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Why does Setite Sorcery include multiple, separate branches of blood magic?

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  • #16
    Originally posted by adambeyoncelowe View Post
    The question I've recently been asking myself is why the Setites have Serpentis (or Protean) and not some form of blood magic. Necromancy would be way more fitting for them.

    Actually, "Death Magic" is against everthing the Followers of Set stands for
    Necromancy defile the corpse (an Akhu balspemy shirne is different) and enslave the soul of the dead
    In every version, no matter the source, nor the tale they tell about Set, the core is the same: Settie religion promotes freedom from enslavement to dogma and conventional morality
    They are
    Mesu Bedshet, the "Children of Rebellion"
    They rebel agasint Law and Order, their goal is to tear the web of Ma'at apart, tear down the chains that were forced on Humanity and the word
    Set realized that the Ra had not, in fact, created the world as a thing lesser than himself, but had merely shaped the same substance from which he, himself, was created. Set concluded that all souls differed only in size, but not in kind, and that all beings could someday achieve the same power of the Gods. The "Gods" - any kind of God, really - keep their mortal underlings entrapped in the illusion that they must, by nature, be subservient to the Gods. They sought to bind up the world in the web of Ma'at, or the great Order of things, which would allow them to entrap the hearts of mankind in eternal stasis, free from ambition, anger, or hope.
    Set wished to stop Ra, from bringing law to society and hence binding people by it. In some legends Set apparently even tried to bargain with Ra and Osiris, asking that they leave the lands of Upper Egypt to him and his people, that they might be free from law, but they refused
    Thanks to Ma'at, mankind became so dulled with subservience that they could no longer communicate with their Gods on a one-to-one basis
    This extends to the funerery practices; a bit like how the Jade Emperor, Yu Huang enslaved most of the Asian souls and the dictator of the Dark Kingdom of Jade, Ra and Osiris enslaved the living with Ma'at and weakened them so Osiris could rule them in their death.
    Necromancy and the enslavement of a soul is against everything the Mesu Bedshet stands for- to do what their ancient enemies done? I think its pretty impossible to reconcile.
    You can choose freely to stay bound to the shackles of law and Ma'at, or you choose freedom with Set.
    The Followers of Set tempt you, corrupt you, introduce a thousand and one sins to you... to make you free and strong enough, to tear yurself free form the shacles of Ma'at
    Or be too weak and be consumed by the said corruption; in that case they did their best, sad, but acceptable loss, even if you can't rise above your own sins and temptations, still got far enough from the law, the accepted norm and such to weaken Ma'at
    Every drop in the ocean counts

    EDIT: sure individual settite could learn Necromancy and use it - in his eyes - for "good things" to save a soul or more from Osiris - but the main clan as a whole I think frowns on such practices for the above reasons, thos they have Serpentis/Protean (via Apep-connection origianlly and the corritpion for your own good theme)
    Last edited by Shadeprowler; 06-10-2022, 01:58 PM.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by AnubisXy View Post

      That seemed like the whole deal with the Witches of Echidna who went around collecting and sharing as much of the clan's mystic rites and occult knowledge as possible with all of the various Setite groups, before they were ultimately wiped out for being heretics.

      Truth be told, the greater part of those branches/sub-bloodlines/etc might be more elegantly done by adapting into loresheets nowadays, imho.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by Father Enoch View Post
        Not an expert, but Gangrel aren't mystically inclined, in my limited experience. They are more "try casting that again without any fingers," inclined.

        Then there's that whole thing about using Gangrel to make Gargoyles. That might have soured a lot of them on learning sorcery...
        The clan's baseline disciplines are so incredibly utilitarian that Gangrel would have little to gain by becoming wizards, I imagine.

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        • #19
          I would say it stems from the Setites. Ring highly underdeveloped as they were released. Maybe the Setite (who’s name I forget) in A World of Darkness based in Finland that wanted to cover the world in darkness stood as a model? I do not even think Setite sorcery was its own thing until the Blood Magic book, and then it started spinning from that point. There is no real reason, it just mutated forth.

          Maybe they should have had Thaumaturgy/Blood Magic, but much like the Tzimisce they were rather small in scope when introduced and not the most thought through, rather their growth came later, and at that point the discipline spread was already set. Sudden change tends to be divisive among fans.
          Serpentis/protean is an obviously poor fit to the clan.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by Shadeprowler View Post


            Actually, "Death Magic" is against everthing the Followers of Set stands for
            Necromancy defile the corpse (an Akhu balspemy shirne is different) and enslave the soul of the dead
            In every version, no matter the source, nor the tale they tell about Set, the core is the same: Settie religion promotes freedom from enslavement to dogma and conventional morality
            They are
            Mesu Bedshet, the "Children of Rebellion"
            They rebel agasint Law and Order, their goal is to tear the web of Ma'at apart, tear down the chains that were forced on Humanity and the word
            Set realized that the Ra had not, in fact, created the world as a thing lesser than himself, but had merely shaped the same substance from which he, himself, was created. Set concluded that all souls differed only in size, but not in kind, and that all beings could someday achieve the same power of the Gods. The "Gods" - any kind of God, really - keep their mortal underlings entrapped in the illusion that they must, by nature, be subservient to the Gods. They sought to bind up the world in the web of Ma'at, or the great Order of things, which would allow them to entrap the hearts of mankind in eternal stasis, free from ambition, anger, or hope.
            Set wished to stop Ra, from bringing law to society and hence binding people by it. In some legends Set apparently even tried to bargain with Ra and Osiris, asking that they leave the lands of Upper Egypt to him and his people, that they might be free from law, but they refused
            Thanks to Ma'at, mankind became so dulled with subservience that they could no longer communicate with their Gods on a one-to-one basis
            This extends to the funerery practices; a bit like how the Jade Emperor, Yu Huang enslaved most of the Asian souls and the dictator of the Dark Kingdom of Jade, Ra and Osiris enslaved the living with Ma'at and weakened them so Osiris could rule them in their death.
            Necromancy and the enslavement of a soul is against everything the Mesu Bedshet stands for- to do what their ancient enemies done? I think its pretty impossible to reconcile.
            You can choose freely to stay bound to the shackles of law and Ma'at, or you choose freedom with Set.
            The Followers of Set tempt you, corrupt you, introduce a thousand and one sins to you... to make you free and strong enough, to tear yurself free form the shacles of Ma'at
            Or be too weak and be consumed by the said corruption; in that case they did their best, sad, but acceptable loss, even if you can't rise above your own sins and temptations, still got far enough from the law, the accepted norm and such to weaken Ma'at
            Every drop in the ocean counts

            EDIT: sure individual settite could learn Necromancy and use it - in his eyes - for "good things" to save a soul or more from Osiris - but the main clan as a whole I think frowns on such practices for the above reasons, thos they have Serpentis/Protean (via Apep-connection origianlly and the corritpion for your own good theme)
            They could have Akhu in-clan, if you preferred. That would also work. But when you read up on Akhu, a lot of it does, thematically speaking, chime with Necromancy too. There's defilement of the dead and their belongings at the blasphemy shrine, Egyptian burial customs, and 'opening the gate' to power spells through the dead.

            Necromancy strikes me as very fitting for an ancient Egyptian clan -- one trying to resurrect a dead god, no less -- and the Serpents already use it out-of-clan.

            The other thing to bear in mind is that Necromancy has broadened to cover other Disciplines over the years. As well as raising and enslaving the dead, it covers eating spirits (Nihilistics), withering flesh (Mortis, Thanatosis), whatever the kissy-killy Lamiae Path does (Deimos), and more. There's no reason the Setites couldn't get some proprietary Paths to add in there. Snakey powers can be covered as a manifestation of their dead god's victory over the slain Apophis, thereby making the Soul of the Serpent a Necromancy Path.

            It's more thematically appropriate than Serpentis (random snake powers!) or Protean (turn into an animal -- and move even further away from the core themes of the clan in the process!).

            But also, I feel like some Paths blur the line between Necromancy and Thaumaturgy, making it sort of arbitrary at times. I also think some Thaumaturgy Paths would work well for Necromancy and vice versa. It would be easier to say that each tradition of blood magic is learned as a new Discipline (so: Blood Magic (Akhu) would be one and Blood Magic (Wanga) would be another), having a set menu of Paths you can learn (and which ones you absolutely can't). Then Akhu could draw from a list of Paths from both Thaumaturgy and Necromancy, provided they fit the overarching paradigm. Inappropriate Paths would simply require them to learn an additional tradition (as a new Path-based Discipline, and out-of-clan).


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            • #21
              Originally posted by Trassel View Post
              I would say it stems from the Setites. Ring highly underdeveloped as they were released. Maybe the Setite (who’s name I forget) in A World of Darkness based in Finland that wanted to cover the world in darkness stood as a model? I do not even think Setite sorcery was its own thing until the Blood Magic book, and then it started spinning from that point. There is no real reason, it just mutated forth.

              Maybe they should have had Thaumaturgy/Blood Magic, but much like the Tzimisce they were rather small in scope when introduced and not the most thought through, rather their growth came later, and at that point the discipline spread was already set. Sudden change tends to be divisive among fans.
              Serpentis/protean is an obviously poor fit to the clan.
              Also, this. Spot on.


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              • #22
                Originally posted by Hello View Post

                Surely the gangrel would be interested in embracing someone who has some magical talent? Or at least someone who has an educational background in ecology, or something similar. They cant all be lone wolf survivalists.
                Some Gangrel might but a lone Gangrel with some dots in a blood sorcery does not make the rest of the Gangrel interested in said sorcery.

                I can take myself as an example. I am pretty uninterested in magic. When I read fantasy I am unimpressed and pretty uninterested in whatever magical system the author has developed. I want to read about the characters and take some interest in mundane fighting and politics and the social and cultural aspects of the world building. But the magic parts don't interest me very much.

                Same with RPGs as I very seldom play or feel excited about sorcerer characterrs.

                In Crusader Kings II I turn off the supernatural events because I couldn't care less about them and don't want them interfering with what interests me in that game.

                I don't find it at all strange that there are Cainites or entire clans that hold a similar attitude to sorcery. And mind you if you want to be good at sorcery you'll have to invest time and effort, also known as XP, into that area and in return not invest that XP in other areas like attributes, skills, merits etc

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by Trassel View Post
                  Maybe the Setite (who’s name I forget) in A World of Darkness based in Finland that wanted to cover the world in darkness stood as a model?
                  That was Louhi, an ancient Malkavian that weirdly served the Lasombra Antediluvian.

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                  • #24
                    First and foremost, the main Followers of Set bloodline are priests*. Their discipline spread is geared towards them being priests . Egyptian priests practiced holy Egyptian magic. Religious magic works best when you believe in your practice, therefore when the extremely liberal FoS spread throughout the world and embraced locals, it's of no surprise that they started to mess with and adopt local beliefs (they're all masks of Set after all) and it's no surprise plenty of deviations happened (but it's cool because they're all masks of Set after all, we just want them to know that our Set mask is better/equal to their Set mask)

                    *and priestesses. Egyptians were inclusive, Set embraced a lot of women, I see no reason to make a feminine bloodline out of a reactionary stance towards a gendered term. The WoE can die in a ditch, they should never be canon)

                    In contrast, Tremere have rarely had this issue because they've got a very inclusive and "extremely moderate" "all religions are partly correct and we hope you don't get worked up about it, join our melting pot" philosophy. Logically speaking Assamite sorcerers are a dysfunctional mess because Dur-An-Ki isn't moderated and standardized nor based upon a rich faith that members are happy to indoctrinate you into. They're a minority within the clan and their magical ability is hampered by politics. Assamites make up for this by being more picky with talent, and in that an Assamite Sorcerer is only a sorcerer: the Tremere can be useful when he focuses on something else, the FoS Priests have lots of social obligations that often bring them away from their magic, but the Assamite Sorcerer was embraced for magic and magic alone and he's no good doing something else, there are warriors and viziers for that.
                    Last edited by MyWifeIsScary; 06-12-2022, 03:44 PM.


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                    • #25
                      I agree that, at the end of the day, it made sense for the Setites to have so many Sorcery Disciplines. They were the right combination of devotion to religious magic and acceptance of deviation, and had no central theory or philosophy to unify those traditions neither felt the need to.

                      Assamites aren't just a dysfunctional mess. More importantly, their sorcerers are academics. Their magic come from dutiful study and a baseline corpus of language and theories to better describe it to each other and make magical discussion and teaching work. They are extremely similar to the Tremere (and the Order of Hermes) in this regard, and it also means they'll learn the secrets of other sorcery oaths if they can, but will still translate it into the "standardized" and secular methods of Dur-An-Ki.

                      Tremere have a core understanding of magic far more strict and robust than the Banu Haqim, with an actual Universal Theory of Magic to back it up, but at the same time have the same attitude of learning everything they can, assuming that every magic conforms to their theory once adequately studied, and as such can be adapted to their superior methods. They're still Hermetics through and through in that regard. That's why they have a standard Discipline and every path conforms to it, with even more efficiency than to Dur-An-Ki (hence why it has more paths).

                      EDIT: I don't think the WoE are a problem. Egyptian religion was inclusive, give or take specific gods at specific times, but they're not Egyptian, they're Greek. The original Setites are from before Egypt's unification, that's a lot of time in the past, more than 3 thousand years before the start of the DA setting. Plenty of time for most Setites to have never lived in an inclusive society.
                      Last edited by monteparnas; 06-12-2022, 05:13 PM.


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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Matt the Bruins fan View Post

                        That was Louhi, an ancient Malkavian that weirdly served the Lasombra Antediluvian.
                        Oh right, memory is not what it used to be!

                        Although this did spark some thoughts on what would replace Serpentis/Protean, and I think the best match I could think of would be Oblivion (speaking only for V5), so I took some time to write up a few powers. Since Oblivion has support for rituals, I think that would cover the blood Magic part as well, but is beyond what I have time with for now.

                        Level 1
                        Dissolve
                        Amalgam: Presence 1
                        Cost: Free
                        System: The Kindred adds Oblivion to all Subterfuge dice pools and at the storytellers discretion to any manipulation rolls (never Disciplines) involving breaking relations or lies. This power can never be used to make a character trust the user, as the insidious powers of oblivion does not create, only destroy. This power cannot be used at the same time as Awe or Daunt.

                        Level 2

                        Impulse
                        Amalgam: Presence 1
                        Cost: one rouse check
                        Dice pool: Manipulation + Oblivion vs Composure + Wits
                        System: the vampire causes the target to receive an impulse to hurt or damage someone, preferably someone close to them. While the vampire can not direct the target, leading conversation or a specific person being present makes it easier. The target receives the difference of the roll to the next action to inflict injury (health or willpower), and regains willpower equal to the amount of stains the action results in. This can even recover aggravated willpower damage.
                        If the target is unable to act out, they instead suffer the difference in willpower damage themselves, as long as the character has a reasonable way to do it.
                        Duration: this night and the following, or when acted upon.

                        Level 3

                        Fatigue
                        Amalgam: Presence 1
                        Cost: one rouse check
                        Dice pool: Resolve + Oblivion vs Composure + Resolve. If used in combat, it is resolved as a normal action instead, with the user rolling Resolve + Oblivion and the target using whatever dice pool applicable to their action.
                        System: the vampire touches her target and saps all will. This deals 1 willpower damage for every success. Fortitudes powers such as Unswayable Mind and fortify the inner facade reduces any damage in a combat situation by half Fortitude (round up, full Fortitude if the victims has both) and provide their normal benefits outside of combat.

                        Level 4
                        Inner Darkness
                        Amalgam: Potence 2 or Presence 2
                        Cost: One rouse check, 1 stain
                        System: the vampire channels the darkness either into themselves or into the very surroundings depending on if it is bought as a Presence or Potence amalgam. While this power is active, the vampire adds their Oblivion score to all Intimidate rolls.
                        If bought as an amalgam with Potence the change is obvious and horrible - the user becomes becomes engulfed in darkness. vampires no longer halve damage from her melee attacks. She also receives one less damage (before halving) from all attacks as her body is not quite substantial. Against any living target, the vampire adds half her Oblivion (round up) to any dice pools.
                        If bought as a presence amalgam the vampire instead dissolves bonds and relationships on anyone close (within a radius of roughly 10 meters) to them. This temporarily removes the effect of a blood bond as long as the vampire has at least the same blood potency as the regent, and temporarily shuts down all presence powers affecting anyone close, including themselves as long as their Oblivion score is higher. If it is equal, an opposed Resolve + Oblivion is rolled against Composure + Presence. On top of this, it also erodes all positive natural bonds and attachment entirely. While this does not by itself turn people violent or aggressive, any conflict that arises is likely to be very dark. Kindred and mortal alike treat all critical as messy criticals. Anyone under this power still suffers stains as normal for their actions.
                        While this version of the Presence power is subtle, a Kindred with Sense the Unseen rolls at difficulty 2 to detect it.
                        Duration: One scene

                        Level 5
                        Corruption
                        Amalgam: Presence 3
                        Cost: 2 rouse checks
                        Dice pool: Manipulation + Oblivion vs Composure + Resolve
                        System: The user destroys and inverts either a relationship the Kindred knows off, or the strongest the target has. This turns a touchstone, contact, ally, mawla into an enemy. It can even turn a blood bond, as long as the user has a higher blood potency than the regent. This anger causes any scene where the target does not actively pursue to hurt (in any way) the relationship, they take an aggravated willpower damage. If they do cause some injury (willpower, health, property, social) they instead heal one superficial willpower.
                        Duration: a number of scenes equal to the difference in successes, or until sunrise, whichever comes first.

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by monteparnas View Post

                          EDIT: I don't think the WoE are a problem. Egyptian religion was inclusive, give or take specific gods at specific times, but they're not Egyptian, they're Greek. The original Setites are from before Egypt's unification, that's a lot of time in the past, more than 3 thousand years before the start of the DA setting. Plenty of time for most Setites to have never lived in an inclusive society.
                          I recall a very misplaced and hostile tone with the WoE writeup, to put it in a way that won't draw mod ire. That kind of tone makes me reluctant to overlook the many mistakes of the WoE writeup, like being a greek clan but having Akhu (an egyptian term) as an in-clan discipline. Not to mention that Akhu is "high magic" (IE done by rich people in temples or chantries) and witchcraft is the posterchild of low magic practitioners (Poisons, curses, demons, performing rituals outdoors... )

                          IE the writer didn't put any research into their "cool idea"

                          I also don't see why there's the need to turn things into a "trinity" when clearly they're just different bloodlines that don't have much reason to interact with one another. As written, the WoE just serve to spit on the FoS. They're toxic. If I had to give them credit, I think the discipline spread and weakness aren't that bad, if they were a completely unrelated bloodline, I would probably use them with some frequency.
                          Last edited by MyWifeIsScary; 06-13-2022, 09:09 AM.


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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
                            I also don't see why there's the need to turn things into a "trinity" when clearly they're just different bloodlines that don't have much reason to interact with one another. As written, the WoE just serve to spit on the FoS. They're toxic.
                            That's fair and it seems like the Witches form the basis for the Followers of Set/Minsitry split in V5. The Witches beliefs of following many gods, or at least going with the idea that Set is simply one of those gods, seems to be really similiar to the professed beliefs of the Ministry. We know the Witches were officially wiped out, but before that happened they gathered up much of the mystic knowledge from the various off-shoots of the clan and then distributed it as widely as possible. It seems like the resurgence of that knowledge and their beliefs led to the schism between the Followers and the Ministry.

                            So they are toxic and they do spit on the Followers of Set, but it also seems like that was very much the plan, or at least they fit into the role that the plan required.

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by AnubisXy View Post

                              That's fair and it seems like the Witches form the basis for the Followers of Set/Minsitry split in V5..
                              There is no basis. Glory to Set.

                              *diablerizes you*

                              I'm not sure where you're getting your ideas from. The witches are a thinly veiled lilith cult. Meanwhile the FoS have overwhelmingly been fast and loose when it comes to Set and they've been very happy about it. Thor? Set. Zeus? Set. Indra? Set. Nidhogg? Apep. Buddha? Set. Mara? Also Set. Yellow Dragon? Caine? Set. Eden serpent? Also Set. Mythical Snakes and Horny Storm Gods are a dime a dozen. The reactionary element of the clan who've been all -Egyptian Set and Egyptian set alone- have always been a small minority within the cult and even then it's difficult to say how many of them believe you shouldn't use masks at all and how many of them believe you can dress up Set as much as you want so long as you acknowledge the "Egyptian Truth".


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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
                                The witches are a thinly veiled lilith cult.
                                And the Serpents of Light aren't even veiled Rastafarians, yet they're a Setite Bloodline.

                                It is not about Setite religion, it is about people following their own interpretations and twists on religion. The FoS spread and Embraced in other cultures for literally thousands of years, their liberal approach also means some of those "Cults of Set" actually branched out off of their theology as they were mixed and interpreted through the lenses of the new Followers own experiences and beliefs.

                                That's all. The core of the question isn't if their belief system makes sense within wider Setite theology or history, but if their culture and beliefs could have been the product of change through time and alienation from the source of the clan. Which given the age of the FoS is most likely, as if the WoE had appeared around the end of the Roman Republic, the origins of the Setites would already be one and a half again as ancient to them as their origin would be to us, 26 centuries apart (assuming it occurred at the time of the unification).


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