Some vampires forgo the petty mortal concerns embodied by the concept of Humanity. These Kindred reason that they are no longer human, so they have no need to apply the sentiments of the living to themselves.
Whether or not a Kindred chooses to follow the moral tenets of Humanity, some sort of behavioral system must exist. To accept utter randomness is to invite the Beast to rule, and no vampire wishes to sink into the clutches of mindless depravity. Even those vampires who plumb the depths of immorality have some ethical bulwark they use to anchor themselves against the Beast.
Kindred who voluntarily abandon Humanity follow behavioral codes known as Paths of Enlightenment. While mechanically similar to Humanity, these codes have very little — in fact, sometimes nothing — to do with the mores of mortal culture. Adopting a Path of Enlightenment means giving up everything that matters to a “normal” person (or indeed, many vampires).
Only those Cainites who have truly abandoned themselves to the dark majesty of vampirism follow Paths, and rarely do any turn back. Players may choose between a variety of different Paths (at the Storyteller’s discretion). It is important to know a few things before you commit to a Path of Enlightenment, however.
• Paths are exclusive. Few Kindred are initiated into the secrets of the Paths. Most vampires — even those of the independent Clans and the Sabbat — follow the ways of Humanity; they simply tend to degenerate to very low levels over time. Not just anyone can follow a Path; becoming such an inhuman creature requires discipline and spiritual strength, albeit of a distinctly alien sort. A person seeking to join a Path must have the capacity to discard her human nature, as well as the fortitude to survive the process.
• Paths are utterly inhuman. Players wishing their characters to adopt Paths of Enlightenment are in for extremely demanding roleplaying experiences. These are codes of immortal ethics that Kindred have spent hundreds of years, if not millennia, studying. It’s fine and good to have a Lasombra character following the Path of Night, but the player will have to devote an enormous amount of energy toward understanding how that character really thinks.
• Paths shock conventional moralities. Paths use game systems similar to Humanity, but the codes that constitute these ideas emphasize such alien ideals that mortal characters observing an adherent is likely to be put off. Some codes espouse killing, while others cannot be bothered with it. Indeed, some codes are so selfish that even thinking about helping others constitutes a moral failure.
These Paths are here to illustrate how utterly inhuman and removed the Kindred are from humankind, and to give them spiritual protection from the talons of the Beast. Use the Paths when the story or character demands them, not to free the characters from penalties for wanton murder or perversion.
Rules and Sistems
Characters on Paths of Enlightenment use the same systems for degeneration as characters who still subscribe to Humanity. Each Path has its own Hierarchy of Sin, which functions the same as the one on.
Some Paths are so far removed from conventional human morality that concepts like Conscience and Self-Control do not apply to them at all. For these codes of ethics, different Virtues apply. Depending upon which Path a character follows, Conscience may be replaced by the Virtue of Conviction, while Self-Control may be replaced by the Virtue of Instinct. No character may have both Conscience and Conviction or Self-Control and Instinct. Which Virtues the character actually possesses depends upon which Path he follows.Remember, however, that all characters have Courage, regardless of Path.
The Conviction Virtue quantifies a character’s ability to maintain a sense of reason when faced with desire, suffering, or need. Conviction represents the reconciliation of the predatory urge with the character’s capacity for atrocity.
As opposed to Conscience, which deals with remorse and atonement for Path transgressions, a character with Conviction recognizes his failure and plans to overcome it. Conviction is completely inhuman; the character who has this Trait can no longer pass for human under anything but the most cursory of scrutiny.
Creatures who can sense the Beast (vampires, werewolves, etc.) immediately recognize someone with the Conviction Virtue for what he truly is: a monster. Like Conscience, Conviction comes into question when a character must check for degeneration.
••••• Completely self-assured
The Instinct Virtue refers to a character’s ability to control the Beast by familiarity rather than denial. It allows characters to “ride the wave” of frenzy and emotional excess by keeping a close rein on their passion, rather than letting passion control them. As atavistic as Conviction, Instinct is the Virtue of a monster who accepts his nature rather than maintaining a sense of human compassion.
Instinct allows the character to harness the Beast’s destructive power; a character with high Instinct is primal and turbulent. A player rolls Instinct when attempting to control a character’s existing frenzy.
When a character who possesses the Instinct Virtue faces frenzy, she always enters the frenzy, unless the difficulty to avoid it is less than her Instinct Trait, in which case she may choose whether or not to frenzy. Thereafter, for the duration of the frenzy, the character is wholly under the Beast’s sway, and must be run by the player (or controlled by the Storyteller) in an appropriate fashion. Any time the player wishes the character to consciously take an action (known as “riding the wave”), she must roll Instinct against the difficulty to avoid the frenzy. Frenzies affect the character normally (including ignoring wound penalties, etc.), though she may sometimes exert a bit of control while so enraged.
Creating a Path Follower
If a player wishes to create a beginning character on a Path, a few changes in the character-creation rules take place.
• Alternate Virtues begin at zero: While every human (and thus every recently Embraced Kindred) has a modicum of their “natural” Virtues, vampiric Virtues must be learned from the ground up. So, while a character with Conscience, Self-Control, and Courage is created with one free dot in each Virtue, then has seven points to spend on Virtues, a character with Conviction, Self-Control, and Courage begins with only two free dots (in Self-Control and Courage). A character with Conviction, Instinct, and Courage begins with only one free dot (in Courage). All characters receive seven points to spend, but must use points to buy the inhuman Virtues to at least 1. This may seem unfair, but shunting off one’s human nature is not undertaken lightly. Even monsters are not created overnight.
• A vampire following a Path of Enlightenment must begin the game with a Willpower Trait of 5, minimum: This can be achieved by spending points on Courage or raising Willpower with freebie points. Beings of lesser ego simply do not have the spiritual vigor needed to break down their souls and rebuild them from the ground up.
• Beginning characters may not start the game with Path ratings above 5: If the combination of the character’s Virtues would indicate a Path rating of higher than 5, simply record “5.” Likewise, freebie points may not be spent to increase a beginning character’s Path rating above 5, either. Beginning character vampires who subscribe to these codes still have only 25 or fewer years of experience as Kindred — hardly enough time to master the rigors of inhuman codes of behavior. (Players starting with older characters may start with increased Path ratings at Storyteller discretion.)
• In all other ways, unless otherwise specified, inhuman Paths and Virtues are used like their human counterparts. So, if a roll calls for the player to use Perception + Self-Control, and the character has Instinct, roll Perception + Instinct. Mechanically the Virtues often fulfill the same purpose, even if some of the application differs.
Switching from Humanity to a Path
A character may also elect to eschew his human nature in favor of a Path. This is exceedingly difficult, and those who fail find themselves permanently soulscarred as a result.
A character seeking to switch from Humanity to a Path must have a Humanity rating of 3 or below, as well as ratings of 1 in whichever Virtue or Virtues are to change to their counterparts. For example, a vampire seeking to follow a Path espousing Conviction and Instinct must have Conscience and Self-Control ratings of 1.
During the chronicle, a candidate is typically approached by a Kindred already on the Path; in this sense, Paths resemble secret fraternal orders, approaching candidates they deem worthy rather than being open to solicitation. This process should be roleplayed.
If the character chooses to initiate himself toward the Path, he begins a program of rigorous study, and a vampire already on the Path is assigned as the initiate’s mentor. An initiate spends at least a year in contemplation and study of the Path’s ways. During this time, the initiate must forcibly degenerate his human Virtues, dropping them to “acceptable” levels (Humanity 3 or below, ratings of 1 in appropriate Virtues), if he has not done so already.
The vampire then undertakes a test, which can be roleplayed by the player and Storyteller. This test can involve study of forbidden lore, answering of riddles, completion of ordeals and tasks, or whatever else the Storyteller deems appropriate for the given Path. However, part of the test always involves the vampire committing an act that, in human terms, would be viewed as an atrocity. Such a deed is undertaken not for the sake of mindless evil, but rather to impart a lesson about the character’s nature in relation to the Path.
Following the completion of the test, the character makes a Willpower roll. If the character’s Humanity is 3, the difficulty of the roll is 8. If the character’s Humanity is 2, the difficulty is 7, and if the character’s Humanity is 1, the difficulty is 6. Willpower may not be spent to gain automatic successes on this roll. If the character succeeds, he sheds his human nature and the Virtues that accompany it, gains ratings of 1 in all appropriate Path Virtues, and gains a Path rating of 1. If the character earns three or more successes, he experiences a profound (if twisted) enlightenment, gaining a Path rating of 2.
If the character fails the roll, he commits a stupid, pointless atrocity without gaining any corresponding understanding. He loses a point of Humanity, fails to attain the rudiments of the Path, but may reattempt the test (at a difficulty appropriate to his lowered Humanity Trait) in a month’s time. If the character botches the roll, he loses a point of Humanity and may not reattempt the test for an entire year.
Should a character be driven to Humanity zero in this fashion, his soul is lost to the Beast, and the character is permanently taken over by the Storyteller.
Paths of Enlightenment
- The Path of Asakku
- The Path of Blood
- The Path of the Bones
- The Path of Caine
- The Path of Cathari
- The Path of Ecstasy
- The Path of Entelechy
- The Path of Evil Revelations
- The Path of the Feral Heart
- The Path of the Hive: Via Hyron
- The Path of Honorable Accord
- The Path of Lilith
- The Path of Metamorphosis
- The Path of Night
- The Path of Paradox
- The Path of Power and the Inner Voice
- The Path of the Scorched Heart
- The Path of Self-Focus
- The Path of Typhon
- The Path of the Warrior
The Roads and Paths of the Dark Ages
Every vampire holds a Beast within her soul. This Beast selfishly seeks immediate gratification and basic survival needs before all other things. To an animal, this might be useful. But to the complex, cerebral creatures called Cainites, this is often distracting or dangerous. After all, a hungry Cainite at the Prince’s court cannot simply grab the nearest mortal and slake her thirst. The Beast is neither intelligent nor patient enough to care about the social (and physical) risks of such an action. Why should it? After all, the Beast believes it controls the apex predator in any given environment. The Beast cares not for the Silence of the Blood, nor any of Caine’s other Traditions. The Beast cares only about what feels right in the moment. Eat it. Fuck it. Kill it. Find shelter. Sleep. Repeat.
To hold back this monster inside, vampires walk Roads of Enlightenment. Roads are equal parts secret society, religion, philosophy, morality, and excuse. Vampires must drink blood to survive. This much, most would not argue. But Roads of Enlightenment tell the Cainite that other, more targeted behaviors are not only acceptable in spite of human morality, but encouraged or even exalted. For example, if a vampire believes she’s evolving past the human condition into a whole different monster beyond even a Cainite, what’s a few dozen lives in the name of experimentation?
A View of a Road
Vampires need Roads, lest they fall to true monstrosity. But what is a Road? They look the part of their mortal counterparts: small, medieval churches. Sometimes, this means congregating in a Cainite’s basement. Often, this means maintaining a neutral meeting ground. For some, this can be informal as a tent kept for services, while for others, it can mean elaborate underground cathedrals. A given Road’s particular values will dictate what constitutes a proper congregation. For example, followers of the Road of the Beast might find a countryside clearing on which to meet, whereas practitioners of the Road of Kings may gather during a mortal noble’s salon, blending and commanding the flock in secret.
Every Road organizes differently. To some Roads, the very idea of formal organization stands as an affront to their precepts. To others, ritual and hierarchy are akin to religious experiences. Even from domain to domain, a Road’s organization may differ dramatically. This is often due to raw numbers; if a Road only has a small handful of adherents, organization looks closer to a coterie, while sprawling cities with a dozen or more practitioners of a Road might have a formal head, a council of advisors, and other assigned roles for lay membership. As a rule of thumb, a city with numerous members on a Road will expect more of its flock.
Walking a Road
By necessity, Roads are challenging to walk. Rigor and zeal help to push back the Beast. Piety to the Road’s precepts helps a vampire find meaning and purpose in a life that’s distinctly different than human existence in the Dark Medieval World. This isn’t to say that all succeed; many Cainites fall to their Beasts and become truly monstrous for a short while before being put down by “civilized” vampires.
Upon Embrace, a vampire must adopt a Road to stave off the Beast. Before the formal choice and adoption, vampires default to the Road of Humanity. Over time, a vampire may choose to walk a different Road. Adopting a Road is a risky affair, and one not to be taken lightly. In many cases a childe will walk his sire’s Road, but this isn’t always true. A Road is an important decision, and most wise sires favor choosing childer for criteria that lend themselves to their Road of choice, sowing the seeds, then letting the childe make the decision for himself.
Characters who have just adopted a Road are called initiates. While the character may academically understand the basic guiding philosophies of her Road, she doesn’t fundamentally feel those philosophies yet. At this phase in the vampire’s development, she may find certain tasks more difficult thanks to her internal struggle. Her aura is one reflecting uncertainty and conflict with those precepts; she’s yet to come to terms with what they actually mean in her unlife. This breeds an uphill battle, a challenge for her to face. She pushes forward on her Road not because her Road works for her, but because she has faith that she can make it work with her in time.
In game terms, an Initiate has one to three dots in her Road.
An Adherent to a Road has walked long enough to feel the fundamental truths of his philosophy. He’s had chances to test his beliefs against real world scenarios, and has found strength in his convictions. This truth and knowledge rings powerfully in the Cainite, reaffirming his existence. Most of his actions can be defined by how they relate to his Road’s tenets. His Road becomes a lens through which he can view all things.
In game terms, an Adherent has four to seven dots in his Road. Most Cainites are Adherents in their Roads. Even the eldest, most powerful Cainites trend toward this level, as the most dedicated adherents withdraw from Cainite society to pursue their Roads.
For a Road to persist across centuries, it requires teachers to perpetuate the knowledge, the faith, and the understanding of its ideals. At a certain point, most Roads encourage accomplished Adherents to step up and become Mentors to another character. Even among the most individualistic and competitive Roads, it serves a member to teach her inferiors, as that tutelage may afford a bit of respect, and less scrutiny when the student assesses threats to his own rise to power.
In game terms, a character taught by a Mentor with more dots in the Road can raise her Road score with one fewer experience points per dot between their scores, to a minimum of half normal cost. For example, a character on Road of the Beast at five dots would normally have to spend twelve points for her sixth dot. With a Mentor with eight dots in the Road, she’d only need to spend nine points, since there’s a difference of three dots.
Paragons are not just teachers; they stand as ideals for what a Road represents. Her aura holds a sense of majesty; her words carry immense authority in her field. She’s experienced a great many things, and has mastered her relationship to her Beast. If her Road preaches of Golconda, she may have insight into what it is.
In game terms, a Paragon has eight or more dots in her Road. The few Cainites who become Paragons tend to withdraw from the night-to-night affairs of the general vampiric populace, as pursuit of the Road becomes an all-consuming effort.
Apostates have abandoned their way, and often joined another Road. At the very least, they’ve sinned against the very idea of the Road they abandoned. Depending on the Road, other adherents view an Apostate with varying degrees of scorn or disdain. For example, Road of Humanity members usually look at an Apostate as a monstrosity, a failure, “just another Cainite.” After all, Road of Humanity is the default everyone is Embraced with, and to join another Road means abandoning the last vestiges of one’s human self. A Road of Heaven follower may look to an Apostate as a heretic that must be put down for his blasphemy. A member of the Road of Kings sees a weakling, and another wretch to put under the heel.
In game terms, an Apostate generally means a character who has changed Roads. Alternatively, it can be used to refer to a character known to have transgressed against a level one precept on the Road’s hierarchy of sins.
Excommunicates have been removed by the Road’s status quo. The character has been deemed a sinner beyond redemption, and is no longer welcome on the path. This is a rare occurrence, and one not taken lightly. Most Roads have rituals and observances, protocol and methods for excommunicating a member. Some, on the other hand, simply kill their failures.
In game terms, a recognized Paragon can excommunicate an Initiate character from his Road. An Adherent requires a consensus of three Paragons to excommunicate. Paragons cannot functionally be excommunicated; generally a Paragon who has sinned sufficiently to warrant excommunication is simply put down by the Road at large. An excommunicated character can remain on her Road indefinitely, but suffers a +2 difficulty on all Conscience/Conviction rolls while she remains on the Road. In addition, double any aura penalties.
Throughout a character’s existence, she may seek to change her Road. This is a risky proposition, since it pushes the character close to the Beast as she “resets” her entire way of thinking. The character must have a mentor on the desired Road in order to take the step, and the process is detailed below.
Functionally speaking, characters start on the Road of Humanity upon the Embrace. A character who has changed his Road becomes an Apostate. Some Roads allow this without pressure or backlash. Others do not accept splitters.
Step One: Diminish Virtues
Compare the character’s current Road with her desired Road. She likely must change at least one Virtue, be it Self-Control to Instinct, Conscience to Conviction, or in vice versa. To change a Virtue, the character must shed the current Virtue. This requires she sin against her current Road (and her current Road rating), and sacrifice her Virtue dots instead of her Road rating. She cannot change her Virtue, and thus adopt a new Road, until she reaches a single dot in her old Virtue. Note that Virtues that don’t need to change can be left alone. For example, if a character transitions from a Road using Self-Control to another using Self-Control, she doesn’t need to drop her Self-Control to change Roads.
Note that this means a character with a new Road will likely have at least one Virtue at a single dot.
Step Two: Wander Astray
Next, she must shed her current adherence. She must abandon levels in her current Road through sins against the Road. It’s not until she’s at a single dot of her current Road that she can adopt another.
Step Three: Moment of Truth
Lastly, the character must take a leap into her new Road. She must experience a Moment of Truth for her new Road. As she experiences the change, her Beast attempts to take control of her body, stripping her of her Roads completely and leaving her an irredeemable monster.
In game terms, this first dot is free. However, when making the change, the character must fight off her Beast. This requires an extended Willpower roll. The character spends a point of Willpower for each roll, and rolls her Willpower dots. The difficulty is 10- her total combined Virtue dots remaining. She needs a total of ten successes to adopt the new Road. If she fails a single roll, she can continue. But if she runs out of Willpower, she falls to zero dots in her current Road and becomes lost to the Beast. A botch on any of these rolls costs her an additional point of Willpower per botch rolled.
Roads are rated by dot level, from zero to ten dots. A rating of ten dots reflects an absolute paragon of her Road’s ideals. A rating of zero dots reflects a vampire that’s fallen completely from her Road.
A character may never roll more dice to resist Rötschreck, frenzy, or any other denial of her Beast than she has Road dots. She’s similarly limited in Virtues; she cannot roll more dice for a Virtue than she has dots in her Road. A character’s Road rating affects her aura, which in turn adds or subtracts difficulty from certain rolls.
Characters with higher Road ratings have come to terms with themselves, and thus have less inner turmoil. As result, they rise earlier in the evening. There are no hard numbers on this, but a character with seven or more dots in her Road will rise just before the sun sets, and a character with four or fewer will rise up to an hour after. If a character is forced to act during the day, all dice pools have a maximum of her Road rating.
Lastly, all vampires are predators. Characters with higher Road ratings have more control of their façades and can pass easily among the flock. Characters with lower Road ratings wear their predation on their sleeve. Apply all aura modifiers to any social interactions with humans as well as the normal aura effect.
On the following pages, you’ll find examples of the most common Roads characters walk in V20 Dark Ages. Here are the various traits and features of each:
These Ethics build the foundation, the backbone of the Road. All adherents to the Road generally recognize these precepts. If a character cannot at least nominally acknowledge these ideas, her Road will be a hard one.
This section addresses how most members enter the Road. While these guidelines can be somewhat detailed, they’re not hard rules. Every given domain’s practitioners organize differently, adopting their own local rituals and customs. It’s also worth noting that in some cities, a certain Road may be considered heretical or otherwise outlawed, so their customs reflect a certain amount of prudence.
Then we explain a bit about how your average domain’s Road practitioners organize, if such an average exists. Organization varies widely, mostly dependent on populations and popularity of that Road in the given domain.
A practitioner of a Road possesses a certain aura, a personal bearing, a palpable force of presence that embodies the Road’s ethos. For characters high on their Roads, this gives them a reduced difficulty on rolls due to their confidence and grace in these situations. For characters low on their Roads, their struggle manifests as a personal challenge they must overcome, and thus they suffer a difficulty increase.
Every Road manifests its aura differently, and indeed every practitioner is subtly unique in this expression. When choosing your character’s Road, think about how that aura comes into play, what it looks like, what it feels like. Consider how it might shift and change as the ratings change in play.
Aura modifiers definitely apply to relevant Social rolls. However, with Storyteller discretion, a character’s aura might affect any roll with which her character’s bearing should give an advantage or disadvantage. For example, a character on the Road of Kings might get her aura modifier on Willpower rolls to resist forced subordination. As a Storyteller, favor allowing dramatically appropriate benefits from auras. After all, maintaining a high Road score can be a challenge; the player most certainly earned the benefits.
Aura modifiers also apply to all social interactions with mortals, as a vampire with a lower Road rating becomes unstable and ferocious, which upsets humans and inspires fight-or-flight instincts.
Consult the chart for aura modifiers.
Rating Aura Modifier
10 -2 difficulty
8-9 -1 difficulty
4-7 no modifier
2-3 +1 difficulty
1 +2 difficulty
Roads define themselves through numerous criteria. The most immediately noticeable differentiation is the divide in Virtues. Every Road ascribes to either Conscience or Conviction, as well as either Instinct or Self-Control.
No Road is a monolith. Even the fiercest, most zealous Roads spawn divergent thinking. A Path reflects one of these branches in philosophy. While Paths share most of their ethics with the mainstream Road, some of their particular values or sins can be different, or just differently emphasized.
When choosing a Road, a character can choose a Path. Changing from a Road to one of its Paths can be done at any time the character has a Moment of Truth. Use the same extended Willpower roll as if the character was switching to another Road, but only five successes are required. Additionally, failure results in the loss of a dot in the Road. A botch results in two lost dots. This means a character is unlikely to lose himself to the Beast entirely when switching to a new Path.
Sins Against the Road
Included in each Road description is a list of sins to the Road’s philosophy. Violating these tenets may risk the vampire’s personal stake in the Road.
These lists feature one or more sins at each level from one to ten. While all the sins on the list are considered violations of the Road, a character only risks her Road rating if violating a sin at her dot rating or lower. For example, a character with Road of Kings at seven dots risks her Road rating when she commits a level four sin or a level seven sin, but a level eight or higher sin is beyond her level of piety.
When a character sins at or below her level, roll her Conscience or Conviction. The base difficulty is 6, but increases by 1 for every level of difference between the sin and the character’s current Road rating. For example, a character with six dots in her Road who commits a level 4 sin rolls at difficulty 8. A failure means the character loses a dot of her Road. Alternatively, she can lose a dot of Conscience, Conviction, Instinct, or Self-Control. This is required to adopt a new Road, since you cannot change a Virtue without first reducing it to a single dot.
In story terms, success means the character rationalizes their sin, contemplates it, and it does not mar her philosophical bulwark. Failure means she slips further toward monstrosity, as her Road’s fabric unravels.
Note that the hierarchy of sins is a guideline. Any time a character violates what her player or the Storyteller feels is an appropriate tenet of her faith, she can risk losing a dot of her Road. As well, if a player wishes, she can reduce her Road rating without rolling if she feels her character has not been living up to her Road’s ideals.
Moments of Truth
A Moment of Truth is an experience the character undergoes which tests and ultimately reaffirms her attachment to her Road. It’s a moment of trial, tribulation, epiphany, or fundamental lesson. Through these moments, a character can advance her Road rating or change Roads completely.
If a character experiences a Moment of Truth and raises her Road rating in the same story, the Road dot costs half the normal number of experience points. This occurs after any reduction from having an experienced mentor. Round down any fractions, to a minimum of one experience point.
Here are some sample Moment of Truth catalysts:
Major Sin: If a character commits a level 1-3 sin on her Road’s hierarchy of sins, particularly if she makes the resulting roll to resist losing a Road dot, she can be inspired to advance in her Road. This comes through a realization of some deeper truth in her beliefs.
Frenzy: If a character frenzies without risking a dot of her Road, she can undergo a Moment of Truth. This comes about as she better understands her Beast and how to reconcile her relationship to it.
Study With Mentor: If the character studies with a valid mentor (with more dots in the Road or Path than the character) for a number of months equal to her current Road dots, she can be eligible for a Moment of Truth.
Penance: If the character loses a dot of her Road, or otherwise commits a grievous sin against the Road (or even just the local organization of her Road; remember that Roads are social phenomena), she can show penance and find meaning and purpose in rejoining the Road with renewed vigor.
Significant Story Event: At Storyteller discretion, any significant event that reaffirms the character’s journey along her Road can act as a Moment of Truth.
To most, Golconda is a myth. To some, it’s an unattainable goal. To others still, it’s a purpose for existence. Many Roads preach of Golconda, of some higher state, of some pinnacle of being where the paragon coexists with her Beast and becomes a more perfect vampire as result. This means something different to each Road. However, what one Road teaches of Golconda could likely be immensely heretical to other Roads.This means that only a brave (or ignorant) Cainite advertises her trek toward Golconda. For one seeking a path to enlightenment, this can grow very frustrating, as the likely wellsprings of knowledge all remain silent on the matter, pretending to know nothing.
Golconda may exist. It may not exist. Cainite scholars all have heard stories; their sires knew a vampire whose childe met a vampire who once met a creature in Golconda. These stories share very little in common. Their one defining feature is that none can be verified.
The Roads and Paths
- The Road of Beast: Via Bestiae
- Path of the Hunter
- Path of Journeys
- Path of Liberation
- The Road of Heaven: Via Caeli
- Path of Christ
- Path of Life: Derech Chaim
- Path of The Prophet
- The Road of Humanity: Via Humanitas
- Path of Breath
- Path of Community
- Path of Illumination
- The Road of Kings: Via Reglis
- Path of Chivalry
- Path of Devaraja
- Path of Daena
- The Road of Lilith: Derech Lilit
- Path of Thorns
- Path of Veils
- Path of Making
- The Road Of Metamorphosis: Via Mutationis
- The Road of Sin: Via Peccati
- Path of Pleasure
- Path of the Devil
- Path of Screams
The Path of the Eightfold Wheel takes its name from Druidic paganism and its focus on honoring the gods and spirits of nature through devotion to nature and the spirits, serving balance in all things, and a rotating calendar of astronomically based festivals. While many Cainites who walk this path are of the Druidic faith, other Cainites who follow shamanistic pagan traditions walk this path as well.
Hierarchy of Sins Against the Eightfold Wheel
|10||Failing to spend time alone in the silence of nature||It is through nature that the gods are revealed to us.|
|9||Betraying a secret||The Druids teach us that we must be blind where secrets are concerned.|
|8||Failing to care for the sick and the weak||One cannot be strong without concern for others.|
|7||Letting pride come before justice||One must be strong toward the strong and weak toward the strengthless.|
|6||Failing to honor the spirits of nature||The spirits aid and guide us.|
|5||Failing to honor the gods||The gods created the world that sustains us.|
|4||Breaking a promise||A promise is a sacred bond.|
|3||Acting to upset the balance of nature||For the righteous must seek balance in all things.|
|2||Failure to conduct yourself with honor||The gods honor those who live with honor.|
|1||Failure to seek self-knowledge||Never permit self-deception to obscure knowledge of the self.|
The Path of Watchful Gods is less practiced than it used to be. Its adherents mainly consist of followers of the old Greek and Roman faiths, though practitioners of more modern pagan traditions walk this path as well. Vampires on this path devote themselves to serving the gods through making regular sacrifices, honoring and protecting that which the gods deem sacred, and adhering to strict codes of honor.
Hierarchy of Sins Against the Watchful Gods
|10||Failing to make regular sacrifices||Regular sacrifices give the gods strength.|
|9||Lying||Do not dishonor yourself in the eyes of the gods with false words.|
|8||Offending the gods or spirits with violence||Do not disrespect the spirits with violence, for they are quick to take offense and their memory is long.|
|7||Failing to act honorably||The gods reward honor and punish dishonor.|
|6||Stealing from offerings or sacrifices||Give the gods the first fruits of your labor and do not grudge them their portion.|
|5||Not honoring priests||Priests are the servants of order and balance favored by the gods.|
|4||Killing a sacred animal||Honor that which the gods have decreed sacred.|
|3||Defiling sacred places||Defiling a temple is like cursing the gods themselves.|
|2||Damaging the image of the gods||One should strive always to honor the gods in thought and deed.|
|1||Reviling a god or the gods||The gods are the source of all life and goodness.|