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  • Salubri masquerading as the enemy.

    I'm running a Dark Ages game at the moment set in 1138, although the date will advance at certain intervals until we are in the Final Nights.

    One of my player's characters; a Malkavian doctor wishes to learn the "legendary healing powers of the Salubri".
    I'm making this search for a Salubri part of the plot, with the possibility of him learning Valeren in the future.
    As to the identity and whereabouts of the Salubi, I have nothing written.
    But something came to mind, and I don't know if it's brilliant or just plain ridiculous.

    One of the Coterie members is a Tremere NPC, an amiable Cainite with a quick wit who's dedicated to the Road of Humanity. He wears full Arab dress for no discernible reason other than he spent time in the Holy Lands, and I thought a European in such alien attire in 12th Century England would be interesting role playing.

    The idea came to me that what if this Tremere was actually Salubri?
    The players know next to nothing about his history. He's a 'traveling mystical researcher' new to the area who's only interactions with other Cainites besides the player's characters is his Sire via messages left in drop boxes.
    His full headdress could be one way of concealing his third eye.
    There is a certain poetry to the idea that what the Malkavian has been looking for has in fact been travelling with him all along, judging him on his actions to see if he is worthy or not.

    Is this a stupid idea to begin with?
    Has a Salubri ever masqueraded as Tremere?
    Has there been Salubri in canon who have demonstrated skills in Thaumaturgy?
    Any thoughts or suggestions would be very much appreciated.


    Miley Cyrus is obviously a Nephandi and a Cultists love-child. *Shudders*

  • #2
    While the idea has its charm, I don't think there are many clans that are as hard to infiltrate as Tremere. Everyone has a superior and a structure around them, everyone is supposed to follow orders and every single discipline of the clan is perfect for discovering infiltrators. Things are a bit easier in medieval times when they're not as established, of course, but the small size of the clan makes it easier to be discovered too - and a solo Tremere can easily run afoul of the many, many enemies of the clan.

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    • #3
      According to the Wiki at least, the Baali have managed to infiltrate House Tremere and hide undetected for centuries, partially because their blood is almost indistinguishable from a Tremere's even via Thaumaturgy (because something something Saulot created the Baali maybe). Presumably that would work even better for an actual Salubri.

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      • #4


        IIRC, under all of the WWGS published material, it's actually fairly easy for a Salaubri to masquerade as another clan, especially ones like Malkavian, Toreador, Ventrue, Ravnos, and possibly Gangrel, simply by not developing Obeah/Valeran past level 2, so they don't develop the signature third eye. I don't know if OP changed this or not.


        What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
        Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

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        • #5
          It's an NPC. Sure, why not. Considering Tremere have secret societies and rival sub-houses and elders who hate each other. It's far from improbable for a sufficiently well-informed Salubri to live as a Tremere by traveling a lot and avoiding cities with a large Tremere population.
          The main difficulty is whatever the Tremere clan bond supposed to be. Can Tremere feel each other? If yes, then it's probably going to be hard to pass as a Tremere before other Tremere.

          That being said, your NPC doesn't need to pass as a Tremere before other Tremere. He only needs to pass as a Tremere before the players.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Draconis View Post
            According to the Wiki at least, the Baali have managed to infiltrate House Tremere and hide undetected for centuries, partially because their blood is almost indistinguishable from a Tremere's even via Thaumaturgy (because something something Saulot created the Baali maybe). Presumably that would work even better for an actual Salubri.
            I just read the Wiki entry and... wow. That is impressively odd. I really wonder what the source is. Very little of Clan Tremere actually has a blood relationship to Tremere - he only sired once and I doubt Grimgroth has spawned "almost all Tremere".

            (Of course, there's a much easier way for Baali to infiltrate clan Tremere: Start with actual Tremere, switch their Clan to Baali via the ritual of Apostasy and go from there. Any Blood Walk will detect a proper Tremere genealogy.)

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Kammerer View Post
              It's an NPC. Sure, why not. Considering Tremere have secret societies and rival sub-houses and elders who hate each other. It's far from improbable for a sufficiently well-informed Salubri to live as a Tremere by traveling a lot and avoiding cities with a large Tremere population.
              The main difficulty is whatever the Tremere clan bond supposed to be. Can Tremere feel each other? If yes, then it's probably going to be hard to pass as a Tremere before other Tremere.

              That being said, your NPC doesn't need to pass as a Tremere before other Tremere. He only needs to pass as a Tremere before the players.
              Mere blood bonds can only be felt by the subject due to the emotional impact, so the other Tremere wouldn't just be able to instinctually tell whether someone else is under the blood bond by virtue of its absence.

              That being said, Tremere spend their entire unlives under the blood bond and being around other Tremere under the same, especially if you buy into the utterly nonsensical "a Tremere is never allowed to even step foot outside the Chantry until they hit Ancilla age" line (which I'm not going to start on right now), so it may be much easier for a Tremere to pick when someone's not under the blood bond based on inconsistency with the way the rest of the Tremere act - even the tiniest thing like someone showing subtle facial expression in displeasure at an order given by the Regent could give raise suspicion.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Andreas Rayne View Post
                Is this a stupid idea to begin with?
                No, it's kind of brilliant.
                Originally posted by Andreas Rayne View Post
                Has a Salubri ever masqueraded as Tremere?
                Why would this matter? It would be awesome, and therefore is allowed.
                Originally posted by Andreas Rayne View Post
                Has there been Salubri in canon who have demonstrated skills in Thaumaturgy?
                No idea. But, if they diablerized a Tremere, they sure could. Especially if the ST wants them to.
                Originally posted by Andreas Rayne View Post
                Any thoughts or suggestions would be very much appreciated.
                Diablerie would solve a lot of the canon concerns. Rules on diablerie have always been vague, and makes for a good deus ex machina.

                Bottom-line: you are a creative ST who has come up with a creative solution to a difficult problem. That solution will make for an interesting story. (Likely titled "The Shortest Lived NPC in TTRPG History".)

                Do it.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Nosimplehiway View Post
                  Do it.
                  I am certain that there is a multitude of people who would happily owe major boons in real life to see it happen. Especially for that story title.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Cifer View Post
                    I just read the Wiki entry and... wow. That is impressively odd. I really wonder what the source is.
                    There have been more than a few times I've come across material in the Wiki and wondered if someone is posting stuff from their own campaigns as if it were stuff from the sourcebooks. It would help if entries would include book and page citations for any material outside the initial Clan write up and the Clanbook.

                    And speaking of people's own campaigns and head canons, when I run Vampire the Dark Ages, I tend to set it in the mid to late 12th century, and the Salubri are still fully and openly counted among the High Clans, as members of courts and vassals to the various high lords like Mithras and Michael, even if it's rumored that their founder may have been destroyed. I also have a moderate number survive into the modern day, both European survivors who exist as cult leaders, dark angels, and closet cases posing as members of other clans, and various Middle Eastern, Asian and African ones who've shown up as a result of modern migration and improved transportation.


                    What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
                    Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      The closed structure of house Tremere might actually help your Npcs masquerade as one. If your characters otherwise do not have a lot of interactions with them, how would they know he is not really Tremere. At that time most cities in Europe probably don't have a single Tremere living there.

                      Tying into that, and what the above post said: You play in 1138. In canon Tremere diablerized Saulot in 1133. Thats just 5 years. In most places the Tremere are probably still not recognized as a Clan at all, and where they are, they for the most part count among the Low Clans.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Cifer View Post
                        While the idea has its charm, I don't think there are many clans that are as hard to infiltrate as Tremere.
                        This would only matter if the NPC is trying to get into a chantry, or hang with a number of other Tremere. If not, then he could go undetected for years. And even the discovery could (should) involve the PCs.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by GilbyTheFat View Post
                          Mere blood bonds can only be felt by the subject due to the emotional impact, so the other Tremere wouldn't just be able to instinctually tell whether someone else is under the blood bond by virtue of its absence.

                          That being said, Tremere spend their entire unlives under the blood bond and being around other Tremere under the same, especially if you buy into the utterly nonsensical "a Tremere is never allowed to even step foot outside the Chantry until they hit Ancilla age" line (which I'm not going to start on right now), so it may be much easier for a Tremere to pick when someone's not under the blood bond based on inconsistency with the way the rest of the Tremere act - even the tiniest thing like someone showing subtle facial expression in displeasure at an order given by the Regent could give raise suspicion.
                          I would argue that the difference in reactions between someone who is and is not blood bound to the Inner Council will be drowned out by the innate differences between different human beings (for a certain value of "human", of course). People are varied, and exhibit all sorts of quirks, tics, and eccentricities, completely aside from their personal loyalties.

                          Moreover, as far as I'm aware, the canon has always been that individual Tremere are, by default, only partially bound to the Inner Council. Initiates are given one drink from the cup; even at its most severe (V20, where the first drink counts as two for Tremere), they aren't fully blood bound. From a Doylist perspective this is so Tremere PCs have a measure of freedom to act (and so they still have to worry about other vampires Blood Bonding them), while from the Watsonian perspective the Pyramid benefits from having the threat of a full bond hanging over members to keep them in line. As such, while Tremere will be predisposed towards the Pyramid, they aren't slaves or emotionally enthralled completely.

                          Another point: if you had an infiltrator in Clan Tremere, a simple way to feign loyalty is to ACT loyal to the Pyramid. Actions speak louder than facial twitches. To make sure their loyalty isn't in question, they do everything they can to further Clan Tremere's purposes...publicly, anyway. Obviously when no one is around, an infiltrator does what they want. But when others are around, of course they'll do what they're told, and even jump at the chance to get in good.

                          Nor would the lack of subtle body language necessarily give them away. It could just mean that their willingness to please the higher ups is not motivated by personal loyalty, but by calculated ambition.

                          Gee, who ever heard of a Tremere being calculating and ambitious? It's not like the Warlocks go out of their way to Embrace such individuals... [/s][/s][/s]


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                          • #14
                            While I agree that a partial blood bond really can't be reliably found out or disproved, the problem is that checking (parts of) loyalty is extremely cheap. Literally every discipline of the clan has aspects that can be used for it - dominate people into telling you their allegiances, read their minds, trace their ancestry or make them incapable of lying. And in a world where your biggest foes can literally wear your faces, it's not a bad idea to use those regularly, just because you can.

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                            • #15
                              Thank you very much everybody.

                              I think I'm going to go ahead with this.
                              There are no Tremere in the city or surrounding areas so bumping into an actual Tremere isn't going to be an issue.
                              Though an idea sprang to mind that sometime in the future the players could bump into the Tremere/Salubri's 'Sire' and through conversation discover the Cainite they've been traveling with met Final Death several years ago.
                              It's starting to write itself


                              Miley Cyrus is obviously a Nephandi and a Cultists love-child. *Shudders*

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