Usury

Usurers
In death as in life, nothing's free. Pathos serves as the Underworld's purest currency and trade in
it is possible only through Usury. Without this Arcanos, the Stygian economy would grind to a
halt – or, worse, devolve to hinging solely on relic barter and oboli. With Usury, a wraith can
serve as healer, banker, beggar, loan shark, and more, all in the same day.
As an art of directly controlling death energy, Usury can be as unnerving as it is essential.
Careless applications can rapidly generate Angst, strengthening the Shadow. Using it to draw
energy from the Quick is nothing less than the theft of life itself, no matter what spin the wraith
puts on his actions. Experienced Usurers know the price of their arts. Experienced Usurers are
also the Usurers who've survived their formative excesses and enthusiasms. The Labyrinth is full
of the Shadow-eaten husks of those who did not.
Guildmarks
Usury demands precision from those who engage in its delicate give and take. Wraiths skilled in
this Arcanos have lips and fingertips stained by the energies they sort and direct, alternately
glowing with life and blackened with entropy. These patterns are in constant motion,
momentarily resolving into the mathematical or currency symbols of the wraith's mortal culture
before the slate wipes itself clean for the next equation.
The Guild
The Usurers' greatest regret of the Breaking is the destruction of their archives. According to
guild lore, these records contained not only centuries of transactions, but historical accounts of
the organization's founding, concurrent with the invention of symbolic currency and commercial
record-keeping in the early Bronze Age. These claims' accuracy is widely debated, even among
modern Usurers themselves, but it's no surprise that meticulous documentation remains common
among students of Usury.
In their heyday, the Usurers enjoyed considerable political influence. Recognizing that any
currency system breaks down if its controllers lose public trust, guild leaders ruthlessly enforced
a code of honesty and accountability. The image of the incorruptible Usurer enabled the guild to
extend its reach from traffic in Pathos and Corpus to most other Underworld commerce, then into
Stygian courts. By the War of the Guilds, Usurers were firmly entrenched in the Empire's legal
system and refused to jeopardize this position of power by aiding the other guilds.
Such recalcitrance cost the Usurers the regard of their peers. Joining the coup against Charon
was a survival gamble, balancing the threat of Hierarchy reprisals against the certainty of
expungement if the Guilds won. The Usurers' support was never more than token, and their early
withdrawal hamstrung the revolt. But even this slight participation was enough to doom the
guild, as Charon proved willing to gut his own judiciary and economy if doing so removed
another guild from a position of power.
Factions

. Phantasm. In the face of lingering mistrust." System: The player rolls Charisma + Usury (difficulty 6). as a bright aura flares around the Pathos recipient during the process. While all wraiths have some facility at such evaluations. the wraith learns which art was used and when. this requires another Arcanos (e. Its nemesis is the fallen and feared Vault of Eyes. Usury Systems Unless otherwise stated. If the subject was the target of a transaction. Wraiths of this order are crimelords acknowledged as formidable by even the most vicious Spooks. System: The player adds the wraith's dots in Usury to all dice pools for Deathsight and Lifesight.g. though. To affect a Skinlands subject. its members have little power to bring violators into line. the player rolls Charisma + Usury (difficulty of the target's current Pathos). A wraith skilled in this art can assess this history. • Gray Ledger (Ancient) Each application of Usury leaves minute traces on its subject. the Usurer also receives a brief vision of the Usury- user who was involved. Bereft of official backing. System: To donate Pathos to a subject. Puppetry) which facilitates either physical or spiritual contact. learning the details of prior "transactions. Embody. starting with the most recent and working backward. regardless of when they were applied. Appraisal makes it an exact science. In addition. many forsake their heritage in favor of expediency and personal profit. Each success is one prior Usury application. and more outré sources. still intimately familiar with Stygian law but now committed to subverting rather than enforcing it. This art is always active and doesn't require touch. The Vault of Breath includes those Usurers who practice healing – not only the transfer of raw Corpus but the study of afflictions caused by Arcanoi. To siphon Pathos from a subject. This transferral is always clearly visible to onlookers. • Appraisal (Modern) Knowing another being's physical and spiritual state is key to manipulating its life and death energies. The Usurer may transfer up to 1 Pathos per success (though he doesn't have to transfer the full amount). the player rolls Manipulation + Usury (difficulty of the target's Willpower).Bereft of their Hierarchy offices and targets for resentful members of other guilds. Among the exceptions are two of the guild’s three extant orders. Individual Usurers today face an uphill battle to establish personal reputations for integrity. either voluntarily or not. •• Pathos Conduit (Modern) An Usurer may transfer Pathos between himself and another wraith. Inhabit. and the guild splintered. the wraith learns all applications of Suspended Usury arts (see below) that are pending on the subject. few Usurer leaders survived the Breaking's fallout. The Vault of Bone still clings to its duty of enforcing the Usurers' ancient checks and balances and strives to restore some portion of the Usurers' former respect. For each transaction. . in which the subject was either the user or the target. each Usury art requires the wraith to touch his target. Spectres.

it remains Suspended for a maximum time determined by successes rolled: 1 success 1 scene 2 successes 1 day 3 successes 1 week 4 successes 1 month 5+ successes 1 year per success The target of a Suspended art doesn't automatically sense the figurative sword hanging over her. ••• Suspend (Ancient) Used as promissory note. then rolls Charisma + Usury (difficulty 6). compulsion of obedience. this may be voluntary or involuntary. this Damoclean art allows the wraith to delay the effect of another Usury power. Each use of this art to steal Corpus or Health Levels from an involuntary subject gives the Usurer 2 temporary Angst. though success with a Perception + Awareness roll (difficulty 7) gives her the feeling that something's amiss. the player rolls Charisma + Usury (difficulty of the target's current Corpus or Health Levels). When a living being is involved in a Corpus Conduit transaction. The wraith may convert up to 1 Corpus per success into Pathos (though he doesn't have to convert the full amount). and the transfer is obvious to any observer. With three or more successes. ••• Corpus Conduit (Modern) A progressive extension of Pathos Conduit. •• Plasm Exchange (Ancient) Any wraith may expend Pathos to heal lost Corpus levels (see Healing. the art used doesn't take effect immediately. though he can't receive Corpus or Health Levels that would put him over his own maximum Corpus. Health Levels convert directly to Corpus on a one-for-one basis and vice versa. The wraith may transfer up to 1 Corpus per success (though he doesn't have to transfer the full amount). As with the lesser art. p. With success. System: When the wraith uses any other Usury art that targets another character. . A wraith who knows this art may do the opposite. System: To donate Corpus to a subject. the player rolls Manipulation + Usury (difficulty of the target's Willpower). Corpus Conduit's double-edged nature is well-known and a cause for concern among all who seek healing from unfamiliar Usurers. sublimating his own Corpus into Pathos. she knows the Usurer is that feeling's source.Each use of Pathos Conduit to steal Pathos from an involuntary subject gives the wraith 1 temporary Angst. To receive Corpus. the player spends 2 additional Pathos and makes a resisted Charisma + Usury roll against the target's Willpower. XX). System: The player spends 1 Pathos to initiate the conversion. this art enables direct transfer of Corpus between the wraith and another being. or judicial mechanism of parole. Instead.

or Arcanos Conduit. System: To initiate this art. if he is to be a bound party – for one year per success rolled. both he and the recipient gain 1 temporary Angst." The power takes effect at that moment. At Usury •••••. the wraith must verbally state the terms of the agreement he intends to enforce. This art is the Usurer's means of closing and enforcing such agreements with the full weight of Oblivion behind them. To Facilitate such a transaction. The initial application of this art ensures that each bound party understands the terms of the agreement exactly as the wraith intends them. The player spends any amount of Pathos and rolls Charisma + Usury (difficulty of 3 + the total number of characters to be bound). At any time. he learns to serve as intermediary. accepting the associated difficulty. The player chooses which of the art's two dice pools to use. any character who breaches the agreement immediately suffers a number of dice of aggravated damage equal to the total amount of Pathos spent by all bound parties. the period of Suspension begins when a character breaches the agreement. If the wraith Facilitates the transfer of stolen Pathos or Corpus. If the suspended power is not called in before it expires. ••••• Invest (Modern) . converting the donor's Corpus into Pathos for the recipient. a wraith may hold a number of Suspended Arcanos applications equal to his Charisma. During this time. in the hearing of all other parties to be bound. rather than between one target and himself. a contract is termed a "meeting of the minds. With success. The Usurer has a constant intuitive sense of his Suspended arts and their remaining durations. regardless of the distance between the wraith and his target. System: When the wraith uses Pathos Conduit. A breach of an agreement made under Oblivion's Seal brings immediate and crushing retribution upon the transgressor. the wraith may Suspend the arts of other Arcanoi he knows. he can transfer the specified energy from one target to another. If Suspend is used with Oblivion's Seal. A wraith using Corpus Conduit also may spend 1 Corpus to use Plasm Exchange in mid-transfer. •••• Facilitate (Modern) As a wraith's command of life and death energies grows. Each other bound party agrees to the terms and that player spends 1 Pathos. channeling Pathos and Corpus from one being to another efficiently and without pause. This requires a separate roll for Plasm Exchange. At any time before the suspended power expires.In addition. Corpus Conduit. it dissipates with no effect. •••• Oblivion's Seal (Ancient) In legal circles. and successes rolled apply to both ends of the transfer. the wraith may spend 1 Willpower to "call in his marker. a Suspended art is automatically evident to any wraith with Kismet (Fatalism •) and may reveal itself to other supernatural powers of perception at the Storyteller's discretion. in both letter and spirit. using that art's usual system (including its Pathos cost). he must touch both the donor and the recipient." a common agreement on a set of circumstances and actions. this power affects all targeted characters – including the wraith himself.

. Usurers don't like to admit it – such knowledge wins them no friends – but Arcanos Conduit doesn't have to borrow Arcanoi from a willing subject. Anyone who knows this key may then access the stored energies. All damage an Usurer takes from a soulfire crystal containing his own energy is lethal. this art allows the wraith to briefly loan or borrow mastery of an Arcanos. into the relic. Arcanos Conduit ends immediately and all stolen or borrowed Arcanoi return to their rightful owners. Pham's Argos is reduced to • and he can use only his one-dot Argos arts until the loan expires. System: The player spends 2 Pathos and 1 Willpower to begin the transfer. Enshroud (Ancient •). channeling his energy and carefully sealing it away with a gesture or command phrase. Miranda has Argos ••• and can use all of Pham's one-. The Arcanos transfer lasts for one scene per success. Miranda has Argos • but only Weather Eye. Any relic may contain either Pathos or Corpus. ••••• Arcanos Conduit (Ancient) Requiring either great trust or great desperation to use. the roll to activate this art becomes a resisted Charisma + Usury roll against the target's Willpower. spends 1 Willpower and up to 10 Pathos. If the Usurer uses Arcanos Conduit on an unwilling subject. up to the amount spent. and he can use all of the donor's arts of an appropriate rating. storing it for future use. including Weather Eye (Modern •). Phantom Wings (Modern ••). The Usurer's Shadow also gains 2 temporary Angst per Arcanos dot the Usurer steals. If either wraith enters a Harrowing. The recipient's rating in that Arcanos becomes equal to the number of dots transferred. Among this art's other applications. Invest is the means by which wraiths create soulfire crystals. and Tempest-Eiders Canceleer (Ancient ••••). but not both at once. then spends the amount of Pathos or Corpus he wants to Invest and rolls Manipulation + Usury (difficulty 7). He must focus on the relic in question. System: The player designates a single Arcanos to be transferred.The wraith can funnel his Pathos or Corpus into a relic. not aggravated. two-. Any excess points are lost. Example: Pham has Argos ••••. Pham loans three dots of Argos to Miranda. Flicker (Modern •••). Turn the Anemoi's Wrath (Ancient •••). Each success invests one point of Pathos or Corpus. and rolls Charisma + Usury (difficulty 8). and three-dot Argos arts. rounded down. The donor loses a number of dots in the specified Arcanos equal to half the Pathos spent. While the loan lasts. regardless of how many dots he had before.

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