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If you had something that belonged to a Black Court Vampire (clothing, hair, a tooth. etc.) could a Wizard perform Thaumaturgy to create a Tracking Spell to locate the vampire?

The reason I ask is I know that if you try to do a Tracking Spell for a deceased mortal the spell doesn't work. Inherently Black Court Vampires are "corpses", so I'm curious as to whether it would work or not.

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    \$\begingroup\$ "if you try to do a Tracking Spell for a deceased mortal the spell doesn't work" — do you have a source for that? I'd like to read the full explanation. \$\endgroup\$
    – Quentin
    Jul 22, 2015 at 15:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Quentin At least one reference: Small Favor, Chapter 5: “I tried to collect some of the blood in the reflective symbols and use it in a tracking spell to follow it back to its original owner, but it was a bust. Either the blood was already too dry to use or else the person who had donated it was dead.” \$\endgroup\$ Jul 22, 2015 at 17:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie - That particular reference was based on the fact that the symbolic link has to be freshly taken from the target by RAW. See YS261. There's no indication in RAW that you can't search for objects (a corpse), rather than people. Harry's Tracking Spell has that limitation, but not "Solve Improbable or Impossible Problems", YS263. \$\endgroup\$
    – Chuck Dee
    Jul 22, 2015 at 19:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Quentin After reading the other comments I think I was confused. I think it doesn't work if your sample is from a living host who has since become deceased. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 23, 2015 at 15:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KennifusPrime - As we're not supposed to answer in comments, I've distilled the answer into an actual answer. Take a look and see if it summarizes it well. \$\endgroup\$
    – Chuck Dee
    Jul 23, 2015 at 17:33

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TL;DR Answer

So long as you can get a symbolic link, you can use a ritual to find a corpse- though that link would have to have been made after the target was a corpse. And in a similar way, you could use a tracking spell to find a BCV, but that would require a symbolic link made after the target was made into a vampire. And of course, there's the problems of warding and such.

Debunking Negative Assertions

I think that one of your assertions, i.e.

The reason I ask is I know that if you try to do a Tracking Spell for a deceased mortal the spell doesn't work.

is making you make assumptions on the RAW that are not there.

Harry does have a tracking spell in the book, i.e. YS298 "Harry's Tracking Spell". And it does seem to be limited to living targets. But it is also quick and dirty, and so those are limitations of his tracking spell (if you infer the statement of target to mean that), and references such as the problems that Harry stated in the books, i.e.

Small Favor, Chapter 5: “I tried to collect some of the blood in the reflective symbols and use it in a tracking spell to follow it back to its original owner, but it was a bust. Either the blood was already too dry to use or else the person who had donated it was dead.”

For the first part, Harry is an unreliable witness, and secondly, Harry's particular use of thaumaturgic ritual might have limitations placed on them from his casting style.

RAW Analysis

So, moving back to RAW. From YS261, the symbolic link has to be freshly taken from the target. But, there are no other limitations inherent in "Solve Improbable or Impossible Problems", YS263.

The most general effect of thaumaturgy allows the wizard to do something that he wouldn’t normally be able to do. In that sense, a ritual spell is a simple action on steroids. The wizard tries to accomplish something basic, but safely ignores any limitations that might thwart a normal person from trying to accomplish the same thing by mundane means. Prohibitions of time, distance, and personal effort mean absolutely nothing to the wizard armed with the appropriate ritual.

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