It is specifically said in the rules that vampires have very little to do with Umbra, with the rare exception of Giovanni, who can summon wraiths for the Shadowlands and rare Kolduns who can summon minor ethereal entities and interact with them.

It is also reiterated in MtA, that the Embrace effectively performs Gilgul on subject's Avatar, destroying it.

Furthermore, I haven't yet seen any power innate to vampires that could enable them to traverse the Gauntlet.

However, I am not entirely sure, whether vampires can or cannot enter Umbra. Wraiths are Avatar-less as well and they can pass the Gauntlet (or be forcibly dragged through it). Some of my friends argued, that vampires are technically soulless (hard to establish if that's true) and they should be treated like objects - capable of being passed, but unable to manipulate Etherea or travel on their own. Other arguments I heard is that Avatar-less creatures cannot pass, unless they are ethereal in the first place (with Weres being treated as having a common group Avatar - Gaia) or that since they leave no mark in Umbra, they cannot exist there at all.

However, I find it quite perplexing, with a specific situation where a Dreamspeaker mage wanted to lead a Tremere elder through Umbra, causing a massive argument whether it should be possible or not and what are the implications for the vampire and his possibilities when in Umbra. Could you please clear it for me? I'm not looking for RAW verdict, but rather a RAI interpretation.

  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ Vampires are not soulless. They have an aura (the power to see it is called Soulsight in Dark Ages), they can revive as ghosts if killed, and even their souls can be eaten by other vampires. The Path of the Death and Soul studies the souls, including the vampiric souls. The Dark Ages vampires debated whether they could or not save their souls, but the existence of the souls were out of the question. The only people that say that vampires have no soul are their enemies that only know them from outside, such as werewolves. Of course, everything relating to souls are quite subjective. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mu_
    Sep 8, 2014 at 9:32
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ Just my two cents: "A vampire somehow brought into the Penumbra is in trouble during the day, as the sunlight is never direct but practically omnipresent"; "they find spirit food (or blood) impossible to ingest" - Umbra Revised. \$\endgroup\$
    – ArtemGr
    Sep 16, 2014 at 10:39

3 Answers 3


Cainites can project their souls to the near Umbra with Auspex 5. The power description (V20 pg 138-139) even says they would be able to travel further into the spirit worlds, where they could encounter spirits, werewolves or mages. This always spiritually.

I'm pretty sure cainites can travel to the Dark Umbra via Necromancy.

It's the Deep Umbra what's complicated. Kindred usually have little power relating to the spirit world (not counting the dead). The Tremere have a spiritual path, and the Ahrimanes had their own spirit magic (but they had to weaken their kindred nature to access it). Those magic forms are weak, compared to what you can achieve with Necromancy. I don't think there is any power or ritual that allow a kindred to travel the Umbra.

Kuei-jin can travel spiritually or physically to both the Umbra and Dark Umbra (Shadowlands and Underworld) with many methods. And they are as dead and as Avatar-less as Kindred (well, some are less dead, but some are more). Their nature do not suffer in those worlds more than a werewolf's.

I'm not sure if an official source has said something on the matter, but I think, given the above statements, Cainites cannot travel to the Umbra on their own, but if someone puts them there, they will be like any other being. They will have a tough time trying to move around, or to go back, though.

Also note that W:tA cosmology imposed that many spirits reacted poorly to Vampires, so that would be a good reason to stick to material world. I think the text "vampires have very little to do with Umbra" reinforce the idea that they could be there, but they would rather not.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I belive there is a Thaumaturgy Ritual to enter the Umbra. Possibly in Clan Book Tremere? (don't have the books at hand), possibly also incorporated in V20? \$\endgroup\$
    – Random
    Oct 14, 2014 at 18:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Random I don't know because I'm not a Thaumaturgy expert. The only thing I can say it's not in V20 core, nor in V20 Rites of Blood. I don't know if it's on older books, though. \$\endgroup\$
    – Flamma
    Oct 15, 2014 at 9:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ The Nagarjah do have a Rite that takes them to the Dark Umbra (where Enoch was located). Thamaturgical Level 4 - Shadowgate. Auspex 5 only gets you into the High Umbra (where the ideas and so on are located). \$\endgroup\$ Jun 29, 2017 at 20:56

Agree with what has been said about Auspex 5/Psychic Projection - Technically you could end up anywhere in Psychic form given Luck and Time.

Umbra is a loosely defined term in the World of Darkness. As a Vampire Player, I gather that Mage Players see the Umbra as including the Underworld, but the Vampire rules treat them as separate things. YMMV/Expect Table Variation.

Getting to the Underworld isn't too hard, I'm Sure Necromancers know better tricks but if you poke around a well-equipped Tremere Library you'd find several approaches: (Well, actually, you'd be captured and harvested for parts, but its a figure of speech.)

Vague paraphrasing ahead, check the book references for detail.

Shadowgate, Level 4 Ritual, Dirty Secrets of the Black Hand pg. 79 Lets you step through a shadow to the corresponding point in the Shadowlands.

Shadowland Passage, Level 5 Ritual, Dirty Secrets of the Black Hand pg. 80 Lets you do a little fake-suicide-ritual and you end up at a given point in the Shadowlands.

Mass Grave, Level 6 Ritual, Dirty Secrets of the Black Hand pg. 80 Bury your friends alive and they'll go there too.

Umbra Walk, Level 5 Ritual. Laws of the Night pg 188 Requires a sacrificial victim (bye-bye Humanity Point!), lets you go to the Umbra proper.


Necromancy allows you to travel to Shadowlands and Thaumaturgy rituals should allow to enter deeper umbra as well. Now, I can't quote the source, but I believe it was in the 2nd edition of W:tA mentioning that while Vampire can be moved to Penumbra, it would be deadly to him, since the permanent twilight would be dealing damage similar to being exposed to a sun.

  • \$\begingroup\$ V20 pg 138-139: Although an astrally projected character remains in the reflection of the mortal world, she may venture further into the spirit realms, especially if she becomes lost. Other beings with particular sensitivity to psychic activity, such as ghosts, werewolves, and even some magi, travel the astral plane as well, and can interact with a vampire’s psychic presence normally \$\endgroup\$
    – Flamma
    Sep 8, 2014 at 22:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ok, I guess I was wrong \$\endgroup\$
    – Yasskier
    Sep 8, 2014 at 22:37

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