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Setite Cross-edition Review

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  • Setite Cross-edition Review

    So the other day I started a thread wondering about Setite relations with Apep, and by extension with Wyrm Minions. I saw that Trollroot had an excellent post reviewing how the Set and Osiris narrative has been presented. The conflicting narratives in the thread I started got me thinking and I’ve decided to go back and do an overview of how the Setites, their Roads/Paths, Serpentis, and their Blood Sorcery have been presented through the ages. I’ll need to buy a 1e pdf I’ve never owned, and actually pick up some V5, but I was meaning to do that eventually anyway.

    within a gameline I’ll work in publication order but as a nod to the conceit of change in-setting through the eras, I will do Dark Ages first.

    After I finish my run through everything with a complete picture of their shifting portrayal, I’ll post my own take cobbled together from that.

    If this goes well and people are interested I’ll do other reviews looking Clans/Bloodlines that have had drastically philosophically conflicting portrayals, myths, or ideological factions over the course of the decades. So probably not the likes of those without radically divergent Paths of Enlightenment or unique signature Disciplines. But the Lasombra, the Assamites, the Baali, etc are definitely on the table.

    my current reading order is (the relevant sections of)

    Vampire the Dark Ages
    Dark Ages Companion
    Wolves at the Door
    Veil of Night
    Ashen Cult
    Dark Ages Vampire
    Dark Ages Storyteller’s Companion
    Players Guide to the Low Clans
    VDA20
    Tome of Secrets
    Victorian Age
    Vampire Players Guide 1st Edition
    Mummy
    Vampire Players Guide 2nd Edition
    Clan Book Setite
    Mummy Second Edition
    VtM Revised
    Blood Magic
    Mummy the Resurrection
    Clan Book Followers of Set (Rev)
    Cairo by Night
    Blood Sacrifice
    Kindred of the Ebony Kingdom
    Chaining the Beast
    V20
    Rites of the Blood
    Lore of the Clans
    V5 Anarch
    Cult of the Blood Gods

    any other relevant texts I should make sure to have in the lineup?
    Last edited by glamourweaver; 04-30-2022, 03:10 PM.


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  • #2
    This is a great idea, the other clans on the short list are exactly what I would have suggested, keeping publication date in mind is super important as it provides a window into the real evolution of the characters' writing, and your hair looks really nice today. I'm assuming. Very nice.
    Last edited by Reasor; 04-27-2022, 08:43 PM.

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    • #3
      Definitely interested in this too.

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      • #4
        This would be really interesting.

        Cults of the Blood Gods also goes into the Church of Set, so you'll want that.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by SetiteFriend View Post
          This would be really interesting.

          Cults of the Blood Gods also goes into the Church of Set, so you'll want that.
          Thanks! I’ll add it to the list


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          • #6
            Vampire the Dark Ages - 1197

            So our clan splat for the Setites (Serpents) portrays them here as unambiguously evil, desiring to degrade ethics away from humanity and Cainites to make them future slaves for themselves and their master. Set/Typhon himself is similarly unambiguously evil, and is only mentioned as having last been heard from in 33AD (obviously not a coincidence that that’s the year of the crucifixion/resurrection, but the implications are not discussed).

            Page 83 further plays up their religious devotion to their God of Darkness (which Set absolutely is not in Egyptian myth/religion, but whatever, we’ll roll with it for now), and their inherently religious structure, with their Grand Temple somewhere in Alexandria as the center of worship, dominated by Typhonists over any other philosophy.

            we get our first mention of Baali relations, simply in that the Setites hold them in particular contempt, considering them weak relics of a miserable philosophy. There is of course noticeable thematic overlap between Setites and Baali that we’ll get to eventually, but I suppose that fuels their disdain.

            The Setite modus operandi is temptation and vice, giving their potential pawns whatever their heart desires to corrupt them. They particularly target the supposedly holy of Christian Europe.


            The description of the Road of Typhon on page 116 interestingly mildly contradicts the earlier description of the Clan’s agenda. It states misery is not a means to an end, but the ends unto itself - while the clan splat states that misery serves their interests because desperate people are more willing to sell out their values to get what they want. But then I suppose while Typhonists are described as leading the Clan, that might only be true of them, while the broader Clan has a more tactical outlook of misery. Their outlook is described as desiring to adapt to the evils and suffering of the world so as to exist at peace with the reality of it (interestingly this is essentially diametrically opposed to the later more Gnostic agenda of liberation we will see). In addition to indulgence of vice, and the spread of misery and corruption, Typhonists are also described as engaging in extreme mortification of the flesh, the paragons of the oath no longer being recognizably human.


            The hierarchy of sins of the Road of Typhon introduces us here to the idea that Set needs to be awakened, something not mentioned in the reference to him last being heard from 33 AD. Above that, it’s a lot of mandates to corrupt others, undermining the social order in favor of Setite control, destroy any Vampire in Golconda. These tenants on hierarchies of sin can easily be problematic, as how immediately are you required to act? If you let opportunities to corrupt minor targets pass you by because you’re playing a long con to get a major target, is that a sin? Perhaps the most interesting tenant is that destroying a foe expediently rather than poetically is a Road 7 sin. I’m not sure how that fits into their expressed ideology but maybe that might get built on.

            Serpentis (no mention of Apep, spoken of as though Set is a snake deity, which he isn’t)
            1 - freeze target in place if they meet your hypnotic gaze
            2 - Use a serpent tongue as a range attack Kiss
            3 - Take an invulnerable mummified form, but you can’t awaken yourself, only the taste of blood can get you out of it
            4 - Take form of 8 foot long venomous cobra
            5 - Remove own heart to avoid staking and make it easier to resist frenzy (the requirements on how this be performed really makes it seem more like a Blood Sorcery ritual than a Discipline power)
            6 - Spew acidic cloud attack that even corrodes stone
            Last edited by glamourweaver; 04-30-2022, 03:54 PM.


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            • #7
              A curiosity that may be relevant:

              It is well known that Gregorius, when calculating the calendar, actually committed a 5 years mistake.

              For this reason, the actual year of the crucifixion was 28 AD, Jesus having been born in 5 BCE (when making the calculation keep in mind there's no year 0).

              What that means for the information in the book? Whatever you want.


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              • #8
                The Setites' motivation here lends itself to one reading as being about revenge against christendom for Set's defeat (presumably at the hands of Jesus and/or his disciples), but authors have always steered incredibly shy about stating that outright.

                It's plausible that any Setite young enough to lower themselves to narrating this history to a newcomer would themselves never be told this part of the story, as it would require anyone old enough to remember what happened admitting that mighty Set was dealt a humiliating defeat, whether at the hands of a humble preacher or a truly divine power greater than his own.

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                • #9
                  It's interesting that Cults puts Set's last appearance at 33 BCE.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
                    A curiosity that may be relevant:

                    It is well known that Gregorius, when calculating the calendar, actually committed a 5 years mistake.

                    For this reason, the actual year of the crucifixion was 28 AD, Jesus having been born in 5 BCE (when making the calculation keep in mind there's no year 0).

                    What that means for the information in the book? Whatever you want.
                    my understanding is it’s a bit more up in the air than that, and more likely 30ce, as the only Passover that fits the timing during the govenorship of Pontius Pilate, meaning he was born about 4 bce to be born under Herod’s reign (very end of it, but it’s all that really fits). But 1ce-33ce are still the mythic dates, and it’s the reference they’re making.

                    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chronology_of_Jesus
                    Last edited by glamourweaver; 04-30-2022, 10:09 PM.


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                    • #11
                      Set as Jesus was always an... interesting approach
                      IF you only take that four Canonical gospels in the New Testament, Gospel of Matthew, Gospel of Mark, Gospel of Luke, and Gospel of John
                      The other eight's gospels were left out, because contained... too "confusing" stories or were too different from those four. Like the Gospel of Judas. Not to mention the Gospel of Mary Magdalene or other gnostic texts
                      If you love to toy around these things, like I do, worth to dig in!
                      Especially the Coptic Gospel of the Egyptians (informal name of ,of the formerly lost Holy Book of the Great Invisible Spirit) , both versions. Theye among the codices in the Nag Hammadi library, discovered in 1945. It received the name because towards the end of the text it is also expressed as the “Egyptian Gospel.” Although it is possible that it was written in Egypt, it is far more likely that the name is based on connections made between Seth of the Old Testament and Set, the ancient Egyptian god of violence, chaos, and storms. This Gospel differs from the Gospel of Philip and the Gospel of Truth in that it is not from a Valentinian perspective and instead focuses on a viewpoint rooted in Sethianism (The Sethians were one of the main currents of Gnosticism during the 2nd and 3rd century CE, in it he snake in the Garden of Eden becomes a heroic, salvific figure rather than an adversary of humanity or a 'proto-Satan'. Eating the fruit of Knowledge is the first act of human salvation from cruel, oppressive powers)
                      The main contents concern the Sethian Gnostic understanding of how the earth came into being, how Seth, in the Gnostic interpretation, is incarnated as Jesus in order to release people's souls from the evil prison that is creation. More specifically, the text can be divided into four parts concerning: the creation of the heavenly world, the creation and significance of the race of Seth, a hymn, and the history behind the creation of the text itself

                      That or Ridley Scott's version, how Jesus was an Engineer...

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Shadeprowler View Post
                        Set as Jesus was always an... interesting approach
                        I always found it interesting that many people think the destruction of Set in AD 33 means Set was Jesus, when I always assumed that it meant Jesus destroyed Set when he rejected the temptation in the desert. To me, Set was "Satan" that tempted Jesus. Now I admit I don't know when that was supposed to occur relative to the actual crucifixion of Set. Maybe Set was Judas instead. But everything we know about Set does NOT correspond to the teachings of Jesus. Set is very much an anti-Christ character.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Black Fox View Post
                          I always found it interesting that many people think the destruction of Set in AD 33 means Set was Jesus, when I always assumed that it meant Jesus destroyed Set when he rejected the temptation in the desert. To me, Set was "Satan" that tempted Jesus. Now I admit I don't know when that was supposed to occur relative to the actual crucifixion of Set. Maybe Set was Judas instead. But everything we know about Set does NOT correspond to the teachings of Jesus. Set is very much an anti-Christ character.
                          I think it quite obvious that it was meant as either a conflict between the two or a meaningful coincidence. But the reality of it isn't important, and the option of some Setites believing Set is Jesus (or funnier, a non-Setite denouncing Jesus as Set in disguise) is interesting on itself.

                          That said, things got muddier when they started to make the Setites into Gnostics, because this is exactly the kind of belief some early Christians had. Some Setites have pretty benign views on Set, and some Gnostics have pretty subversive views on Jesus, so the equivalence starts to make a lot of sense.

                          But all in all I think that going too protective of the teaching of Jesus and defining Set as an Anti-Christ character is missing the point. VTM is, at the end of the day, a critique/parody of Christianity, and Jesus not being exactly what Christians thing he was is very fitting for the setting. I also want to point out that actual data on Jesus is far less clear about him than religious teachings about him, so even historically there's little to argue firmly here.


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