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Can a former infernalist ever redeem himself?

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  • Can a former infernalist ever redeem himself?

    So, I wanted to create a healthy discussion about this topic. What do you think? Could a former infernalist, i.e. someone who had acquired infernal powers, be it Daimoinon, Dark Thaumaturgy or even Infernal Investments, ever redeem himself and become a "good cainite" and/or somehow "untaint himself"? Let's share opinions here.

  • #2
    Last I checked there wasn't a mechanic to remove discipline purchases, only bad rolls that lose things like willpower or certain attributes which could be purchased with XP. So from a mechanics stand point, once purchased it is a permanent investment.

    With that being said Golconda supposedly is a state of pure self acceptance and balance. A side affect of which is generation based limiters are removed. There hasn't been any clear mechanics for disallowing a Golconda pursuer from having at an earlier point in their existence butchering, torturing, being an infernalist, etc.

    So I would say the redemption for infernalism is basically to attain Golconda. That probably won't sit well with most STs since Golconda up ends many of the vampiric mechanics and opens things up like rank 10 stats and disciplines.

    I guess an alternative to Golconda if the ST wants to hand wave things to a degree would be the Children of Osiris route. Failing all of that you could theoretically find a Mage with the right stats to either cleanse your soul, but if you are going that far you could just become human again. Admittedly it always amused me that the right type of Mage could turn you human, but it was never brought up if a Mage could do the opposite and permanently augment generation/potency.

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    • #3
      Well Christian theology obviously says the answer should be yes, at least if you’re willing to give up everything you gained from the bargain. But the inherent “damnation” of the Cainite condition obviously throws that into question in their case. I’d certainly say it should be harder than a confession and penance, as it’s not a question of forgiveness of sin as much as it is liberation from a binding contract of service. I wouldn’t say it’s impossible, but it should be the plot of a whole campaign rather than simple and every case should be unique.

      If Saulot had Daimoinon at one point before his enlightenment, he may have gone through such a process.


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      • #4
        Originally posted by Thoth View Post
        Last I checked there wasn't a mechanic to remove discipline purchases, only bad rolls that lose things like willpower or certain attributes which could be purchased with XP. So from a mechanics stand point, once purchased it is a permanent investment.

        With that being said Golconda supposedly is a state of pure self acceptance and balance. A side affect of which is generation based limiters are removed. There hasn't been any clear mechanics for disallowing a Golconda pursuer from having at an earlier point in their existence butchering, torturing, being an infernalist, etc.

        So I would say the redemption for infernalism is basically to attain Golconda. That probably won't sit well with most STs since Golconda up ends many of the vampiric mechanics and opens things up like rank 10 stats and disciplines.

        I guess an alternative to Golconda if the ST wants to hand wave things to a degree would be the Children of Osiris route. Failing all of that you could theoretically find a Mage with the right stats to either cleanse your soul, but if you are going that far you could just become human again. Admittedly it always amused me that the right type of Mage could turn you human, but it was never brought up if a Mage could do the opposite and permanently augment generation/potency.

        Yes, the thing abou not being able to remove disciplines is something for sure. I remember I read somewhere that once you make an infernalist pact you can never achieve Golconda. In any case, some say Saulot created the Baali and commited atrocities in the past, still many say he achieved Golconda. Another exemple could be Byzar/Mahatma that is said to pursue Golconda and once slaughtered an entire village or some cainites from Lair of the Hidden that had a complicated past, but still seek Golconda. I have a similar opinion to yours, but some people see it as impossible and I might be mistaken, but I think I remember reading somewhere that acquiring infernalist powers basically "close the door" to Golconda, but again I might be mistaken...

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        • #5
          Originally posted by glamourweaver View Post
          Well Christian theology obviously says the answer should be yes, at least if you’re willing to give up everything you gained from the bargain. But the inherent “damnation” of the Cainite condition obviously throws that into question in their case. I’d certainly say it should be harder than a confession and penance, as it’s not a question of forgiveness of sin as much as it is liberation from a binding contract of service. I wouldn’t say it’s impossible, but it should be the plot of a whole campaign rather than simple and every case should be unique.

          If Saulot had Daimoinon at one point before his enlightenment, he may have gone through such a process.

          Do you remember the source that says Saulot at one point had Daimoinon?

          And yes, most definitely it should be hard and something unique. I'm actually just discussing it in a hypothetical scenario, although I once thought about redeeming an important NPC in my current game, it's still something of a possibility, but it would depend on my PCs actions.

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          • #6
            Yes
            But being a good Cainite's pretty hard when you suck blood and hoard resources to live. If you just mean a "good" cainite in that you're not in league with the demons? Sure. Honestly. I imagine a lot of elders took up pacts to level the playing field in their youth during trying times like the Anarch revolt or the omen war, and then abandoned these powers when they weren't in an emergency underdog state and didn't need them.


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            • #7
              Depends on what you mean by redemption, and also what God is actually like in the WOD. If you mean simply abandon serving demons and start advancing on humanity or some other path of enlightenment, then yes, it would be hard but not impossible, just like any other path-shift.

              If you mean redeem himself/herself in the judgement of God, that's a much harder question. There's always been the implication that WOD God is kind of a dick. He damns all vampires even though only Caine really rebelled against him. It's entirely possible that WOD God will damn you even if you go straight from Humanity 8 to Golconda without ever visiting the lower levels, never mind taking a detour through the path of evil revelations.

              So, just how much of a dick is God in your personal universe?

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              • #8
                If you go by the books that detail Infernalist pacts, as long as the person does not make a level 10 pact which promises one's soul to the infernal powers, there is always the chance of redemption. Of course, the person could still go to hell even if a level 10 pact is not made, but in theory the person could repent and attempt to make up for their past evils, convert, or do whatever things you determine as ST as necessary for salvation.

                I think in practice it would be very hard for a PC or ST to run a story where someone at that level (who has the powers you mentioned) can convincingly redeem themselves to the PCs of the game. Every player will have their own idea on what it takes to do so, and the common response I've seen of my friends to many redemption stories is that the writers didn't pull it off.

                A good example is how Chris Claremont in the 1980's X-Men comics started presenting a different side of Magneto as more than just villain. It was an intriguing concept, but the problem for Claremont is that the character of Magneto as written before him was pretty terrible. He was a literal supremacist, willing to use nuclear weapons, and even treated his own allies terribly. So it fell flat for many people. So while I know there are lots of people who really liked Magneto's portrayal in that period, many long time fans and Claremont's fellow writers at Marvel couldn't accept it. Claremont just didn't write Magneto in a way that truly made him feel repentant. Just that he regretted his past decisions, but never wanted to pay for his past crimes. Which is like someone robbing you, and then asking you to stop describing him as a thief because he now feels sorry he robbed you. But in no way will he ever give back the money.

                So there's a lot of pitfalls to running such a story, or PCs playing characters with that in their background, because you have to do it in a way that convinces the players. And every player group will have different requirements.

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                • #9
                  Just getting out from under the demon's influence should be an epic journey.

                  As for whether the vampire in question is redeemable, it's a question that we mortals would only be able to speculate about even if we had real vampires and demons.

                  I lean toward thinking that the vampire can certainly change their conduct, but would never know the state of their own soul until they face judgement after Final Death. If results were guaranteed, it would be just another transaction, and morality as I understand it can't be transactional. I freely admit that this is just my outlook, and others' theological mileage may vary.

                  (I grew up in a cultlike religious environment that inflicted insecurity about the state of one's salvation to keep people in line, and I didn't realize how deeply I had internalized that until you asked the question!)
                  Last edited by Reasor; 05-07-2022, 06:32 AM.

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                  • #10
                    Interesting notion there. I'm sure that an Infernalist could find a way out there situation. It would be an epic journey of undoing deals with whatever is left of sanity and soul somewhat intact. I remember that in Sins Of The Blood that there was a True Brujah elder that almost obtained Golconda and one of the things he had to do was regain his emotions and forsake his following of The Path Of The Scorched Heart. It wasn't easy for him and it would be doubly true for this group and not to mention there would be still stigma of mistrust for former followers.

                    In short I think that he or she could find away out of it.


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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Herr Meister View Post


                      Do you remember the source that says Saulot at one point had Daimoinon?

                      And yes, most definitely it should be hard and something unique. I'm actually just discussing it in a hypothetical scenario, although I once thought about redeeming an important NPC in my current game, it's still something of a possibility, but it would depend on my PCs actions.
                      nothing explicit, just the strong suggestions he was the sire of the three Baali Methuselahs in a dark ritual before his enlightenment in the east.

                      gun to my head if I had to call it one way or another I’d say he didn’t have daimoinon, but did have dark Thaumaturgy at that point as he was engaged in a ritual to bring daimoinon into the world via his progeny. Creating Valeren was later the process by which he purified his own soul from his past infernalism.


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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Herr Meister View Post
                        Could a former infernalist, i.e. someone who had acquired infernal powers, be it Daimoinon, Dark Thaumaturgy or even Infernal Investments, ever redeem himself and become a "good cainite" and/or somehow "untaint himself"?
                        Good question
                        "Good cainite" is very broad term...
                        First and foremost, don't forget, if you sold your soul to a Demon, or a portion of it for power or anything. the Demon will not likely let you go
                        On the other hand, for all tense and purposes, a vampire's soul is a "damaged property"; cursed, damned, tatered, withered remnant of a human soul wich the Shadow/P'o/Beast - call whatever you like - constantly gnaws uppon, and mentaly none of the vampire are "that" stable and more often than not, ends up basically an undead preadtor without any real mind, lands on 0 humanity or dies before that happen. From purely a darwinian point of view, the neonates/fledlings are basically worthless, an ancille survived long enough to see himself become something he hated during his younger years, and around the time he became an Elder, stopped hating himself for it
                        Very very very few vampire worth as much as the lowliest human in the eyes of a Demon (demon, not a Fallen, nor a Djin, nor something lowercraftion beyond reality, demon.)
                        So while the Demon had to have a good reason to enter a pact with a vampire, grant him power, etc, it must have been a darn good reason, so will probably want to keep that vampire... but on the other hand, I think it would be reasonable to alter the deal, make a bargain or so on.
                        A bit like how Jakcy boy almost wriggled out from his pact with Davy Jones: 100 human souls for his freedom
                        Now, would it be conisdered redemtion, or anything else, if you had to "buy" your freedom with even the price of one human soul?
                        Because face it, killing your demonic master is out of the question and unless your demonic pact had a loophole (a bit like in Bedazzled where Elliot asks the Devil to cancel their contract. When the Devil refuses, Elliot states he will not use his final wish. The Devil teleports them to Hell. When the Devil pushes him to make a final wish, Elliot wishes that Alison could have a happy life - with or without him. The Devil sighs and Elliot falls into the depths of Hell. He wakes up on a marble staircase, wondering if it is Heaven. The Devil tells him that a provision in the contract's fine print states that a selfless wish voids the contract.) that bargain will chain your soul to your master.
                        A Demon Hunter, like the Salubri not really killed any Demon, just estroyed their manifestation on Earth and sent them back to Hell... so killing it to be free? Around the realm of impossible. Summoning and binding it like Solomon? Wouldn't make you free either per see...
                        So the only way out is to bargain yourself out of the deal
                        Even if an Infernalist turn his back o his "faith", and "grows" a True Faith to live in a monostery and do good for the rest of his unlife, no mater the deeds, would still remain an infernalist, and his soul would belong to the Demon.

                        But on the other hand... nothing really says you can't be good, do good things as an Infernalist. Okay, you sold your soul for power and porbably ends up hell after your final death, and untill then the Demon in question will demand thing from you. Thats true (tho' depending of you pact/pacts for infestment, knowledge, and so on. It could have been okay, i will grant your "wish", power, fame, knowledge, but in turn,.do this or that, kill or taint this would be saint etc, and don't call as we call you), but probably won't expect you to open the gates of Hell and bring the Apocalypse!

                        “Most of the members of the convent were old-fashioned Satanists, like their parents and grandparents before them. They'd been brought up to it, and weren't, when you got right down to it, particularly evil. Human beings mostly aren't. They just get carried away by new ideas, like dressing up in jackboots and shooting people, or dressing up in white sheets and lynching people, or dressing up in tie-dye jeans and playing guitars at people. Offer people a new creed with a costume and their hearts and minds will follow. Anyway, being brought up as a Satanist tended to take the edge off it. It was something you did on Saturday nights. And the rest of the time you simply got on with life as best you could, just like everyone else.” ― Terry Pratchett, Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch

                        There were people who called themselves Satanists who made Crowley squirm. It wasn't just the things they did, it was the way they blamed it all on Hell. They'd come up with some stomach-churning idea that no demon could have thought of in a thousand years, some dark and mindless unpleasantness that only a fully-functioning human brain could conceive, then shout "The Devil Made Me Do It" and get the sympathy of the court when the whole point was that the Devil hardly ever made anyone do anything. He didn't have to. That was what some humans found hard to understand. Hell wasn't a major reservoir of evil, any more than Heaven, in Crowley's opinion, was a fountain of goodness; they were just sides in the great cosmic chess game. Where you found the real McCoy, the real grace and the real heart-stopping evil, was right inside the human mind.” ― Terry Pratchett, Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch

                        Maybe ment to be funny, but both quotes from sir Terry Pratchett are technically true
                        The point is, "redemption" or be a "good" guys while an infernalist I think not mutually exclusive

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                        • #13
                          This entire conversation is founded in baseless assumptions.

                          What is redemption? What is damnation? What any of this entails? For vampires and for anyone?

                          None of those questions have an actual firmly established answer in the lore, just assumptions.

                          Is there a Hell for the damned souls? Not all religions believe that, actually a lot do not, and many more that don't think this' an eternal fate. Being a vampire is damning? Again, that's not nearly as clear cut even in Christian theology. It is a common trope, not a religious certainty.

                          Yes, the setting is construed on top of this trope and themes, so the assumptions about damnation and redemption are common. But while present as assumptions and themes, they're not backed by facts ever.

                          As for any official information on the matter even by passing, the only source is actually Demon the Fallen, as in Vampire everything will come from extremely unreliable narrators, either vampires explicitly citing their opinions, information given by demons known to lie or options for the ST.

                          DtF though, has a clear separation from human souls and the abode of demons. No human soul goes to the Abyss (or their Abyss, as the setting also don't make it clear the relationship between the many realms called Abyss by their respective game lines), and the Pact actually aims at a person's Faith instead of Soul. While the link formed can certainly be interpreted as the demons owning the soul of that person, they don't really know shit about what happens to that person after passing away, despite regularly and repeatedly lying about this.

                          So, again, what does any of that means? As far as I can tell, you can't even say for sure the character is damned beyond any material effect of the Pact.


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                          • #14
                            I beg to differ
                            Every source book (Storytellers Handbook to the Sabbat, Infernalism: The Path of Screams, The Book of Madness and so on) that details the Demonic Investments are pretty clear on two things: first, Demons - not Fallen, not Djin,. not some entiies from an outer plane or shattered shard dimension, but Demons from Hell - are Real.
                            Second: Whether or not the pact is observed, the demon eventually collects its due and the Infernalist joins her master in Hell
                            Cursed and damned by God (or God's archangels) are a sure way to end up in Hell...

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Shadeprowler View Post
                              I beg to differ
                              And I reiterate that they offer no evidence for such affirmation.

                              What we have are entities that are demons for all intents and purposes, which is vastly different from being a specific concept of demon, regardless of the infernalists believing they are. It wasn't ever said that those entities aren't the Fallen, much less that they aren't any particular other entity from other game lines. Those books don't need to, since they're Vampire supplements, and if they did they would call it out directly in some side bar, which hadn't happened.

                              On the contrary, the only book I remember to ever refer to other gamelines on the matter was Lair of the Hidden, that has a pact with a Demon featuring prominently, without ever differentiating this demon from the ones that give investments, and that book has a side bar specifically saying that this Demon may well be a Fallen Earthbound.

                              Those books aren't clear in any of those two things because they're beyond the scope of the books. They don't deal in Fallen, Djins or other entities, so they can't draw a meaningful distinction, and the infernalists don't travel to other realms, so no one can say where the demons actually take those souls to, if to anywhere. They could be Malfeans using vampires as source for the creation of Banes for the Wyrm as far as we know.

                              You can take those books at face value on this information, it is a valid take and probably the intended one. But you can't argue they put clear distinctions on things they don't even mention.


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