Vampires are creatures of magic, and tales in the Book of Nod tell of rituals and powers unknown to the common spate of Disciplines. For the most part, such strange capabilities--controlling the weather, altering one's own blood, casting mystical lights and so on--remain the province of apocryphal tales. A rare few vampires learned to harness the power of their blood to perform magic, but most used only the gifts granted by the Curse.
In the Dark Ages, though, the Tremere clan rose to prominence through the use of Thaumaturgy. By combining their mortal wizardly knowledge with their new-found powers of blood, the Tremere discovered ways to control the manipulation of vitae, forcing it to perform specialized powers. Furthermore, with careful rituals, they were able to create wide-ranging effects, much like the powerful spells attributed to legendary sorcerers.
The Discipline of Thaumaturgy is the study of vampiric magic, the ability to shape the forces of vitae into directed mystical energy. Pioneered primarily by the Tremere, the Discipline is actually composed of several "paths." Each path represents a particular area of magical study: blood manipulation, fire control, warding or other, stranger effects.
When learning Thaumaturgy, you must specify one path as your primary path of study. Whenever you improve your Thaumaturgy, you improve your capabilities with that path. However, you can learn additional paths just like other Disciplines. You can never be as skilled in your additional paths as you are in your primary area of study, though, until you master Thaumaturgy. Thus, you cannot study additional paths until you have learned Intermediate Thaumaturgy in your primary path, and your secondary paths cannot exceed the Basic levels until you attain Advanced Thaumaturgy in the studies of your primary path. Once you learn Advanced Thaumaturgy, you may improve any of your other paths to the Advanced level as well through the use of Experience. Thaumaturgy is the province of the Tremere clan, and they guard their wizardly secrets jealously. Indeed, learning even the rudiments of Thaumaturgy can take a year or more for vampires unskilled in the Tremere's arcane ways. The Tremere do not teach this Discipline to those outside of the clan; vampires who wish to study Thaumaturgy must find a traitor to the Tremere or else engage in decades of intensive research with the rarest of occult materials and books.
The majority of Tremere neonates start learning the Path of Blood as their primary Thaumaturgy path, but a few start with other areas. Still, the sheer usefulness of the Path of Blood makes it more valuable than other specialized abilities. Any use of Thaumaturgy requires the expenditure of a Blood Trait. Some specific powers may require additional expenditures as well. Thaumaturgy does rely on speaking magical phrases and gestures, and as such its use is generally noticeable. Unless otherwise noted, casting Thaumaturgy takes a full turn, and the magic takes effect at the time of your action. You cannot accelerate Thaumaturgy with speed-enhancing powers such as Celerity.
Path of Blood (Rego Vitae) (LotN, p. 177)
Lure of Flames (Creo Ignem) (LotN, p. 178)
Movement of the Mind (Rego Motus) (LotN, p. 180)
Path of Conjuring (Creo Materia) (LotN, p. 182)
Alchemy (LotN:STG, p. 47)
Biothaumaturgy (LotN:STG, p. 48)
Elemental Mastery (LotN:CG, p. 76)
The Green Path (LotN:CG, p. 78)
The Hearth Path (LotN:STG, p. 51)
Mastery of the Mortal Shell (LotN:STG, p. 53)
Neptune's Might (LotN:CG, p. 81)
Oneiromancy (LotN:STG, p. 54)
Path of Curses (LotN:STG, p. 58)
Path of the Levinbolt (CB:Tr, p. 51)
Path of Transmutation (LotN:STG, p. 60)
Spirit Manipulation (LotN:CG, p. 89)
Weather Control (LotN:CG, p. 93)
Vine of Dionysus (LotN:STG, p. 61)
Rare/Controversial/Failed Paths (Cannot be a Primary or Starting path)
The Focused Mind (LotN:STG, p. 50) Rare; must have at least 7 mental traits Path of Corruption (LotN:CG, p. 83) This path is neither encouraged nor openly supported by high-ranking Tremere Path of the Blood's Curse (LotN:STG, p. 56) May only be practiced by 10th gen & weaker; one-way ticket to Vienna. Path of Shadowcrafting (CB:Tr, p. 53) This Path is publicly considered to be a 'failed path' Path of Technomancy (LotN:CG, p. 86) Hotly contested by conservative/traditional Tremere; typically banned outside of the US
Thaumaturgical Countermagic (LotN:CG, p. 92) Not a possible primary path; does not grant ritual knowledge
Q: Can I start on Path of ______?
Laws of the Night wrote:The majority of Tremere neonates start learning the Path of Blood as their primary Thaumaturgy path, but a few start with other areas. Still, the sheer usefulness of the Path of Blood makes it more valuable than other specialized abilities. (p. 177)
The majority of Tremere will start with Path of Blood. It is, sadly, first come first serve. If there are 3 Tremere, 2 must have started with Path of Blood. If there are 10 Tremere, 6 must have started with Path of Blood. Also, we will need to know why you are an exceptional case. First circle apprentices aren't normally much of a much, so your needs and preferences will rarely factor into what you are taught first, which will typically be Blood.
For everyone that thinks Blood as a mandatory starting path (which, for most of you, it will be) is silly, remember how vicious the Pyramid is. Yes, Blood may not be as useful to you as Movement of the Mind or Countermagic. That's probably why you were taught it.
Q: Can I still have rituals without Thaumaturgy? A:Laws of the Night wrote:Thaumaturgy is the province of the Tremere clan, and they guard their wizardly secrets jealously. Indeed, learning even the rudiments of Thaumaturgy can take a year or more for vampires unskilled in the Tremere's arcane ways. The Tremere do not teach this Discipline to those outside of the clan; vampires who wish to study Thaumaturgy must find a traitor to the Tremere or else engage in decades of intensive research with the rarest of occult materials and books. (p. 176) Laws of the Night wrote:A vampire can only learn rituals whose difficulty do not exceed her primary Thaumaturgy path level. (p. 185) So... No.
Anyway, you cannot learn Thaumaturgical rituals without dabbling in Thaumaturgy. If you want to try to track down non-Thaumaturgical rituals... well, we'll have some fun scenes finding who will teach them to you, won't we? *eg* Either way, you can only learn rituals whose difficulty do not exceed your (primary Thaum/Necromantic/blah blah blah) level.
Q: But Occult says I can get rituals with high levels!
A: Occult says you can unearth and access rituals. It never says learn them. You can find them and give them to a friend with Thaum, however. If you try to do the ritual, it just doesn't work. You're not mystically attuned.
Q: When does Thaumaturgy occur in a round?
A: Thaumaturgy actions can be taken during your Everyman actions, including Alacrity. If you have Dual Thought (Focused Mind), you can take an extra mental action on your Everyman. Unless it states otherwise, Thaumaturgy requires both gestures and incantations to cast, and will occur at the end of the turn (four seconds), as you are spending that time casting the spell.
You cannot sustain actions after your Thaumaturgy with Celerity unless your Thaumaturgy action is expressly listed as instantaneous.
Q: So... if I can see it, I have "Line of Sight," correct?
A: Thaumaturgy is an archaic practice and is inherently in the domain of sorcerers, magi, and their ilk. As such, it is best used in conjunction with antique equipment. A traditional telescope (using lenses to focus and not digitally enhanced images) will work fine to increase your "Line of Sight" for the purposes of casting thaumaturgy (as will binoculars, mirrors, or a classic periscope), but a modern piece of equipment that uses technology to alter the image before it is viewed (i.e. digital camera networks, night vision goggles, electron microscopes, etc.) will not work.
Q: Also, what constitutes a "touch?"
A: A touch is defined as Skin to Skin contact. That is all. The lightest pair of gloves or even pantyhose will prevent skin to skin contact in most cases. Certainly, some individuals will attempt to cover their entire body in clothing of some sort because they will fear the Tremere clan getting any chance at them. We have a special derangement called "Paranoia" that we will give out to players who take this route of gameplay and no, you don't get freebies for it.