In the single-player storyline, Mortis is markedly variable in its utility. It can be a drain on party resources and even mobility, and/or create an unstoppable juggernaut of destruction. Shambling Hordes is for the most part, the latter, and Plague Wind is a very powerful tool that transcends the utility of most direct damage spells in most games.

Mortis is the distinguishing skill of Cappadocians in both the Vampire roleplaying ruleset and in V:tM-R. The Giovanni clan is given this discipline in V:tM-R as well, but their discipline is called Necromancy in the RP version. However, differences between the skills are mostly storytelling ones; the skills operate very similarly in game mechanics terms

Later in the game, when there is access to Theft of Vitae or at the very least, Tongue of the Asp, and money flows like water from all the Heavy Weapons that can be found in chests, the Mortis Tome found in the Sewers is an easier option to fit into the game plan. Shambling Hordes in particular is the second most powerful tactic in the game against the Giovanni Warehouse that follows (and the Malkavian Warehouse in Leaves of Three), because its raised Chaingun and Rocket Launcher users are the exception to the rule of Hordes having weak damage. Christof receives Mortis for free at the very end of the Giovanni Warehouse, so the Mortis Tome found in the Sewers is more efficiently given to another party member

Shambling Hordes Edit

25 Wits required. 5 Blood to raise one corpse

Even when an enemy such as a War Ghoul can kill the raised dead with a single blow, and with the raised dead healing themselves before they get to attack, the Mortis user can still raise them faster than they can be killed, and with a maximum of four undead, that means at a minimum, at least one will be attacking the target, and usually three, as the enemy will tend to concentrate on a single Hordes member, even though it could quite easily be set to acquire a new target once its current target is dead.

Hordes will get in the way, as coterie members do, but they do not have the code to get out of the way. The only solution in the single-player storyline is to find a target for them to go attack, kill them with area-effect attacks, or wait for the spell to run out, move, and then re-raise them. In multiplayer, jumping can be used to bypass them; in ST mode, with the party leader selected, hold down Alt and right-click on the desired point on the ground. The ST can also move the offending Horde members (whereupon the controller must move before they run back) or delete them. The narrow passages that create this problem also make the Hordes into a veritable wall of invulnerability, where only ranged attacks can ever damage the controller.

As long as the player does not expect Shambling Hordes to be a source of significant damage, they can be a lot of fun. At five dots, the Hordes can be inexplicably hard to kill, and can actually be a source of blood when there is no other available. The spell always costs 5 blood, but at five dots, risen vampires or humans will allow up to 12 blood to be drawn from them as coterie members do; about 2/3 of their blood pool. Vampire Hordes can also heal themselves multiple times from this tiny blood pool, so it must cost them only one or perhaps two blood to Blood Heal. They will also, rarely, use clan disciplines like obfuscating or charming, but not damage spells; risen Tremere, for example, will fight with their fists or summon Hoppers

Shambling Hordes can be a trivial source of cash, as well, as the creatures have the same chance of giving a new drop when the spell expires as when they are killed normally. Trivial, that is, until the player comes across a creature that is scripted to always drop a high-value item. The Teutonic Captain on the last, ground level of his base in Vienna, -always- drops an Exquisite Battleaxe. Even if he is part of an undead horde. Or the sole member of one. But this money trick is performed significantly more swiftly with the basic skill of Awaken- and for full XP each time, too, for the minimal extra effort of killing a severely weakened enemy.

In XP terms, Shambling Hordes is an exploit that cannot be turned off. When the Hordes spell expires, and the creatures die again, the player receives the same XP as they give when killed normally. Not only does it count as a kill for the purposes of XP, but for Masquerade purposes as well, even if the Horde member dies in an area separate to the player. If the player is away in a new area that has Guards like the Knights of St. John or police, or has innocents like Pedestrians or Old Man or some such, then they will react as if the player used a discipline like Feral Claws, or attacked something.

Vigor Mortis Edit

Requires 30 Intelligence and 30 Wits. 15 blood to use

The one unequivocally poor skill; why control a single weakened creature, that is no longer a threat, and remove all your other actions? Well, there is the opportunity to use skills not otherwise available, but since Mortis' other skills are two of the best in gaming (pets to tank for you, and big damage at extremely long range), there only remains Awe, or stealing blood from other opponents to give to the one you control. Controlled creatures that are still alive can be prevented from using their skills and made to spend their blood, but this is no longer a factor for dead ones.

Summon Soul Edit

50 Perception required. 20 blood to summon

Summoning a Wraith is a lot of fun, but the 20 blood cost can be quite harsh. Even concentrating on Serena's Dexterity and Strength is a more frugal option. Or just turn off her green party member light next to the HP and Blood bars so she does not cast Summon Soul to kill Hoppers or Rats that are already so damaged they are running away (and this is not just luck of the draw; the AI is coded to perform this less-than-slick move). Consider, also, that Serena receives Lure of Flames.

Summon Soul requires a lot of Perception, whereas the other skills use Wits and/or Intelligence, but this is less of a drawback for Cappadocians, as it fits seamlessly with Auspex requirements

Plague Wind Edit

Requires 60 Intelligence. 25 Blood to use.

Like Firestorm, Plague Wind's targeting is limited only by range, not line of sight, and it can be cast on either an enemy or a point on the ground (the area of effect is always centered on a point on the ground; if an enemy is targeted, that point is where the enemy stood). The range is extremely long, and rarely comes into play. The Wind is a combination of Bolt (an animation showing the damaging spell effect traveling to the target area), AoE (Area of Effect), and DoT (Damage over Time) effects. Creatures take damage for the spell's duration only inside the area where the spell 'goes off'. It might be best named an Area of Damage spell, because unlike many AE DoTs, the damage comes, not from a status effect that the target acquires, but the area itself. As with Firestorm, enemies that have not yet run to the distance at which they can attack will run out of the area of effect, making its most reliable damage occur when used at melee range. Unlike Firestorm, which resembles Plague Wind in most other ways, the damage is rarely severe enough to make them halt their actions or make their footsteps stumble, which allows Firestorm's damage to continue. The other difference is that Plague Wind has a bolt of green energy that streaks to a point on the ground or the point on the ground upon which the targeted enemy stands when the spell is cast, where Firestorm takes effect immediately.

Note that there will be an occasional high or low value in these damage amounts-the fact that there are so many sources of damage tends to both obscure and ameliorate these anomalies

  • One dot in Plague Wind gives an initial damage of about 17-27, composed of the instant damage and an immediate pulse. Four more pulses of damage will occur in the damage area, of about 5-7 damage each. The pulses seem to do more damage in the beginning, and the totals are from 34-54 for all damage combined.
    • Two dots increases the initial damage up to a max of about 23-33-the pulses remain nearly the same, which is nice, as the initial damage never misses outside of the odd failure. Totals are about 41-61
      • Three dots increases the initial damage up to a max of about 28-37. Totals are about 46-68
        • Four dots- initial damage range of about 33-45. Totals are about 57-73
        • Five dots- initial damage is . Combined with the pulses, about -

Black Death Edit

70 Intelligence required. 25 blood to activate.

Like all of the Hands of Destruction spells and Immolate, the spells that require the target to be in melee range must compete for utility with regular physical attacks. Compared with melee attacks with low Dexterity and Strength, they compare favorably, in part because, thankfully, there is no check for hitting or missing the target, as in some D&D spells, other than the usual proficiency-based spell failure.

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