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  • Head Spinning after Reading Tal'Mahe'Ra Book, Please Help

    I know I'm a little late to the party, but I just finished reading the V20 TMR book for the first time and I have questions, so many questions. Possible spoilers ahead.

    First off, I knew of the, let's say, mixed reputation of the original TMR book so I never read it. I didn't start playing WoD games until the early 2000s (thanks to Bloodlines) when it was "dead," so I'm not a veteran and most of my knowledge of the setting comes from reading the wikis and the occasional PDF from an older edition that I could scrounge up, so I apologize if some of these questions are ignorant.

    I also know everything in the new TMR book is "optional" and some if it was written to specifically contradict other stuff in the more canonical books. Presumably it wouldn't have gotten written if wasn't intended to have some canonical impact at all, however.

    Having said that, here are the things I have questions about right now:

    Baali

    Woo boy. The whole deal with the Baali is hard to wrap my head around. V20 Lore of the Bloodline implies Nergali are dumb Baali who play up the part of being demon worshipers. They're used by other, smarter Baali to cover their own tracks. I am aware the Lore of the Bloodlines narrator is very unreliable .

    TMR splits the bloodline into two factions, the Nergali (who really worship demons, possibly wanting to become demons) and Molochi (who placate demons to keep them from waking and destroying the world). Most of what I know of this conflict from other sources seems to imply Moloch betrayed Nergal for practical/strategic reasons, not on principal (similar to the "Nergali are just dumb & obvious Baali" from Lore of the Bloodlines).

    Which of these is true? Is this one of the intentional disconnects between the main canon and what is presented in TMR?

    Since we're on the topic, the Baali Dominion of the Order of Moloch, Sahar-Hanibaal, has two Blood Magic paths listed (Music of the Spheres and Whispers of the Heavens). I cannot find them in V20 books (I know they are from older editions of the game). Did I miss them? If not, are there any existing V20 Paths that could reasonably simulate them?

    Koldunism (& Tzimisce in general)

    Koldunism in TMR is said to be have become tainted by Kupala. If I'm reading the book correctly,The Old Clan Tzimisce in the TMR prefer to practice a pure, land-based version of of Koldunism called Kraina.

    Now, the problem here is I'm not sure I'm comprehending these sections correctly. Are are all of the Old Clan part of the Order of Moloch? If not, are all Old Clan part of the TMR, or just the ones who are part of the Order of Moloch? If some Old Clan are part of the Order of Moloch and some aren't, are there a significant number of Old Clan who are not part of the Order of Moloch who are still part of the TNR? Do all Old Clan practice untainted Koldunism or only the ones in the TMR (if there are any)? Do some Old Clan who are not in the TMR (if there are any) practice pure Koldunism while others practice tainted Koldunism? Is there any reason kraina should be mechanically different from regular Koldunism, or can it just be a flavor difference?

    Idran

    This is less a question for clarification and more a request for advice. I like the TMR, but I don't like too much crossover between WoD supernaturals; if it happens I like it on an individual or small group level. A multi-supernatural sect (especially of the Big 3 Vampires, Werewolves, & Mages) is pretty much out of the question for my chronicles. With that in mind, what should I do about the Idran?

    My first instinct is to say they all became the Nagaraja; the original 8 yamasattva are the ones to have discovered the method by studying the Guarded Rubrics (and experimenting on copious amounts of Settite blood), however they didn't pass the method on to the rest of the Idran until it became clear they would need a lot of vampires to hold off the Settites. They are to the Nagaraja what Moloch, Nergal and Ur-shul, err, the Unnamed are to the Baali. Does this seem reasonable?

    I will probably have more questions because I need to re-read the book to wrap my head around it fully. Thanks for any responses.


    My W20 Play-by-Post Game

  • #2
    As far as the Baali go, they're trying to reconcile version differences. The Molochim were introduced in -- but not called as such, if I remember right -- the DA:V book, where it introduced the "commit atrocities to keep Eldritch Evil™ at bay" thing. Before that, all that was detailed is what would become known as the Nergali. V20 reconciles this, by stating they're two cold-warring factions of the same bloodline who share mutual loathing and think the other is toying with powers they cannot comprehend; it's also in there the Avatars of the Swarm are the followers of the Unnamed, which represent a third, smaller, even more secretive, faction of the Baali.

    Not all Old Clan Tzimisce are TMR. Some may be, others may be members of the Oradea League, others yet Inconnu (potentially), or any combination thereof. None, as far as I know, are Molochim -- but they did patronize the Molochim over the Kupala question, and sponsor Molochim in the TMR.

    The lore on Koldunic sorcery is unclear and all over the place, but the books (weakly) imply the change to have occurred thanks to Kupala's binding in 1314 (see, TC). Old-form Koldunism (kraina) was the hippy-dippy shit, but when Kupala was bound enterprising Tzimisce were able to tap its power directly to create new-form Koldunism (ways).

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Formosus View Post

      Idran

      This is less a question for clarification and more a request for advice. I like the TMR, but I don't like too much crossover between WoD supernaturals; if it happens I like it on an individual or small group level. A multi-supernatural sect (especially of the Big 3 Vampires, Werewolves, & Mages) is pretty much out of the question for my chronicles. With that in mind, what should I do about the Idran?

      My first instinct is to say they all became the Nagaraja; the original 8 yamasattva are the ones to have discovered the method by studying the Guarded Rubrics (and experimenting on copious amounts of Settite blood), however they didn't pass the method on to the rest of the Idran until it became clear they would need a lot of vampires to hold off the Settites. They are to the Nagaraja what Moloch, Nergal and Ur-shul, err, the Unnamed are to the Baali. Does this seem reasonable?

      I will probably have more questions because I need to re-read the book to wrap my head around it fully. Thanks for any responses.
      I don't get the impression there are MANY Idran. Their numbers were small, They haven't had alot of chances to teach new members. You could just as easily have the sect have access to like 6-12 idran and that's all that exist. Essentially the mage group has been completely coopted but there might be some hold overs so its not completely Tremereish.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Formosus View Post
        I also know everything in the new TMR book is "optional" and some if it was written to specifically contradict other stuff in the more canonical books. Presumably it wouldn't have gotten written if wasn't intended to have some canonical impact at all, however.
        Well here's your first problem: you're getting hung up on this "canon" concept.

        Canon is irrelevant. The Metaplot is irrelevant. VtM is a game/shared narrative, run by Storytellers and Players. The "Canon" is whatever the Storyteller wants it to be, and whatever shakes out when the Players get done stomping around the game world, shoving over established characters and groups. While the Revised era of the World of Darkness forgot this simple fact - getting too caught up in telling Players and Storytellers the "right" way to run games - the game is meant to be modular. It's whatever you want it to be. That's the Golden Rule in a nutshell.

        So whenever the books give this or that version of the metaplot or how the game world works, it's meant to be taken as suggestions. It is not "this is what MUST be true", but rather "this is what COULD be true, and here's a number of reasons why that would be interesting". Even when the material published here may contradict material published before or after this book. It's meant to give Players and Storytellers options.


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        • #5
          Originally posted by Bluecho View Post
          Well here's your first problem: you're getting hung up on this "canon" concept.

          Canon is irrelevant. The Metaplot is irrelevant. VtM is a game/shared narrative, run by Storytellers and Players. The "Canon" is whatever the Storyteller wants it to be, and whatever shakes out when the Players get done stomping around the game world, shoving over established characters and groups. While the Revised era of the World of Darkness forgot this simple fact - getting too caught up in telling Players and Storytellers the "right" way to run games - the game is meant to be modular. It's whatever you want it to be. That's the Golden Rule in a nutshell.

          So whenever the books give this or that version of the metaplot or how the game world works, it's meant to be taken as suggestions. It is not "this is what MUST be true", but rather "this is what COULD be true, and here's a number of reasons why that would be interesting". Even when the material published here may contradict material published before or after this book. It's meant to give Players and Storytellers options.

          I am aware of Rule 0 and that I can alter the setting however I want (and I intend to do so, as noted above with the Idran). With this post I want to understand the writer's intent, how the text meshes or conflicts with previous writing, and most of all work out an failings in my interpretation of the text.


          My W20 Play-by-Post Game

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Bluecho View Post
            Well here's your first problem: you're getting hung up on this "canon" concept.

            Canon is irrelevant. The Metaplot is irrelevant. VtM is a game/shared narrative, run by Storytellers and Players. The "Canon" is whatever the Storyteller wants it to be, and whatever shakes out when the Players get done stomping around the game world, shoving over established characters and groups. While the Revised era of the World of Darkness forgot this simple fact - getting too caught up in telling Players and Storytellers the "right" way to run games - the game is meant to be modular. It's whatever you want it to be. That's the Golden Rule in a nutshell.

            So whenever the books give this or that version of the metaplot or how the game world works, it's meant to be taken as suggestions. It is not "this is what MUST be true", but rather "this is what COULD be true, and here's a number of reasons why that would be interesting". Even when the material published here may contradict material published before or after this book. It's meant to give Players and Storytellers options.
            On the other hand, with games and settings with extensive lore and metaplot, there is an official version of events and background. Yes, you could modify that at your leisure and some books, like the TMR are intentionally ambiguous and/or giving a number of possibilities, while some secrets always remain in the shadows. But for those games, the official versionj isn't irrelevant, but it's relevant to the degree in your home game that you want it to be.

            In other words: Masquerade isn't Requiem. There is Canon material. However, TMR is a rather Requiem-esque book in that regard.


            If nothing worked, then let's think!

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Bluecho View Post
              Well here's your first problem: you're getting hung up on this "canon" concept.

              Canon is irrelevant. The Metaplot is irrelevant. VtM is a game/shared narrative, run by Storytellers and Players. The "Canon" is whatever the Storyteller wants it to be, and whatever shakes out when the Players get done stomping around the game world, shoving over established characters and groups. While the Revised era of the World of Darkness forgot this simple fact - getting too caught up in telling Players and Storytellers the "right" way to run games - the game is meant to be modular. It's whatever you want it to be. That's the Golden Rule in a nutshell.

              So whenever the books give this or that version of the metaplot or how the game world works, it's meant to be taken as suggestions. It is not "this is what MUST be true", but rather "this is what COULD be true, and here's a number of reasons why that would be interesting". Even when the material published here may contradict material published before or after this book. It's meant to give Players and Storytellers options.
              ​Quoting for great truth. There are multiple, contradictory perspectives in all World of Darkness books - they're there for you and your players to use in crafting your game. There isn't one true canon - there are just overlapping areas of possibility, some greater, some lesser.

              ​Oh, and to the OP - be careful of relying too much on the wikis. They're a good starting source, but they contain numerous errors, from genuine mistakes to outright fabrication.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Bluecho View Post
                Well here's your first problem: you're getting hung up on this "canon" concept.

                Canon is irrelevant. The Metaplot is irrelevant. VtM is a game/shared narrative, run by Storytellers and Players. The "Canon" is whatever the Storyteller wants it to be, and whatever shakes out when the Players get done stomping around the game world, shoving over established characters and groups. While the Revised era of the World of Darkness forgot this simple fact - getting too caught up in telling Players and Storytellers the "right" way to run games - the game is meant to be modular. It's whatever you want it to be. That's the Golden Rule in a nutshell.

                So whenever the books give this or that version of the metaplot or how the game world works, it's meant to be taken as suggestions. It is not "this is what MUST be true", but rather "this is what COULD be true, and here's a number of reasons why that would be interesting". Even when the material published here may contradict material published before or after this book. It's meant to give Players and Storytellers options.
                This just sounds like a lazy excuse to not have a thought-out consistent setting. Everyone already knows that you can change book material for your home games. Onyx Path Police won't come after me because in my WoD Mythras doesn't exist. But if every book contradicts every other book and the material is all over the place - why buy any book?

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Kammerer View Post
                  This just sounds like a lazy excuse to not have a thought-out consistent setting. Everyone already knows that you can change book material for your home games. Onyx Path Police won't come after me because in my WoD Mythras doesn't exist. But if every book contradicts every other book and the material is all over the place - why buy any book?
                  There's definitely some truth to this. I think that there's a good compromise, which M20 uses very well. Have multiple contradictory bits of Metaplot and Worldbuilding, and then actively address those in side-bars.

                  Anarchs Unbound does this quite neatly, usually giving 3 options for a certain bit of metaplot, and throwing out different ideas for how things could be in the setting.

                  So a great Vampire book would do this with the nature and organisation of the Bloodlines, the True Black Hand, and other issues, giving lots of options and ideas and codifying them. So a sidebar on access to Thaumaturgy might outline three main options. Only the Tremere have it in any real numbers in the Camarilla, or the Tremere face competition from Anarch Sorcerers and Assamites (with the Tremere actively resisting this, even violently), or the Tremere are not fighting the presence of non-Thaumaturgical blood magic, and are simply working to promote themselves as the safe and secure, Camarilla-approved Blood Mages, painting the other options as risky bargain basement occultists.

                  Now of course an ST can glean these three options from the books, but having them laid out in a sidebar is a great way of condensing the information and helping an ST come to a decision.

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                  • #10
                    Baali - I just go with a mix of truth between the groups. That the Baali are, in-part to the nature of their cellular organization and heretical beliefs, a divided group. Some work to serve demons, some to placate them, some to placate and destroy, some just want to mind their own damn business. The rife differences in rumor is just part of the fact that so few Baali actually work in large groups towards the same agreed goal.
                    Music of the Spheres and Whispers of Heaven were old Assamite Paths. Not sure they were ever updated to V20. Updating them probably wouldn't be too hard. You could probably replace Spheres with something like Path of Corruption. Whispers of Heaven would probably be really easy to integrate, though, given how simple the effects are.

                    Koldunism/Tzimisce - No, the implication isn't (from what I recall) that all Old Clan are part of the Order of Moloch or TMR. Just that some are. You still have many our around Europe and elsewhere. But they are a portion of both the Order and TMR, hence their mention alongside other groups (like some of the Nagaraja). Given the nature of TMR and the existence of the Oradea League, it always seemed most Old Clan (those that exist) aren't in the TMR.
                    How many Old Clan practice untainted Kraina? I'd say it is a mixed bag. There are two presented divides for the Old/New Clans - Koldunism versus Kraina and whether or not to use Vicissitude. I think the latter is the more distinct divide, with the former mainly depending on their individual view (unless the book notes otherwise, I know it was emphasized more there than elsewhere). The mechanical differences (imo) are to make them especially distinct. If you wanted, you could always say there are untainted Ways, but it seems like an odd change.

                    Idran - Seems reasonable. Honestly, there's a lot of bits and pieces one can easily discard about the TMR. I think they are one that could be morphed into just a lot of Blood Sorcerers.


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                    • #11
                      Baali

                      The Baali have a number of origin stories that sometimes contradict each other, overall leading to very muddied waters over what is actually canon. Of the various stories they generally diverge into one of two paths.
                      • The first is what I'll call the Slave Boy origin in which the first Baali (called Shaitan) is a slave in either the First or Second City and is chosen for embrace by an Antediluvian called Ashur because of his beauty and enchanting voice. This slave falls into the service of a demon and rises up against either Caine or the Antediluvians and his revolt is put down and he escapes possibly with disciples.
                      • The second is what I'll call the Well of Sacrifice origin in which one or more Antediluvians come upon an ancient tribe of infernalists. They offer flesh sacrifices to a large pit to their demonic master. The Antediluvian(s) disgusted by the tribes actions (either for their evil or their lack of understanding of evil) lay waste to the city and cast its inhabitants into the pit, dripping a bit of their blood into it. From this the original Baali Fourth Generation Methuselah emerged either two or three.
                      The Baali progenitor (called Ashur) is unclear though it seems Saulot, Cappadocius, or the Eldest are the likeliest candidates. Ashur may not be a name but rather a state of mind, from Beckett's Jyhad Diary
                      Beckett: Ashur. You referred to Malkav by the same name. Is he not said to be the founder of the Baali?
                      Serenna: Ashur is a state of being, Beckett. When you succumb to the sins inside, by how are you known?
                      Beckett: Some call it becoming the Beast. Others call it ecstasy.
                      Serenna: Among the legends of the Ashirra, when the Antediluvians succumbed, they became Ashur. Each of them has been Ashur. One of them — at that point — formed the Baali line. That is what I hoped to find here. Instead I found you. You found the Bay’t Majnoon performing a ritual. I believe they have taken Malkav into their minds, as the Al-Amin have taken Saulot into theirs.
                      It would seem that Ashur is either Frenzy or Wassail and each of the Antediluvians has succumbed to it at some point.

                      As for the Baali Methuselah(s) there are generally said to be two or three.
                      • Nergal - Ba'al the Destroyer, the Slave Boy, Huitzilopochtli. A Baali who has wholly sold himself out to his infernal masters for power. Seeks to awaken the Children of the Outer Dark so that they might take over the world.
                      • Moloch - A Baali who sought to keep the Children of the Outer Dark asleep through offerings of placating sacrifice. Sealed beneath the salted earth of Carthage along with his lover Troile.
                      • The Unnamed - Likely Ur-Shulgi. Evidence points to Haqim having embraced the demon possessed child to unite the Baali in an effort to destroy them. Based on the actions of Ur-Shulgi upon his awakening its possible that Ur-Shulgi has since sold out to the infernal forces that his sire embraced him to fight.
                      So trying to piece this all together in a way where the most things are true here's what I think the Baali origin might be (note to those who may have read some of my previous thoughts on the origin of the Baali, this differs after having read and considered different possibilities).

                      The Story
                      Sometime before the fall of the Second City Saulot was returning from his travels in the east where he studied enlightenment. As he reached the area that would one day be known as Mesopotamia he came upon a tribe of people, sometimes called the First Tribe, who offered human sacrifices to massive pit within the center of their city to things they called the Children of the Outer Dark. Furious at their acts he succumbed to frenzy and laid waste to the city casting the broken bodies of its inhabitants into the pit. He shouted about how they did not understand evil and that theirs were weak and petty acts. Saulot having learned much during his time in the east seized control for a few moments to drip blood into the well in the hope that someone would survive and learn from their destruction.

                      Within the pit three of the city's inhabitants have the strength or luck to claim the vitae. They would come to be known as Nergal, Moloch, and Ur-Shulgi. Nergal and Moloch argued over how to rebuild and use the infernal knowledge they possessed. Nergal wished to use the knowledge to gain power to craft a city even greater then before where they could be as gods. Moloch wanted to keep the infernal placated and quiet hiding them remaining members of their tribe. Nergal left taking some of the tribe with him leaving Moloch and others in the remains of their city.

                      Nergal traveled eventually uncovering one of the bodies of the Children of the Outer Dark that he called Namtaru laying dormant beneath the city of Mashkan-shapir. He crafted himself a cult where he was the consort of Ereshkigal. There he offered sacrifices to attempt to awaken the entity. Soon the city was a place of depravity and atrocity where the deepest evils of men held sway. As time passed the city grew to be powerful and prosperous, a center of advancement. Carefully breeding ghouls he crafted a family from the remains of the tribe to serve him, the D'habi. He realized that he would not have the time or support to successfully awaken Namtaru. So he carefully commanded the D'habi to betray him and forget.

                      Moloch had remained hidden and instructed his childer to do the same. Their task was to keep the Children asleep by offering the sweet sacrifices that would be their lullaby. The D'habi approached him and told him of Nergal's plan. Knowing he did not have the power to defeat his kin he betrayed Nergal to the Antediluvians, the gods of the Second City of Enoch. Saulot recognizing the signs of the tribe he had destroyed and sent scouts. Only one returned with horrific tales of atrocity. Saulot sought to bring his brethren to war but many were reluctant. Led by Samiel, Saulot's warrior childe, the alliance warred with the Baali. Haqim embraced mortal wizards to create a line of blood mages to counter the infernal magic of the Baali. Eventually they brought the war to Mashkan-shapir and razed the city, Lasombra shadow priests of Ereshkigal flooding the lower levels with destructive shadow.

                      The Baali scattered without Nergal's leadership. Despite Moloch's wishes he could not unite them under his banner. Some knew of his betrayal and would never assist a traitor, others wanted power for themselves. Haqim, the ever vigilant judge, noticed some of these remaining Baali and knew that continually ferreting them out would be a fool's errand. With this in mind he recalled the story Saulot had told of the tribe of infernal worshippers and their pit. He sought a soul destined for evil and found a boy who he took to the place Saulot had described. There he embraced the child and cast him into the pit. When the child emerged he taught him the magic of the sorcerers and bade him to find and gather the Baali so that they could be culled. Ur-Shulgi set about finding and gathering the Baali and the vampires who turned traitor and aided them. He led them to gather and seek a target. The group of Baali destroyed the city of Charizel summoning many of their fell powers. News of this reached the Second City and Saulot along with the Assamites prepared for an assault.

                      The Assamites prepared to defend the city at a small village some miles outside along the believed route of the Baali forces. However they were betrayed by various vampires and instead the force came from the opposite side of the city. The Eldest of the Assamites took a force of warriors and intercepted the Baali, buying time for the rest to make a stand in the tunnels beneath the city. As the Baali army neared horrendous shouting carried down the halls and the ground shook and cracked. Soon blood poured down the hall and all that could be heard were small footsteps. Ur-Shulgi appeared and said to his clan that Haqim had sent him and he was of the blood. Unknown to the other Assamites he had gathered the Baali and led them into the tunnels where he could eliminate them all using the magic he had learned. The Baali had attacked him with all manner of horrific powers and left his body permanently burned and cracked.

                      Nergal had hid his true intent. He had discovered that Namtaru lay not beneath Mashkan-shapir but instead beneath Chorazin in Galilee. The destruction of his previous city had been a ruse to keep his foes from his real goal. With time he studied and unearthed Namtaru. Long after the fall of the Second City he moved the body to Crete constructing the labyrinth of Knossos around Namtaru to both protect it and aid in its awakening. He returned to his clan claiming to be Shaitan, the original progenitor who sired Nergal and Moloch. Many of the clan gathered under the banner of this powerful Baali. Moloch had foreseen destruction to those who followed this Shaitan and so forbade those directly under him from dealing with Shatan but took no other action. Nergal had been causing the Minoans to gather human tribute from the other civilizations of the time. So many were taken that the clans started to take note as those from within their own Domains were taken.

                      Investigating they saw the infernal power that had arose and in an alliance not seen in ages moved against the returned Baali. Eventually the fighting reached the island of Crete but the dark power wrought from the slight stirring of Namtaru protected the labyrinth. Eventually the blood mages of the alliance (largely Setite sorcerers whose lord was incensed that anyone dare claim those who were Set's) inspired by a Koldun cast a massive ritual that caused the volcano of Thera to erupt. It possessed enough force to shatter and obliterate the labyrinth burying the island beneath volcanic ash. Nergal fled across the ocean to the New World eventually taking the guise of Huitzilopochtli as he had been totally defeated at Knossos.

                      Moloch had instead settled in Carthage there he consorted with Troile. The Molochim ingratiated themselves to the Brujah so that they might convince them with the promise of prosperity to continue the sacrifices to keep the Children asleep. Eventually the pair were inextricably blood bound lovers. The Nergali Baali Cybele betrayed Carthage's Baali to the Roman Ventrue Prince Camilla who was convinced to attack. When Rome attacked the city Moloch was powerless to resist his lover's call to come to its defense. The pair sunk beneath the soil of the city which the Romans salted and Cybele laid seals.

                      With the three Baali Methuselah functionally out of the picture the clan descended into factionalism. Tanit, Moloch's childe, became the defacto head of the Molochim Baali while the Nergali had no single controlling vampire. In 636 following Arab forces the Assamites came to cleanse the land of the forces of the Baali. The initial battles went well but eventually a force of warriors was captured as the Nergali retreated to the stronghold of Chorazin. The walls held the forces at bay and the Warriors sought aid from the sorcerers. However the walls fell before the sorcerers could arrive and the warriors charged into the Baali city. Black fire washed over the warriors and they fell upon each other as an unholy thirst for vitae struck them. By the time Al-Ashrad and the sorcerers arrived and drove back the demons and infernal only a single warrior left was able to recount the tale. That as they had hungered for the blood of the Baali would they now hunger for all blood for all time, a curse which would spread throughout the warriors and a number of sorcerers and viziers.

                      In the 11th century the Baali Azaneal worked with Lasombra infernalists to gain access to chambers beneath Chorazin, the lost city of the Baali. Within the former resting place of Namtaru a frenzy fell upon the infernalists and only Azaneal survived and changed by the darkness. Two centuries later he would claim the title of Shaitan and again call the Baali to his cause. Tanit received his ambassadors and then made plans to leave Tyre. However Azaneal declared a war against the Molochim and Tanit was driven into torpor.

                      Thus Sahar-Hannibaal became the leader of the Molochim Baali as a civil war began between the two factions. He overturned the prohibition against blood magic and the Order began learning Dur-An-Ki (sometimes called Assamite Sorcery). A century the Molochim would claim victory at great cost to their numbers. Chorazin had been betrayed to the Assamites and destroyed by earthquake. Sahar-Hannibaal led the remains of the Molochim northward creating the Order of Moloch and seeking the protection of the Old Clan Tzimisce. Sometime in the 21st century the lost city of the First Tribe and its Well of Sacrifice known as the Maw of Sleepers was found by forces inimical to the Molochim. Thus he sought out the Tal'Mahe'Ra as allies against the infernal scourge that would rise from this horrific return.

                      The Mechanics

                      Here's how I figure that whole mess plays out mechanically speaking. The First Tribe were infernal mages of some type Pillar or Hedge Path. Saulot came upon them and frenzied during which he spilt blood into the well he tossed the bodies into. There isn't really a solid canonical answer why because of how Saulot is portrayed. The best guess is he was either trying to use Howl of the Devil Tiger philosophical teachings on evil, felt remorse for slaying an entire city, or he was gripped by some external force (a demon or perhaps even the Eater-of-Souls aspect of the Triatic Wyrm).

                      Because he didn't instruct them Nergal and Moloch would have risen as Caitiff. Their clan Disciplines of Daimonion, Obfuscate, and Presence grew out of their infernal knowledge, need to remain hidden, and desire for influence or out of whatever influence occurred from that tainted pit. When Haqim embraced Ur-Shulgi it sounds like he embraced him as an Assamite sorcerer then proceeded to make him a Baali apostate through the use of the well. When Ur-Shulgi embraces Al-Ashrad he is either a Baali or Caitiff adopted into the Assamite sorcerers (which explains Al-Ashrad's unique skin tone among Assamites)


                      As for the two Paths possessed by Sahar-Hannibaal they are Dur-An-Ki/Assamite Sorcery Paths. Both are kind of unique compilations of effects that don't have a single analogue. You could substitute in any other Thaumaturgy Path (preferably other Dur-An-Ki or Assamite Sorcery Paths).
                      • Music of the Spheres is from Blood Sacrifice: Secrets of Thaumaturgy
                        • Allows for manipulation of emotions through music
                      • Whispers of Heaven is from Libellius Sanguinus III and Players Guide to the Low Clans
                        • Allows to divine information through studying the stars
                      If you replace them you could raise his Presence to cover the emotional control and give him the following rituals (even with those Paths he might still have these rituals).
                      • Horoscope (V20 Rites of Blood)
                      • Scry (V20 Rites of Blood)
                      • Seeing the Sky's Eye (V20 Rites of Blood)

                      Koldunism & Tzimisce

                      The Kraina version of Koldunic Sorcery is from Dark Ages Vampire 20th Anniversary which introduces the Transylvanian, Black Sea, and Genius Loci Kraina. DAV20 Tome of Secrets adds the Bialoweiza Kraina, and TMR introduces the Kraina of Enoch and of the Well. If you wanted to try and be as close to a canon way as possible TMR Koldun should only use the Kraina. Outside of the TMR Old Clan might use either version depending on why they are Old Clan (if they are actually ancient Tzimisce who dislike their Sabbat kin or are just old cantankerous Tzimisce who want nothing to do with younger vampires).

                      Not all Old Clan are in the Order of Moloch. Those are specifically Old Clan Tzimisce who have chosen to aid the Molochim Baali in their crusade against the infernal. As for numbers its unclear how many Old Clan are in the TMR vs not though my gut says that the TMR numbers would be higher since they wouldn't be geographically limited.

                      Idran

                      If you don't want to use the rules for Archaic Sorcery presented in TMR there are a few ways you could use the rules on V20 on pg 380-382. However just make sure to read through the Itarajana Sorcery section and the Pillars so you get an idea how broad their Pillars are compared to Disciplines. Here are some examples of what Disciplines might be used to replicate each Pillar's capabilities (note that a Pillar mage can combine them to get even more effects).
                      • Naraka
                        • Lure of Flames, Path of the Evil Eye, Kraina of the Well
                      • Preta
                        • Necromancy, Hands of Destruction
                      • Trigayoni
                        • Animalism, Spirit Manipulation, Vicissitude, Presence
                      • Deva
                        • Auspex, Dominate, Path of Conjuring
                      However just for some idea of perspective on how powerful Pillars get at Level 5 the mage can attempt to do things only replicable by Chimerstry 9 with 6+ successes such as simply make living beings vanish from existence, create living beings, attacking concepts, etc.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by 11twiggins View Post

                        There's definitely some truth to this. I think that there's a good compromise, which M20 uses very well. Have multiple contradictory bits of Metaplot and Worldbuilding, and then actively address those in side-bars.

                        Anarchs Unbound does this quite neatly, usually giving 3 options for a certain bit of metaplot, and throwing out different ideas for how things could be in the setting.

                        So a great Vampire book would do this with the nature and organisation of the Bloodlines, the True Black Hand, and other issues, giving lots of options and ideas and codifying them. So a sidebar on access to Thaumaturgy might outline three main options. Only the Tremere have it in any real numbers in the Camarilla, or the Tremere face competition from Anarch Sorcerers and Assamites (with the Tremere actively resisting this, even violently), or the Tremere are not fighting the presence of non-Thaumaturgical blood magic, and are simply working to promote themselves as the safe and secure, Camarilla-approved Blood Mages, painting the other options as risky bargain basement occultists.

                        Now of course an ST can glean these three options from the books, but having them laid out in a sidebar is a great way of condensing the information and helping an ST come to a decision.

                        It boils down to: do you want a toolbox setting, or a continual, "living" setting? For the former, multiple possibilities for any given thing, even contradictory ones are good. For the later, you'll need some consistency for reference in future books.

                        The 20ths could have been "NWoD"-esque (read: favoring the toolbox approach), because they were/are anniversary editions, building on 20 years of metaplot and lore an are metaplot-agnostic themselves.


                        Of course, these aren't absolutes. You could have a continual setting and metaplot, with some things remaining undefined, or maintaining multiple possibilities. But you'll need at least the broad strokes as consistent. The Fall of Atlanata happened, or, thinking about V5, the Second Anarch Revolt and the Second Inquisition is happening, canonically.

                        And just for making it clear: no one is better than the other, it just differs in what perspective will you write and read the books.


                        If nothing worked, then let's think!

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Kammerer View Post
                          This just sounds like a lazy excuse to not have a thought-out consistent setting. Everyone already knows that you can change book material for your home games. Onyx Path Police won't come after me because in my WoD Mythras doesn't exist. But if every book contradicts every other book and the material is all over the place - why buy any book?
                          Because the books present interesting ideas to build a game around?

                          Vampire: The Requiem did the whole "no set metaplot" thing. While I am loath to imply that Vampire: The Masquerade should just be like that game in every respect, Requiem and the rest of the NWoD seemed to be doing reasonably well for themselves. So someone must consider them of value.

                          But back on topic, I tend to consider more options to be a good thing, in an RPG, all other things being equal. If a metaplot were exactly the same across all books, it would make them consistent, sure. But it would also mean that if a given player or storyteller doesn't like that metaplot for whatever reason - as happened during the Revised era (death of the Tremere Antitribu, the Avatar Storm, etc) - then that player is out of luck. The game line has nothing to offer them whatsoever.

                          And that's bad.

                          Moreover, the World of Darkness books have long operated under a sort of "unreliable narrator" conceit anyway. Drama and debate springs up from the books are often subjective, even when seemingly written from omniscient narrators. We have no idea whether the "facts" presented in a given book are even true. Let alone that they need to be true for every player and storyteller. Is it, therefore, such a terrible bother that different books might present ideas that are contradictory? For all we know, there isn't any actual contradiction, just a difference in perspective and an absence of in-universe comparing of notes.

                          Two different books talk about two different kinds of Baali, both maintaining them to be the "one, true Baali". Then this book comes along and says "it's not a contradiction, because there were ALWAYS two kinds of Baali". Nor is Tal'Mahe'Ra: Guide to the True Black Hand necessarily true in that assessment. Maybe there IS only one kind - for example, mayhe the "Nergali" Baali are the only true ones, and they are playing an elaborate con on the Tal'Mahe'Ra with this erroneous "Molochim" business. Who knows? It's up the Storyteller which they think is the most compelling and/or interesting take.

                          Now consider that the storytellers wouldn't even HAVE that kind of complex choice, or the mystery that could be mined in a game over which is "true", if we weren't presented with multiple different assertions. I don't see contradictions in books as somehow invalidating them all collectively. I see them as opportunities.

                          (Plus, I'm a comic book fan. If I was incapable of handling the "official canon" changing from one book to the next, I would have given up the hobby long ago. When a given property is handled by many different creative teams, each with their own philosophies, ideas, and hang-ups, a mutable canon just comes with the territory.)


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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Bluecho View Post
                            Requiem and the rest of the NWoD seemed to be doing reasonably well for themselves. So someone must consider them of value.
                            What kind of metric could you possibly be using to declare nWoD to be doing "reasonbly well"? nWoD literally killed the company that was making it. Second edition of Requiem, made by a different company, had four books in five years. Mage and Werewolf had one book each. nWoD is as dead as dead gets.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Kammerer View Post
                              This just sounds like a lazy excuse to not have a thought-out consistent setting. Everyone already knows that you can change book material for your home games. Onyx Path Police won't come after me because in my WoD Mythras doesn't exist. But if every book contradicts every other book and the material is all over the place - why buy any book?
                              V20 WoD is a middle ground between the inflexible sedimentation of lore that was suffocating CWoD with its metaplot and its inability to correct early mistakes in design, continuity contradictions and and setting without "Week of Nightmares"-tier contrivances, and NWoD, where not enough remaining customers felt attached to purchase more bland, purely utilitarian content. It's created by collaborations of diehard fans who are encouraged to put out their mostly unfiltered creative vision, and it is expected (but unsaid) that the discerning customer is to bring in what meets with their vision.

                              V20 TMR, in particular invites serious pruning because it's a story about a bunch of oddball esoteric cults and bloodlines that have nothing to do with one another crammed into a city and noone agrees on what Enoch is or what it's for or what they're all doing there, let alone a 'shadowy agenda' of any kind. It's gently alluded to that Enoch is somewhat ineffectual in the real world because of its collective head firmly lodged up its nether-hole. And given the reputation and reception of its predecessor, I doubt it would have been approved if it was to be considered binding for either creator or fan.

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