To cast magic one must draw from a source of power—the most common being aether. The undead curse upon the soul bars any connection with the Earth’s ambient spiritual energy, however, so an appropriate substitute in blood sacrifice is used. Blood quality has a direct correlation to the resulting strength of a spell, making more potent blood—such as an Ancient’s—highly valued.
The Strigoi are measured in the use of their resources. Animal blood is used by neophytes during practice so as not to waste precious edible reserves of the human kind. Strigoi are known for making synthetic blood to stave off hunger, but it is only a cheap imitation that lacks the necessary sacrifice to cast magic.
Blood magic is considered “dirty” by other practitioners of the white and black arts because it is cheating the system with no real inherent talent needed to produce a result. Any sentient creature could theoretically cast blood magic with proper instruction, unlike those that rely on aether who must be born with a gifted soul. To safeguard against their arcane secrets falling into mortal hands, the Strigoi wrote their spells to require the blood to come from within the caster’s own body. The undead can engorge and expend blood on a whim—with total loss only leading to unconsciousness—but humans could never cast anything more than lighting a candle without putting themselves in fatal danger.
A point system was created by the Strigoi to organize the strength and requirements of their spells and rituals with each increment being exponentially more powerful than the last. The lowest tier spells are three points and are represented by a triangle within a circle. Any words or phrases that need to be invoked are scribed around it, more as a reminder than a function of the spell. The effects of a three-point cast are so trivial by modern day standards that many acolytes choose to skip the majority of them when mentoring neophytes.
“Real” magic begins at five points represented by a star called a pentagram, or pentacle if encircled. Out of all the heinous, unethical experiments conducted by the Strigoi, they insist that they have no ties to Hell and to consider the pentagram demonic is sheer ignorance perpetuated by dim humans during the Dark Ages’ witch hunts. Despite the stigma surrounding it, the pentagram and pentacle remain the most common symbol in the daily life of the Strigoi.
Seven-point spells are the highest tier that any undead can cast on their own and only one at a time even when fully engorged. Nine through thirteen-point spells require not only more potent blood than a human’s, but also other casters to join in and help reduce the difficulty. A Strigoi Ancient is the exception to this as they can fire off thirteen-point spells on their own in rapid succession without tiring. Magic on this level is catastrophic and can effortlessly change the landscape by ripping apart reality at its seams or altering the flow of time and space on a grand scale. Fortunately, the Strigoi Ancients are intelligent enough not to draw attention to themselves with such wanton destruction seeing as it only makes them more desirable to the Infernals watching hungrily from their sulfur pits.