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  • Book of Nod origins

    I'm currently doing an archaeology-focused version of the Transylvania Chronicles and noted that no one notes where the Book of Nod originated.

    So this is a thread for discussing possible origins for the book.

    Where did it come from?

    Who wrote it?

    When did Cainite mythology become linked with Jewish?

    No wrong answers here.


    Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

  • #2
    The book of nod is a collection of other books. it would be best to ask about who compiled it.


    Throw me/White wolf some money with Quietus: Drug Lord, Poison King
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    • #3
      Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
      The book of nod is a collection of other books. it would be best to ask about who compiled it.
      Well we know Aristotle de Laurent did but that would mean he's the Bulfinch of the setting.

      And the "current" Book of Nod is very-very new.


      Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

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      • #4
        I guess there is no link to Jewish mythology here. This is the real deal in this world of darkness, no dinosaurs (except maybe as they were explained in Good Omens), no billion year Earth. This go directly into conflict with Mokole's Mnesis (they remember the dinosaurs era IIRC). Writers took the jewish myth and made it real. We have the whole family tree of the book of genesis turned into vampires and that's it. Caine killed Abel, so God cursed Caine, that's the beginning of vampires since this WoD existed for almost 30 years. Changing this would mean to pull a Requiem maneuver.

        Prophecies and stories like the Book of Nod have to be attributed to someone contemporary to those times. Those around such times are the Dracon, ur-Shulgi, Anath and Rayzeel and they might remember who wrote it. From the way the book was written I have to believe that the author is most likely to be Malkavian. For those of the clan of the moon from the first and second cities we know only of the Plague-Bride, Nissiku and the Eater but neither seem candidate for the authorship. Perhaps the author was devoured by the Eater and that can be the reason no one knows who did it.

        I do tinker on the idea that perhaps Nehemiah of the True Brujah might belong to a lineage in which Noddist lore passed on since biblical times and perhaps he can be the most erudite on the subject. The other possibility can be through the Keeper of the Faith, which I believe to be a direct childe of the Dracon.

        - Saga

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        • #5
          IMO the Book of Nod originated in Biblical times around the same time as the Book of Genesis among the Cainites of Israel and Judah, probably shortly before the Babylonian Captivity. In my head canon the Cainite Elimelech (in my chronicle a Fourth Gen Malkavian and possibly a childe of Malkav herself) was the one responsible for compiling the first version of the Book of Nod, but there have been numerous other editions since then. Me and my friends have a whole head canon thing about why the Book of Nod doesn't negate the Mokole's Mnesis or the scientific version of prehistory, but I won't go into it here cause it's too complicated.
          Last edited by Penelope; 10-27-2020, 11:36 AM.


          “No one holds command over me. No man, no god, no Prince. Call your damn Hunt. We shall see who I drag screaming down to hell with me.” The last Ahrimane says this when Mithras calls a Blood Hunt against her.

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          • #6
            Don't some of the Erciyes fragments from the Cappadocians predate the embrace of Aristotle de Laurent? Maybe these are some of the sources that he compiled into the book. So a lot of the material was probably in play well before de Laurent, with commentaries written for the pieces by the time de Laurent got to them. The wiki lists them as apocrypha, but Lilith is apocryphal in Jewish/Christian sources. I think I saw CTPhipps mention in another thread the other day that Cappadocious seems like a likely source for a lot of the stories, since he went whole in on the Christianity thing and pretty much destroyed most of his clan that didn't actively follow the religion. Everyone else old enough to actually know happened to like the stories since the lessons in them benefited them. Things like obey your elders and rebelling against them is bad. I think that's a distinct possibility. Vampires clearly existed before Christianity and probably Judaism.

            There's also the possibility that the whole thing is just a metaphor and not to be taken literally, like how a lot of Catholics interpret the bible. So maybe it's just a story with lessons and doesn't shoot down all the different origin myths and dinosaurs existed in WOD. The whole first and second cities could also just be metaphors for early cities ruled by vampires, with the second city representing the more well known early city states like Uruk, Ur and Sumeria. So perhaps some various Christian, Jewish and even Islamic kindred authors contributed stories to it over time and they were merely writing them to be lessons. This would make de Laurent's compilation like the Council of Nicea, just finally getting around to deciding what was canon. Who knows what he discarded just because it didn't fit his interpretation?

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            • #7
              Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
              Who wrote it?
              This is just my head cannon, but Caine had nothing to do with it. He was the product of a preliterate society, and probably never learned to read and I doubt he ever felt a need to write down his version of his story. The story of Caine in the book comes from some other writer, vastly later, who had some agenda.

              The same may be true for the bits and pieces from the antediluvians, but in those case they might have at least dictated the passages and statements. I doubt Caine did even that.

              As for the somewhat Jewish influence on the thing, that probably appeared and developed over time. It was probably something that first appeared during the Jewish exile in Babylon - Babylon at the time would have been thick with vampires, and some of the blood suckers probably stuck themselves to the Jewish people, and followed them back to Israel.

              Edit: While vampires are not human they retain a lot of human traits (which is why they are playable as human-like monsters). Some of those traits include a need to make sense of their world and situation through a historical chronicle and mythical analysis. So across the millennia any number of them would have tried to produce some coherent narrative and mythology of their kind. But the vampires never had a version of the First Council of Nicaea, which specified a historical creed in which to believe and set of books providing a narrative. de Laurent just, somewhat/maybe, fulfills a St. Jerome (or King James) role in that he collected and compiled a group of generally recognized texts together and called it good. No single "Book of Nod" existed before de Laurent's work.
              Last edited by Grumpy RPG Reviews; 10-27-2020, 01:51 PM.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Grumpy RPG Reviews View Post

                This is just my head cannon, but Caine had nothing to do with it. He was the product of a preliterate society, and probably never learned to read and I doubt he ever felt a need to write down his version of his story. The story of Caine in the book comes from some other writer, vastly later, who had some agenda.

                The same may be true for the bits and pieces from the antediluvians, but in those case they might have at least dictated the passages and statements. I doubt Caine did even that.

                As for the somewhat Jewish influence on the thing, that probably appeared and developed over time. It was probably something that first appeared during the Jewish exile in Babylon - Babylon at the time would have been thick with vampires, and some of the blood suckers probably stuck themselves to the Jewish people, and followed them back to Israel.

                Edit: While vampires are not human they retain a lot of human traits (which is why they are playable as human-like monsters). Some of those traits include a need to make sense of their world and situation through a historical chronicle and mythical analysis. So across the millennia any number of them would have tried to produce some coherent narrative and mythology of their kind. But the vampires never had a version of the First Council of Nicaea, which specified a historical creed in which to believe and set of books providing a narrative. de Laurent just, somewhat/maybe, fulfills a St. Jerome (or King James) role in that he collected and compiled a group of generally recognized texts together and called it good. No single "Book of Nod" existed before de Laurent's work.
                I like this post.


                “No one holds command over me. No man, no god, no Prince. Call your damn Hunt. We shall see who I drag screaming down to hell with me.” The last Ahrimane says this when Mithras calls a Blood Hunt against her.

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                • #9
                  I'm definitely going to second some parts of DrHappyAngry and Grumpy RPG Reviews interpretations. The Erciyes Fragments are, AFAIK, the earliest attempt at a compilation of the "full" Book of Nod. What "the full book" in this context even means is messy, because it implies a singular author or source. But IIRC, the in-character introduction makes reference to a "Book of Nod," meaning that there were versions being passed around before Aristotle's, or at least a recognition that the collective stories are part of a larger record. With Cappodocius being explicitly pegged as a Christian convert, and the Erciyes Fragments being the earliest example of a "full" Book of Nod, I'm inclined to see them as a likely influence on the explicit linking between Cainite and Hebrew myth and history.

                  And I'm inclined to agree that Caine would probably not be interested in a comprehensive written record of "his side." In a way, the origin of the Book of Nod seems similar to the origin of the Christian Bible; various accounts of what the religious figure said or did being recorded centuries (if not millennia) after the fact. The difference is that, in theory, the immortality of vampires means that the tales being recorded centuries later can still be coming from the original witness, but with the downside that we're talking about vampires and they absolutely have reasons to lie or revise whatever stories they pass on.

                  But then, to the extent that my canon actually has the history of Caine and the Fallen be at least somewhat truth-adjacent, I don't need to find a "false" link between the two. I just need to be willing to pile millennia of lies and distortion on top

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                  • #10
                    I just happend to have a set of lectures on late antiquity droning in the background while working today and it mentions The Cappadocian Fathers.
                    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cappadocian_Fathers

                    These guys are responsible for a lot of the Catholic doctrine such as the holy trinity, as opposed to it's biggest competitor at the time, Arianism which was seen as a stricter monotheism with Jesus being lesser than the father and there being a time when Jesus did not exist. I think it's entirely possible they could have been influenced by the Cappadocian clan, so maybe they had influence on both the Book of Nod and Catholic doctrine in the WOD.

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                    • #11
                      It's a collection of accepted works and apocrypha, assembled by different editors from a mix of mangled history, myth, biographies and propaganda. As to how it became Abrahamic, either, if DtF is a thing in your setting, because it always was close, or because it came from the fertile crescent, and started to be recorded at a time when monotheism was on the rise, with the Abrahamic model winning out, probably by changing some names, and events to tie in.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by DrHappyAngry View Post
                        I just happend to have a set of lectures on late antiquity droning in the background while working today and it mentions The Cappadocian Fathers.
                        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cappadocian_Fathers

                        These guys are responsible for a lot of the Catholic doctrine such as the holy trinity, as opposed to it's biggest competitor at the time, Arianism which was seen as a stricter monotheism with Jesus being lesser than the father and there being a time when Jesus did not exist. I think it's entirely possible they could have been influenced by the Cappadocian clan, so maybe they had influence on both the Book of Nod and Catholic doctrine in the WOD.

                        Friggin' Trinity. Arianism made so much more sense >_>

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

                          Well we know Aristotle de Laurent did but that would mean he's the Bulfinch of the setting.

                          And the "current" Book of Nod is very-very new.

                          And in the observations given in notes for each chapter there's much room for the implication that his "pocket edition" is very much edited/bowdlerized for the sake of politics/not offending some of the patrons that provided him with access to texts and other research materials.

                          Also, he cites at least once a "Codex of Caine" by the Brujah Critias (yeah, that guy) as a previous work - and major inspiration to boot.
                          What incidentally led me into another take of the myth of an antediluvian civilization dominated by a brood of semidivine rulers.


                          Anyway, in my games i tend to treat the Book of Nod citations as about as reliable in authenticity as the references to Jesus in Josephus' Antiquities of the Jews, if you don't mind me saying.


                          But then kindred society as a whole in my games is full of mistaken suppositions, misunderstanding and outright falsehoods.
                          Like the assumption every clan has its own antediluvian - so cute, so quaint, of an innocence that is almost hilarious....

                          Anyway, i blame the Cappadocians and their obsession with christianism for Caine being tacked on - two steps above the actual founders, how convenient - along with the rest of biblical bits over kindred origins in the first place. That and trying to shoehorn themselves as an actual clan instead of the rejects of the Salubri and Saulot's "unenlightened" phase.

                          Bunch of pasty wackos, the Inquisition destroyed far more of them for their religious manias and habit of hiding in the church's own turf than the Giovanni, that are not even their descendants (more hype of surviving blowhards trying to sell themselves as something bigger than they really were) ever did.
                          Last edited by Baaldam; 10-27-2020, 05:47 PM.

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                          • #14
                            Anyway, in my games i tend to treat the Book of Nod citations as about as reliable in authenticity as the references to Jesus in Josephus' Antiquities of the Jews, if you don't mind me saying.
                            There's a great irony as I'm one of the defenders of those's authenticity, or at least the questioning of said authenticity being doing so simply from a perspective of, "We don't believe in a historical Jesus or that Josephus is a possible Jewish convert." Which seems to me to be an Occam's Razor sort of thing there. Obviously, I'm not going to be the genius that proves that one way or the other, though.

                            Some excellent thoughts here and they inspired me to do some others:

                            1. The Antediluvian Brujah (the one Troile diablerized) is said to have invented writing or at least an original written language, probably the "real" Enochian, and that might definitely be a source of Noddist mythology. I'm imagining a sort of Epic of Gilgamesh collection of creation myths written down on clay tablets if we're assuming that Enoch was in the Middle East versus Africa.

                            2. I actually tend to put Enoch in North Africa rather than the Middle East because it fits my sensibilities. Besides, a part of me notes that while the 13 Clans are descendants of Caine, we actually have no reason not to think the Laibon might know more and could know of even older vampires than the one that Caine is descended from. Caine is a 1st generation vampire but is he the first vampire?

                            3. Yeah, I noted that Cappadocias is a pretty good source for the "modern" interpretation of the Book of Nod with Caine, the Flood, and other bits of Jewish mythology. The Lasombra Antediluvian and Ventrue Antediluvian were both awake during this time according to the existence of several NPCs but what they'd say on the subject is questionable. That's assuming anyone had the courage to ask them or you could get them to flip through Cappadocias' writings.

                            4. As much as anything, Demon: The Fallen canonized the idea of multiple levels of history being true and also the flexible nature of reality. So, the past of humanity at one point involved flying cities and Exalted style wonders before the War Between Heaven and Hell shattered reality and erased whole swaths of it. If you wanted to incorporate things as crazy as the Time War from Doctor Who, given things like the Dreaming and Umbra, I wouldn't actually say that's wrong.
                            Your typical Demon would go. "Yeah, we made dinosaurs. We called them Dragons. They were experiment 3213#."

                            5. The Church of Caine is an interesting thing to examine in light of this as the Cainite Heresy obviously had it's roots in a Book of Nod that preexisted Aristotle de Laurent's. "The Book of the Shining Blood"

                            A. https://whitewolf.fandom.com/wiki/Cainite_Heresy_(VTDA).
                            B. https://whitewolf.fandom.com/wiki/Bo..._Shining_Blood

                            6. I wouldn't be surprised if the proliferation of Noddism among Cainites in the Modern Nights is directly related to the Cainite heresy. The Cainite Heresy wanted to spread the ideas of their religion far and wide so its Gnostic take on Caine, God, and so on became common in Europe as well as the Middle East (because it was formed in Byzantine rather than Europe). Then the Lasombra exterminated the Heresy, stole their books, and used them as the basis of the Sabbat in order to control the masses.

                            7. The Lasombra love using religion as the opiate (vitae?) of the masses versus the Followers of Set who have their own more Mystery Religion-based idea of how to do faith. Obviously, they had their own take on the subject of Caine and mythology but I believe as with 6# that they outright stole 90% of their religion when establishing the Sabbat and changed things to suit their purposes. Moncada was notably a big believer in Christianity but prior to that I wouldn't be surprised if the Lasombra were the Cult of Shalim or all Abyssal stygian darkness worshipers like Thulsa Doom.

                            "Now they will know why they are afraid of the dark. Now they learn why they fear the night."
                            Last edited by CTPhipps; 10-27-2020, 06:24 PM.


                            Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

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                            • #15
                              The Book(s) of Nod are indeed a compilation of translations of older texts, such as the Erciyes fragment and the Book of Laodice. The later is a very judeo-Christian version that is inferred to have been written by Cappadocious under a pseudonym. The rest were probably compiled and translated (not directly written) by other various Kindred scholars over the centuries from various older fragment, and these scribes likely added abrahamic elements as part of either their agenda or to conform to their world view. Or, if you wanna get wild, make it a Malkavian who believes in divine inspiration.

                              These are probably rewrites of older texts done by Sumerian, Babylonian, Akkadian, etc. Kindred, many of whom were of low Generation and thus likely had big brain 5+ Intelligence scores, but still saw the world through the lens of their time. The doubtful veracity of their writing is kind of the point here; nobody will ever really know the whole truth again, and if you managed to find someone who was really there, what he had to say would probably make no sense to a modern Cainite anyway. That is if even the oldest of the Kindred actually know how it all began, which is arguable at best, and one could even argue that these stories existed long before the invention of writing, and thus be further skewed by possibly thousands of years of verbal transmission.

                              So, in the end, which ever book of Nod you are reading is at best a translation of a translation of a fragment of a translation of a transcription of a myth.

                              Still, its the best the Kindred have, and some of it is probably even close to the truth. Certainly worth the trouble, in my opinion.

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