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  • [WIR] Cults of the Blood Gods

    It's taken awhile but I'm finally ready to get around to doing an extensive read through of this book. I think Onyx Path Publishing has done a lot of the heavy lifting necessary to make V5 reach its full potential. I can't say that I prefer this to Chicago by Night 5th Edition but I can't say that it's far behind it either. Both books are ones that I believe rank up there among the best V:TM products ever.



    I hope everyone will join me here in a discussion of Kindred religion, superstition, and idolatry! Plus, you know, that whole Hecata thing.

    Articles


    Introduction

    Fiction

    Just Another Family Dinner
    The Justicars' Transcript
    The Whys and Ways of Worship
    Time of Thin Blood
    Brother Sweetwater Speaks
    Protect the Flock
    Planting the Seed
    Rotten to the Core
    Beauty is the Divine Truth
    Bed the Bones
    Hail Gorgo, Slayer of Men
    The Seeker and the Moon
    On a Mission for the Goddess
    Trickle Up Religion
    Beware False Religions
    The Lord of the Red Desert

    Cults

    The Ashfinders part 1
    The Ashfinders part 2
    The Ashfinders part 3
    The Ashfinders part 4 (Amber Freeman AKA Thrivehive)

    WIR Links

    Anarchs Unbound
    Beckett's Jyhad Diary
    Chicago by Night 5th Edition
    The Chicago Folios
    Cults of the Blood Gods
    The Gary Chronicles
    Let the Streets Run Red
    Project: Twilight
    Last edited by CTPhipps; 11-07-2021, 10:06 AM.


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

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  • #2
    Just Another Family Dinner

    Type: Fiction

    Synopsis: Maria Pisanob is trying to figure out which among her family during a gathering of the Hecata is responsible for the extermination of the Pisanob bloodline as well as the death of her sire.

    Analysis: I don't say this lightly but I think this is probably the best V:TM sourcebook fiction that I have read. It is dark, moody, and well-written with all of the tension as well as paranoia you should feel when doing a vampire game. It also works well with the short format that illustrates Maria is sizing up each of the guests, Clue style, in order to measure her relationship to them as well as how they fit into her plan.

    This introduces us to the various factions of the Hecata clan and gives hints of how things have changed in the past couple of decades since Revised when the Harbingers were part of the Sabbat and the Giovanni were at the height of their power. Clearly, the Harbingers are now in charge and the Pisanob have been largely culled for reasons unknown (both in-game or out). We even get a bit of romance (of sorts) with Maria's incestuous relationship with one of her female cousins. The torture scene with a blow torch, a spoon, and an eye is also short but strikingly effective.

    The big thing that this fiction illustrates is that all the various necromantic factions of the gameline prior to 5th Edition have come together as one sect, Clan (?), and Blood Cult. Which means they have a lot more power than they've ever wielded before but are also at each other's throats as only vampires forced to work together can. Maria reminds me a bit of how I always played Isabel Giovanni and I kind of hope we'll eventually get her back because she was one of my favorite NPCs but the whole "brainwashed by the Followers of Set" thing makes me think that's unlikely to happen.

    I am curious as to why the Pisanob were targeted for extermination by the Harbingers, though. You'd think the only people who would want them put to the sword would be the Drowned and the Drowned might even think they were natural allies.

    Excellent intro. Dark, sexy, and horrifying.

    A+


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

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    • #3
      I wonder why Maria Pisanob was spared. And the opening fiction does portray the Hekata as a pile of dynamite waiting to go off. I hope the destruction of most of the Pisanob was just an irrational act.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Grumpy RPG Reviews View Post
        I wonder why Maria Pisanob was spared. And the opening fiction does portray the Hekata as a pile of dynamite waiting to go off. I hope the destruction of most of the Pisanob was just an irrational act.
        Since the Harbinger's vengeance seems to have been primarily against the Giovanni, I wouldn't be surprised if it was part of a larger gambit. Perhaps the Pisanob were part of the fuel for the ritual that brought about the Family Reunion.

        Another, more cynical, interpretation was the Giovanni offered the Pisanob as a sacrifice to normalize relationships with them only for the Harbingers to "accept" as part of a gambit to get closer.


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

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        • #5
          Their loresheet says that there are Harbingers who mean to kill their whole clan ultimately. Pisanob may have been an easier target than other branches of the Giovanni. They're in Mexico, to which Harbingers had access through the Sabbat and apparently one of double-blooded Giovanni was eager to help, Tony Ambrose notwithstanding. Weren't the Hidalgos nipped in the bud? Or maybe there's something Pisanob knew or could do that would threaten whatever the Harbingers' exact ambitions are further down the line.

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          • #6
            I admit, I don't know the answer if one exists and would be very interested in the book provides clues that I have missed.


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

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            • #7
              I think the Harbingers are supposed to be a mess of obscure conspiracies that the writers might not have even decided. That could be overkill in a game that's already about immortal undead conspiracies, amongst other things, but it ties themes of death, fate, eschatology and the vampire condition into the new clan's identity and keeps another facet of the Mekhet concept alive.

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              • #8
                The Justicars' Transcript

                Type: Fiction

                Synopsis: Lucinde and Ian Carfax discuss how the Blood Cults are to be left alone.

                Analysis: When I first heard about this book, my biggest question was how they were going to approach the elephant in the room from Revised and V20. Basically, it had been established that the Camarilla had a policy of suppressing vampire "superstition" and religion. The Book of Nod, which had previously been quoted by many Princes, actually became something that could get you on the Red List. My favorite Red Lister being Ayisha Jocastian.

                https://whitewolf.fandom.com/wiki/Ayisha

                Indeed, quite a few posters on this very forum are very much of the idea the Camarilla should be incredibly secular and actively against any mythology of the Kindred. It made a nice contrast against the Sabbat who are a religious cult and the Anarchs, who aren't so much secular as find the very idea of vampire religion ridiculous due to having mostly grown up in the 20th and 21st centuries.

                I've never been 100% sold on the idea the Camarilla shouldn't have the trappings of vampire religion, especially as so much of the "old school" Ventrue traced their lineages back to Caine as well as the fact the Tremere certainly know their Antediluvian is 100% real. It always struck me as the sort of rule that would be best observed in violation even if Hardelstadt wanted to Orwellian retcon away all references to Caine.

                Here, we find the Justicars overwhelmed by the sudden burst of Kindred religiosity in the wake of events like the Beckoning and Second Inquisition. Their primary concern, though, is the proliferation of the Ministry and its power. That's understandable since the Camarilla uncharacteristically refused them membership in a dramatic way. I will say, though, I love how Ian just feels the pontify about what a good decision it was to kick out the Anarchs--which implies to me he thinks it was a terrible idea.

                Ian Carfax: Look, we are dealing with the fallout of our rightful choice to no longer extend our protection to the Anarchs, pulling back on the use of technology…

                Diana Iadanza: And whose fault is that, hmm?

                Ian Carfax: …and by doing so strengthening our Masquerade. Not to mention the Anarchs are filling the power vacuum left by the Sabbat. Along with that, the Ministry, or whatever they’re calling themselves now, turning Anarch, and a handful of our number getting caught in the Paris bomb*ings. We’ve lost domains to this so-called “Second Inquisition” and there is even talk of a new death cult forming. Reports are unclear. Might just be the Giovanni acting up again. The Promise is close to ending
                It's a bit exposition heavy but mentions a number of the things that we'll be addressing in the book. In the end, I like Lucinde's statement they should just do nothing about it and maybe even prop up a Kindred religion of state like the Church of England while avoiding anything theocratic. I think the unspoken subtext is that the Justicars know that nothing would cause the religions to spread faster than creating martyrs.

                And, also, they possibly don't have the oomph to go after these faiths.

                Lucinde: Put out a call to the Archons. Tell them not to waste resources on stopping any religious gatherings should they not be working actively against the Traditions or the Camarilla. Put a moratorium on the collection of the Book of Nod, Revelations of the Dark Mother, and any other such documents that survived into these modern nights. We will not deny the existence of ancient ones, how can we now? But we will not support the idea either.
                Easy for the Camarilla to see which way the wind is blowing and decide, "Yes, that is what we planned to do all along."

                I also think at least part of this is motivated by Hardelstadt dying. I believe among the Inner Council he's probably the only one who ever cared about suppressing Cainite religion.

                Hell, Rafael used the Book of Nod to justify the Masquerade.
                Last edited by CTPhipps; 09-22-2021, 11:14 AM.


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

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                • #9
                  That the Camarilla was so secular always struck me as an accident, specifically a bit of design kludge from game designers not thinking everything through. That the Sabbat was a collection of death cults and dark religions works for me, but the Camarilla not having any religion felt counter-intuitive. A lot of the elders date to a time when religion played a more important role in society than it does today, but that is not reflected in their descriptions as a general thing. Further, religion is still a major factor of social influence - it is strange to think the Camarilla are not at least attempting to control and manipulate preachers, priests and imams.

                  All that to say the Camarilla now at least permitting religions simply feels like a reasonable course correction.

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                  • #10
                    Ehhh, it's alright. Personally I find the heceta union a little silly and I am a little frustrated by the fact the Cappadocians are fused with the Harbingers (something even the book seems sheepish about.) But it's certainly a cut above most v5 supplementary books along with Chicago.
                    Last edited by Ragged Robin; 10-09-2021, 07:13 AM.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Ragged Robin View Post
                      Ehhh, it's alright. Personally I find the heceta union a little silly and I am a little frustrated by the fact the Cappadocians are fused with the Harbingers (something even book seems sheepish about.) But it's certainly a cut above most v5 supplementary books along with Chicago.
                      I admit the Hecata part of the book is my less favorite part of the book and about 90% of my enjoyment comes from the weird cults both big and small detailed within the first half of the book. I admit I was disappointed that we didn't get more detail on the Ministry or Banu Haqim, though.

                      The lack of Ur-Shulgi and the Web of Knives seems like a serious misstep here.


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

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                        The lack of Ur-Shulgi and the Web of Knives seems like a serious misstep here.
                        I think they are getting profiled in the Sabbat book.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Grumpy RPG Reviews View Post

                          I think they are getting profiled in the Sabbat book.
                          I was wondering if the Sabbat assault Alamut.


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

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                          • #14
                            I believe both Alamut and the Meghreb (north Western Africa) have entries in the table of contents for the Sabbat book

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                            • #15
                              So, I really like that the implications in this book (as well as the Anarch one) that the Ministry are the reason the Anarchs have become more organised as of late. It gives the sect much more flavour in my opinion. Hopfully they can keep that up and develop an actual Anarch subculture that feels specific to them and not just "generic anarchists".

                              I also really like the Hecata, but I'll talk more about that when when we come to that part.

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