I play a Tzimisce blood-sorcerer in an online Vampire: the Masquerade game, and I really like the style of magicthat kolduns use. Rather than the accademic hermetic magic of the Tremere or the morbid ceremony of the Cappadocians, a koldun directs the raw elemental power of the land they inhabit. Their magic tends to have a nature-ey feel to it, and is rough and brutal in application.
As ever, when I get keen about things, I write homebrew for them. So, here you have some: the ways of Wood and Blood.
The Way of Wood
This path utilizes the koldun's connection to the forests of their territory, controlling trees like a vampire with animalism controls wild beasts. A koldun with this power typically grows various trees around their haven to act as servants and sentinels. Many eschew wooden or stone buildings entirely, shaping their havens from the living forest.
To use each power, the koldun must spill their blood into the soil at the base of the tree, so that it soaks in and is absorbed by the tree's roots.
Dice pool: Dexterity + Occult/Koldunism, with a difficulty of 3 plus the power's level.
This power is the most fundamental of the Way of Wood, allowing the koldun to direct the tree's growth into whichever form they wish. This power is most commonly used with Accelerate Growth to rapidly produce plants of whichever shape the koldun wishes.
System: The roll allows the koldun to shape the tree's growth as they wish for as many 'stages' of its growth as the amount of successes achieved (see below for the specific details). The control is near perfect, producing any shape that could be produced through careful pruning, wiring, and trimming, and with none of the ugly scars. The tree can even be warped into distinctly unnatural shapes, far weirder than anything found in nature.
The koldun feeds a tree their blood, and it fills the plant with vigor, causing it to grow rapidly. This power is most commonly used with the preceding power to allow a young plant to grow overnight into whichever shapes the koldun wishes.
System: Each success on the activation roll advances the tree one 'stage of growth'. This growth takes a full day to complete; after twenty-four hours, the tree will have rapidly expanded to its new size. The stages of growth are:
- Seedling (an inch or so)
- Sprout (up to a foot)
- Sapling (up to five feet)
- New tree (up to ten feet)
- Young tree (up to fifteen feet)
- Adult tree (up to twenty feet)
- Mature tree (up to thirty feet)
- Old tree (up to forty feet)
- Ancient tree (up to fifty feet)
- Methuselah tree (sixty feet or more)
Awaken the Green Speech
This power awakens the slumbering mind within the tree, allowing it to communicate. The koldun interprets the creaks and groans of its limbs and the rustle of its leaves as readily as they would the speech of humans.
System: Each success on the activation roll awakens the tree's speech for one night, allowing the koldun to converse with it freely. The tree perceives everything that happens beneath its branches or above its roots, but its mind is strange: compared to humans, it is slow, sedentary and patient, considering most animals to be brief flickering things that appear and disappear without meaning or purpose.
This power causes the trees to move under the koldun's control, limbs bending and grasping like arms. Trees animated in this way are strange beings, but intensely loyal to the koldun; possibly the blood absorbed through their roots causes them to effectively become blood-bonded to the koldun.
System: Each casting of this power animates one tree into a huorn until the sun rises.
The huorn has as many health levels as their age category (so a seedling has one health level, all the way up to a Methuselah tree with ten), and the same amount of strength and willpower. Each success gives 1 dice to all attributes other than strength, and to the abilities Alertness, Athletics, Brawl, Dodge, Stealth and Throwing.
The huorn's thick bark grants it three dice of armor. Fire and axes deal aggravated damage to it, which it can only soak with its 'armor'. Everything else deals bashing damage, which can be soaked with its stamina + armor, if it affects the huorn at all (sunlight, cold and poison, for example, do nothing to a tree). The tree heals damage only very slowly, one health level per week of growth.
The huorn cannot move from the spot - its roots remain fixed in place - nor can it speak (unless Awaken the Green Speech has been used on it).
The huorn is loyal to the koldun, obeying any instruction given absolutely. Absent of any instructions, it will fight to defend her and protect her territory as it sees fit.
This final power invests the koldun's power into the trees they work it on; they feed the tree their blood and the tree absorbs it, storing it in bloated red-black fruit that swell from the underside of its branches. The koldun can pick the fruit to consume the sap-like blood within, or allow the tree to use it when animated as a huorn.
System: The koldun spends a willpower point and makes the activation roll; each success allows them to feed the tree one blood point. Each blood point the tree has ingested is stored in a single fruit. A tree can have up to three times it size category in fruit (from 3 for a seedling to 30 for a Methuselah).
A vampire that picks and feeds on the fruit gains a single blood point. The blood does not form blood bonds, nor can it be mystically linked back to the koldun who donated it, only to the tree from which it was picked. The sap within is thick, sticky and cloying, and the experience of feeding on fruit is likely very strange to kindred who normally only drink the blood of animal life.
Alternatively, if the tree is animated as a huorn, it can spend the fruit like a vampire spends blood points, in order to increase its physical attributes or heal damage. Treat its generation as being the same as the koldun who animated it. In addition, it may spend a fruit to gain an additional action in combat (much like using celerity), but cannot make more actions in a round than its age category (so a maximum two actions for a sapling up to ten for a methuselah).
The Way of the Blood
The Way of the Blood functions much like the Way of the Spirit, allowing the koldun to spread their perception to those they have blood ties to; as their mastery grows, the koldun can extend their perception to those with ever less potent ties to the koldun.
To use this power, the koldun rolls Appearance + Occult/Koldunism, with a difficulty of 4 plus the level of the power to be used. Each success allows the koldun extend their awareness for one hour.
When active, the koldun perceives not only through their own form but also through the forms of those they have an appropriate blood tie to. They simultaneously see, hear, smell, taste and feel all that those they are extending their awareness into do. Although they share perceptions, they are not directly affected by things their conduits are: exposing their conduit to fire does not provoke a frenzy roll, they cannot be dominated through their conduit's eyes, and tasting another's blood with a conduit's tongue does not blood bond them.
Furthermore, the koldun can cast other koldunic magic through any of the conduits as if they were there in person. The power is limited, however; they cannot use a koldunic power from another path at a rating higher than their rating in Way of the Blood (so, for example, they cannot use the fourth level of Way of Fire through a conduit if they only have three levels in Way of the Blood).
Finally, whilst the power is active, any individual who becomes blood bonded to the conduit becomes likewise bonded to the koldun themself.
Even when the power is not active, the koldun instinctively knows if an individual is a conduit to any levels they possess.
The conduits allowed at each level of Way of the Blood are as follows. Each level also includes those of the level above it.
- The koldun's childer, and any vampires directly descended from those childer (their grandchilde, great grandchilde etc).
- The koldun's ghouls (IE any ghouls at all blood bonded to the koldun).
- Any mortals (human or animal) with any level of blood bond to the koldun.
- Any vampires directly blood bonded to the koldun (or with a vinculum to the koldun).
- Any ghoul or mortal blood bonded to a vampire conduit from the previous levels.