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[WIR] Cults of the Blood Gods

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  • Pain
    I think that Cults' Bahari does use pain differently to older versions. They kind of believe that pain is a teacher, but it's more directed toward enemies and newbies, which sometimes means anybody but themselves and those Bahari above them in the pecking order. The enemies are often sacrificed anyway and the newbies are being hazed and maybe short-listed. Perhaps the Bahari teach each other to take pride in their trauma and don't really respect somebody until they've suffered like them.

    Gardens
    I see some logic in the Gardens based on role in and following the story of creation. God made the Garden of Eden and assigned Adam as its steward; where's the Garden of Eden now? They failed. Lilith, having already been kicked out, made her own. Then Adam's son came along and ruined it. Then there's the world we have (or rather the World of Darkness). Some people like it, but Bahari don't because they recruit those that have especially suffered in it. So they try make utopias according their understanding of Lilith's ideas of utopias, although the Garden of Suffering might be more like a perfect Hell. Alternatively, they want to destroy the world so that Lilith is free to remake it in her design.

    Lasombra
    Lasombra haven't been noted as a particularly common clan among the Bahari but what clan has? Still, a simplified reason that I suggest is that Lasombra are winners and Bahari are losers. Bahari have been beaten by a world that was probably rigged against them, traditionally by patriarchy, and so they reject it and want to make a new one. Lasombra keep playing. They don't hate the game, because they think they can still win and get what they want by conquering it. Besides, their suffering was typically the result of an individual Lasombra who believed that they had the potential to become like them. And for those Lasombra who do despair, there's also the Cult of Shalim, to which they have a more innate affinity. For all that, the last Bahari narrators in Anarch was a Lasombra called Nezha; she ends her piece with a characteristically Darwinian note. Also, there's probably something thematic that could be done with Lasombra and aquatic Bahari.

    Sabbat
    It's funny that SetiteFriend described CTPhipps idea as "Sabbat - Girls' Version" because from what I've seen of the new Sabbat guide preview, it brings Bahari closer to the Sabbat's mainstream, with a path of enlightment and some doctrine that somehow reconciles them with Cainites. I hope to read how that's received here in future.

    Midsommar
    There must be better sources of inspiration, but I think this film shares some themes.
    • Dani's sister kill herself and their parents. That's remarkable bereavement.
    • Dani is scorned by a man. Or so she and quite a lot of viewers are led to believe.
    • The cult acknowledges Dani's pain, if in a rather crude way that doesn't show empathy, Pelle aside.
    • Dani joins the community and their most brutal rites. I don't really understand why, but it involved grief, love bombing and drugs, which is just one point where my comparison to the Bahari falls apart. I suppose they could use love bombing and drugs.

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    • The Bahari part 2

      Synopsis: The Bahari and their goals as well as methodology.

      Analysis: I feel absolutely terrible about this because I just don't feel like I'm very good at articulating anything new to the Bahari. I've been trying to come up with a great set of posts for the past month but I just am blanking on it. So, forgive me if this is not going to be a very long entry on the subject compared to the other cults. The next part of the cult's entries give us an explanation of the way the Bahari religion believes and the various Gardens that play roles in her religion. I actually really like this section because the Bahari are portrayed as a group that is absolutely a mess of contradictions and that their shared mythology gives them less in common than you might think.

      One thing Lilith worshipers have going for them, you see, is they are an OLD Kindred religion. Like the Church of Caine, they are thousands and possibly tens of thousands of years old. This makes it a marked contrast to many other religions found in this book and even modern religions. About the only thing you might find equally old among Kindred would be the worship of Haqim.

      The big thing this means is that the Bahari have sects, disputed texts, disputed ideologies, and variations on a theme. Some of them have "avenging angels against abusive men", some are literal ****ing baby eaters (we'll get to that later), some are people who are obsessive environmentalists like werewolves, and others are S&M Cenobites that would make Clive Barker proud. Presumably those are Tzimisce Bahari.

      I do actually note the book is pretty clear that the Lilin are a group that is pretty awful even by vampire standards and it needs to spell out they aren't the good guys. I don't recall any other cultist getting those kind of caveats. The book sort of assumes you know that vampires are bad but this one feels the need to point it out. There's whole sections on the Bahari being hypocrites who don't rescue enslaved women, go after men for no reason other than their sex, and are deeply hypocritical in their avenging angle business.

      Then there's the baby-eating. I actually liked this because they went there. The Bahari don't do that anymore. Honest. Okay, SOME of them do it but the majority of them know this is the kind of thing that attracts unwanted mortal attention and pisses off even Humanity 4-5 vampires at times. However, the SOME do really insist infant blood is delicious. Because it is. Like tasty human veal. I assume this is practiced either by Lilith worshiping fundamentalists who really insist, 100%, you can't get rid of the fact Lilith menaces children and pregnant woman because you don't pick and choose your parts of the Revelations of the Dark Mother OR it's done by people who signed up to the Bahari to be complete assholes.

      The Bahari have apparently taken over Budapesh (which I learned how to pronounce from The Black Widow), with an overwhelming 60% of their number being Bahari. This sounds impressive but they have a population of 1.7 million so that's actually about nine or ten vampires in the city. Well, depending on how you interpret the 1:100K line. In my games, I tend to say that vampires are so overpopulated that it's usually at least 200% of that number.

      Some rituals too but I don't really jive with Thaumaturgy/Blood Sorcery that much so not much to say here.
      Last edited by CTPhipps; 03-04-2022, 10:55 AM.


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

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      • Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
        [The Bahari have apparently taken over Budapesh (which I learned how to pronounce from The Black Widow), with an overwhelming 60% of their number being Bahari. This sounds impressive but they have a population of 1.7 million so that's actually about nine or ten vampires in the city.
        Yeah, I remember giggling when I read that and thought, "Oh gee, you mean there's a whole half-dozen Bahari there? How very impressive."

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        • That ratio has always been stupid tbh, not to mention usually ignored by the actual books.1 vampire per 10,000, as presented in V5, is much more sensible.

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          • Originally posted by SetiteFriend View Post
            That ratio has always been stupid tbh, not to mention usually ignored by the actual books.1 vampire per 10,000, as presented in V5, is much more sensible.
            That seems pretty ridiculous that no one has noticed the supernatural though, especially if you assume other supernaturals are real. That would mean we have a couple of vampires even in the middle of my nowhere town.


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

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            • Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

              That seems pretty ridiculous that no one has noticed the supernatural though, especially if you assume other supernaturals are real. That would mean we have a couple of vampires even in the middle of my nowhere town.
              It’s a lot easier to go unnoticed when you’re not regularly leaving bodies around from feeding, being fed on feels really good, and the people doing the feeding have mind-control powers, lots of money and influence to cover it up.

              1-in-10,000 means that, even taking 3BP/night on average, it would take 9 years to feed from each one once (at 1 BP per victim). This isn’t counting willing blood dolls who get off on the high of the Kiss and come back for more as often as they can.

              Similarly, the US mortality from all causes is about 80-90 per 10k per year in the real world (and the WoD is supposedly more violent). Even at 1:10k every vampire in a city would have to be leaving a body practically every month before their feeding starts going above the level of statistical noise, particularly in high violent crime areas where the mortality rate is higher than the nationwide average.

              Also worth remembering is that there’s an actual psychological limit on how many people you can actually keep track of as individuals of about 150. The odds of even a dozen deaths a year even being noticed by any more than 1800 of any given group of 10,000 is pretty slim, and that’s acquaintance-level relationships (i.e. your regular waitress at the diner isn’t serving you anymore… if you actually ask about them (and don’t just presume they got a better job somewhere) and find out they died in some accident you’ll feel a little bad, but it’s not going to ping as “vampire predation.”

              Basically, 1:100k is so safe as to be boring. Draining a victim dry once a week wouldn’t even push the mortality rate outside of statistical norms. 1:10k is still pretty safe, but importantly for this being an RPG, presents at least some risks of being discovered.
              Last edited by Chris24601; 03-05-2022, 01:34 PM.

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              • Relevant to the Bahari...


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                • Originally posted by Chris24601 View Post
                  It’s a lot easier to go unnoticed when you’re not regularly leaving bodies around from feeding, being fed on feels really good, and the people doing the feeding have mind-control powers, lots of money and influence to cover it up.
                  Yes, it is a lot easier. Yet in a society you can't expect everyone to play along acting in the safest and most sensible manner. You need room for accidents and general idiocy. It's hard to have half a dozen people not mess up with anything IRL, you expect Vampires in the World of Darkness to behave?

                  Mind-control powers, money and influence also do a lot, indeed, but not once you push things too far.

                  Originally posted by Chris24601 View Post
                  1-in-10,000 means that, even taking 3BP/night on average, it would take 9 years to feed from each one once (at 1 BP per victim).
                  If you can guarantee a near perfect spread where you somehow manage to feed on virtually everyone at least once, sure, you're only making the area have a weird symptom that everyone feel once a decade. But in all likelihood you can't spread your feedings that way, you have feeding grounds, hours and tactics that in practice greatly reduce your actual pool of victims, which means more exposition in consistent circumstances and with consistent victims to make some noise.

                  Originally posted by Chris24601 View Post
                  This isn’t counting willing blood dolls who get off on the high of the Kiss and come back for more as often as they can.
                  Which is 1 BP/month tops with a heavy iron-based diet if you want them to live long. It helps, but isn't really feasible as a staple for your diet.

                  Originally posted by Chris24601 View Post
                  Similarly, the US mortality from all causes is about 80-90 per 10k per year
                  The problem being that this is precisely "mortality from all causes". Even in the most violent places in the world the great majority of deaths isn't violence-related or unknown causes. In fact, even accidents aren't that a common cause of death. According to the CDC, the leading causes of death in 2020 in the US were the same as everywhere else: heart diseases and cancer, together they were 38.4% of all deaths and those are deaths that are usually very well documented.

                  Covid-19 was the next, being the reason for the average peaking at more than 100 per 10k that year, if we remove those 350k deaths from the equation to correct pandemic noise in our statistic, the previous diseases are 42.84% of the "expected" deaths. The next seven main causes of death in the US in 2020 are, in this order, accidents, stroke, chronic lower respiratory diseases, Alzheimer's, diabetes, influenza + pneumonia and kidney diseases.

                  For an interesting comparison, Covid-19 was found through investigation of just 40 excess cases of antibiotic-resistant pneumonia. 40, not deaths, just pneumonia, in a metropolis of more than 12 million inhabitants. How many people get sick there every day? And still on comparisons, a statistic on death rates in Rio de Janeiro, recognized as very violent, comparing 2009 and 2019, shows violence as the... 4th cause back in 2009, falling to 5th now, of course there's no Covid-19 and in general the results are quite similar. Feira de Santana, the actual most violent city in Brazil, has a murder rate below 7 per 10k...

                  So the statistical noise depends a lot on circumstances, comparing with the combined deaths by every cause isn't in any way what would happen. To determine if it is above statistical noise you must first determine the relevant statistical background, the deaths that actually bear any similarity to what a vampire leaves behind. If you get murders and disappearances, then you'll have far lower numbers to run with and hide bodies.

                  Originally posted by Chris24601 View Post
                  Also worth remembering is that there’s an actual psychological limit on how many people you can actually keep track of as individuals of about 150.
                  First, that's a legend. Second, even in the legend it doesn't work like that, third it is irrelevant. Noticing things through personal experience is a character's background, not a measure of a society finding out something. People will notice excessive deaths because there are a lot of people who jobs include dealing with this. If vampire attacks cause an increase in hospitalization, hospital workers will notice because they work in the hospital, not because more people they know are being hospitalized.

                  Originally posted by Chris24601 View Post
                  Basically, 1:100k is so safe as to be boring. Draining a victim dry once a week wouldn’t even push the mortality rate outside of statistical norms. 1:10k is still pretty safe, but importantly for this being an RPG, presents at least some risks of being discovered.
                  1:10k is feasible, not safe. At least not under V:tM premises. The problem is precisely that a city with 1:10k Kindred is under pressure for population reasons alone, creating actual risk for the Kindred from the mortal population and with population control at its peak.

                  That's an interesting proposition for a game, a very valid one, but far from a good default as 1:50-100k simply lets you ignore such things and focus your game elsewhere. I do agree that the proportion in a city may be greater than 1:100k, maybe 1:50k or even 1:30k, although with some considerations.

                  But 1:10k is safe only under the most simplistic view of the question, ignoring anything about what a city is beyond a number of inhabitants.


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