret canto from the secret Roman Book of the Dead. This calls the spirit back into the corpse. The spirit controls the body with difficulty. The corpse is a drone.
The Walking Dead is treated as a ghost with a Power, Finesse, and Resistance of 2 and a health level equal to its Power + Resistance + Five. All mental and social-based rolls are penalised by -3.
Level Four Rituals Edit
The House of Rest of the Dead
By scribing an object with the ghost’s name and drawing two interlinked circles on the reverse the caster makes the object a temporary, mobile anchor for the ghost. The ghost can try to resist the floating anchor.
The ghost can try to free himself of this trap by rolling a possession roll (reverse possession)
Often the Sangiovanni will remove a ghost by performing this ritual.
Level Five Rituals Edit
By ritual transference and binding of a ghost’s anchor to that of a corpse compelling a ghost to possess it causes the corpse to rise up, a Revenant controlled by the animating ghost.
A Revenant is treated a standard character except add five to its health levels. Only its Social rolls are penalised by -3.
The inhabiting ghost can still use its Essence and Numina.
The Reliquary of Sorrows Recovered
This ritual is the most powerful argument in the Sangiovanni philosophy – it makes all the other rituals necessary or at least palatable.
The Reliquary of Sorrows Recovered is a point of Vitae placed in a virgin bottle and stoppered with a plug made from a candle. Any nearby ghost can be called into the bottle and when it is inside the wax plug is fitted and the wick is lit.
This causes tremendous suffering to the ghost. The Wits + Occult total acts like an attack on the ghost, which may resist. Every turn reduces the dice pool by one until the spell collapses and the candle plops in on itself and into the bottle, freeing the ghost.
If the spell continues and the ghost suffers damage to its corpus that equals or exceeds its morality score, it can make a Degeneration roll to slough off a Derangement and regain a point of Morality as though its sins are actually burned away.
Despite the tremendous power of the ritual not every ghost is happy feeling that they where the main attraction on the bonfire of necromantic vanities.