A thaumaturge practicing Mastery of the Mortal Shell explores the fundamental functions of the body, granting control over the physical workings of a subject. Lesser powers of this path are clumsy in their control of the body, but become increasingly precise and complete. In the early nights, Mastery of the Mortal Shell was created to assist in the hunting the Tzimisce and Gangrel enemies of the Tremere, but its uses were expanded to enforce subservience among enslaved Gargoyles after their first revolt. The powers of this path form the foundation for many tales of witchesâ€™ curses and possession in folklore. Unless otherwise stated, the powers of Mastery of the Mortal Shell last the number of turns equal to the number of successes a thaumaturge scores on his activation roll. * Vertigo The thaumaturge induces minor disorientation and dizziness through subtle manipulations in the subjectâ€™s body. Although the physical discomfort is temporary and minor, Tremere have been known to use it on social rivals at the most inopportune times, causing them to lose their aplomb. System: A touch from the thaumaturge (possibly requiring a Brawl attack, with Storyteller discretion) invokes disorientation in her victim. All of the subjectâ€™s physical actions are at +1 difficulty for the duration of Vertigo. Further uses of this path may extend the duration, though the difficulty will not increase beyond +1. The Storyteller may impose any other desirable effects, such as acrophobia or agoraphobia. Clarification: Using this power requires a successful Brawl attack if used against an unwilling target. If successful, the target will suffer as if afflicted by either acrophobia or agoraphobia for the duration of the power. ** Contortion With but a touch, the thaumaturge causes her opponentâ€™s muscles to contract involuntarily, reducing her to twitching fits. This effect is extremely disconcerting to the subject, rendering the affected limb unusable. System: By making physical contact with one of the limbs of the target, the thaumaturge renders it useless for the duration of Contortion. Targeting rules apply for selecting a specific extremity, should contact not be guaranteed. A leg rendered useless may make it difficult to remain standing. A contorted arm hangs lifeless at the subjectâ€™s side. A useless head causes loss of speech and increases the difficulty of all Social rolls by three as the facial muscles spasm out of control. The thaumaturge can affect himself, causing his muscles tighten like a vise. Each success increases the difficulty by one to break his grasp or hold. This is very useful during a bite or choke attack, making futile any attempt to flee, and may also be used on others in this â€œbeneficialâ€ manner. *** Seizure Like a nervous disorder, this power causes the body to â€œlock upâ€ in a fit of convulsions. All the muscles throughout the body tighten uncontrollably, the victim foams at the mouth and spasms rack him with agony. A mortal may even choke to death as her tongue cuts off her air supply. System: A light touch visits upon any target the very unpleasant effects of this power. For the duration of the seizure, a targetâ€™s body writhes, tormenting him to the point of incapacitation. Victims suffer a four-dice penalty to all actions. The victim also suffers one level of normal damage every three turns (but can be soaked) as her body helplessly twists itself unnaturally. **** Body Failure Thaumaturges wielding this frightful power gain devastating insights into the workings of the body, allowing a complete shutdown of its systems. This sudden biological overload often proves fatal to mortals and damaging to other supernatural beings. Body Failure has been used throughout the ages to afflict victims in â€œnaturalâ€ and inconspicuous ways. Many cases of â€œfatal palsyâ€ and natural death may indeed be the result of a skilled thaumaturge. System: This power can affect any target the thaumaturge can see. A successful activation of this power grants effects similar to Seizure, except that damage is lethal (and thus not soakable by mortals) due to complete organ failure. Additionally, the victim suffers a five-dice penalty to all actions. Kindred are likewise affected by Body Failure, as their muscles spasm and brain activity becomes erratic. As Kindred, they may soak the damage this power inflicts on them. Clarification: The target suffers one level of normal damage every turn. ***** Marionette The thaumaturge invoking Marionette gains such mastery over the body that he can magically seize control of another being and manipulate her actions to suit his own whims. Although this control is not as fine as the direct and personal command of the Dominate power of Possession, the thaumaturgeâ€™s true body is not as vulnerable during the manipulation. Once established, the Marionette victim is under the complete sway of the thaumaturge, forced to perform as the thaumaturgeâ€™s macabre pawn. As Gepetto once moved Pinocchioâ€™s strings, so the thaumaturge bends his target to his will. System: The thaumaturge may affect any target within his line of sight and he must keep visual contact with the victim at all times to maintain this effect. A subject may resist the effects of Marionette on a Stamina + Fortitude roll (difficulty equal to the thaumaturgeâ€™s Willpower) when the thaumaturge attempts to take control. Each success he gains on this roll reduces the duration of Marionette by one turn. Victims lacking Fortitude do not have the physical resistance to defy this effect. For the duration of this power, the thaumaturge can cause the victim to perform any physical action. However, due to the nature of this control, the difficulties of all the actions of the victim increase by two. The concentration this power requires also increases the thaumaturgeâ€™s own difficulties by two for all actions undertaken while manipulating the victim. Another application of this power extends the duration of this arcane control. Marionette does not rob the victim of his cognizance, only his physical control over his body. During this time of thaumaturgeâ€™s mastery, the target remains aware that some outside force is manipulating his actions, conscious that they are not his own.