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  • Black Fox
    started a topic Circle of Red

    Circle of Red

    This is a group we're not given much information about. The name is first mentioned in the first edition Book of the Wyrm. All we're told is that it is a group of mages (which could simply mean Sorcerer at this early stage). Little is known about it except that both Pentex and Black Spiral Dancers have used them for certain difficult assassinations. Then I don't think the name is mentioned again until Dark Ages: Werewolf and Dark Ages: Mage comes out, and the name is used for a group of infernalist mages responsible for the Flaying Plague which killed wolves and werewolves starting in 1229. It seems this group was later destroyed by the Garou.

    Is there anything more published using this name?

    It seems odd that this mentioned and then forgotten until the name was used for a group that existed so long in the past. While the two groups might be related, the description in the Book of the Wyrm makes it sound like something fairly recent and unknown as opposed to "oh yeah, they were major enemies of the Garou Nation during the Middle Ages."

    Has anyone used this group in their chronicles using whatever description (even their own)?

  • No One of Consequence
    replied
    Originally posted by Penelope View Post

    I liked the Weeping Moon. The Seventh Generation creeped me out and not in a good way (aren’t they mostly defunct?). I never heard of the Circle of Red till I read this thread.
    As a general concept, The Seventh Generation was not a very good idea. Which is a shame, because from a purely structurally standpoint, it's a decently designed cult conspiracy. And yes, the idea of them being devoted to a much wider array of Wyrm related corruption goes a long way toward making them better.

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  • Penelope
    replied
    That’s a good idea. If I ever run Werewolf I might steal your Seventh Generation retcon 😊.

    I like the Pretanic Order too. I forgot about them.

    Good luck finding that fanzine.

    Leave a comment:


  • Black Fox
    replied
    I think the Seventh Generation is an example of something that latter White Wolf would publish in a Black Dog supplement. Its defining feature is something that a lot of people would not be comfortable with at the gaming table. There are some good elements in it, but I would split it into three separate Wyrm factions as I mentioned in my analysis of Rage Across New York. One would be a greed cult based on the business and politics caste, another would be a disease/plague cult that dates back to the Stone Age, and a much smaller Seventh Generation cult focused on sex trafficking and related crimes. I also refocused the Seventh Generation as a cult directed against the "sacred feminine" which allows for leeway in the flavor text to avoid the ick factor.

    I do like Wyrm cults though. In my chronicle notes, I have key canonical descriptions and ideas written for the Weeping Moon and Pretanic Order among others. In fact, the reason I started the thread was to see what else was known about the Circle of Red (which I only knew from that brief mention in first edition Book of the Wyrm), and wanted to know more in order to fill out my notes. The various references others have given have been a great help.

    But I'm now getting obsessed about that issue of Redcap fanzine.

    Leave a comment:


  • Penelope
    replied
    Originally posted by No One of Consequence View Post
    I think what happened to them is that that single brief mention in the Black Spiral Dancers chapter of the original Book of the Wyrm was the only thing said about them. It's possible that they were an idea that just never went anywhere as Mage swallowed up most everything magic related, or it could be a creation of the author of that chapter that no other freelancers knew anything about and so never followed up on it, at least until several years later when Dark Ages Werewolf, lacking the BSDs as a major threat, turned to that bit of obscure lore for an additional villain.

    Because of my age, I grew up in the middle of the whole "Satanic Panic" thing of the 80s, with the plethora of horror films on cable and video, the constant (and often weird) demonization of hard rock and heavy metal music, and assorted travesties of the criminal justice system. So when someone mentions a cult of evil witches that someone turns to when they need a particularly difficult target killed, my mind immediately jumps to things like, say, The Omen, where grisly deaths that are murder-by-black-magic meant to look like freak accidents happen because "witchcraft" (or Wyrmcraft in this case) just happens to be useful for that. It's just sort of a genre trope that evil magic cults are good at killing people with magic, so that I've always viewed it as an aspect rather than a reason of being. But that's just me.

    In hindsight, I rather wish there'd been a Book of Wyrm Cults similar to the Freak Legion and Possessed books. We only really ever had three of them named, IIRC. The footnote that was the Red Circle, the defunct 19th century Enlightened Society of the Weeping Moon, and the Seventh Generation (who, while having a reasonably well developed organization, were a really terrible idea conceptually). It would've been cool to see a broad collection of groups ranging from professional assassins and end of the world mad scientists to hippy Manson families and creepy suburbanite housewives. Something for the STs Vault, I guess.
    I liked the Weeping Moon. The Seventh Generation creeped me out and not in a good way (aren’t they mostly defunct?). I never heard of the Circle of Red till I read this thread.

    Leave a comment:


  • Black Fox
    replied
    I've finally been able to find a friend with a copy of The Red Sign and perused it. Unfortunately, it seems to be a case of someone reusing the name, as the description of the Circle of Red in that book has little in common with previous mentions of the Circle of Red.

    The Circle of Red was originally a group of Nephandus Mages who acted as assassins. Besides the original mention in first edition Book of the Wyrm, they were also mentioned in first edition Book of Madness. It's very clear this is the same organization in both books.

    The depiction of the Circle of Red in the Dark Ages line is notably different. They aren't assassins at all. But they are clearly some kind of infernal organization separate from any of the Hermetic houses we know of.

    The Red Sign uses the name, but this organization is clearly not either of the above. Instead, the book deals with the long unresolved plotline of House Tytalus involvement with vampires in order to thwart their old rivals of the Tremere. This was mentioned in several early supplements including one of the Sabbat books as one of the Sabbat's allies. For some reason, the writers of The Red Sign decided to reuse the name of the Circle of Red, but this is clearly not the same group. This is clearly a chantry related to House Tytalus.

    I did manage to find a copy of Maleficium, an early Ars Magica supplement that deals with infernalism, which has information about the Roseblack Circle. That has some interesting things, but if not for grayhoss's post, I wouldn't know of any connection between the Roseblack Circle and the Circle of Red.

    So now I really would like to get a copy of that Redcap fanzine which discusses the Roseblack Circle. I'm hoping that the connection between the two is mentioned in them. It's probably a forlorn hope to find someone who has a copy of a thirty year old fanzine, but if anyone does find a copy, please let me know!

    Leave a comment:


  • Justycar
    replied
    The Circle of Red is presented has a chantry in south France named the Temple of Red, where the archimage Tytalus subverts and corrupts the new inductees to the House. The Nephandus is a powerful conspirator and believes that putting end to the vampirism he is subverting a God´s law. Furthermore, the ritual of the red sign would be a very powerful weapon against vampires. In the final chapters, there are the stats and the history of another Circle of Red character, the right hand of the boss, who has their own agenda and wants to betray her uncle (the master Tytalus).

    Leave a comment:


  • Black Fox
    replied
    Thanks. I'll check with some friends to see if they have a copy. Since that is a relatively late addition to the game, I suspect it'll have nothing to do with the original conception of the Circle of Red, but simply used as a name drop for something brand new (like how it's described in the Dark Ages line). I think earlier references in the game lines are "more reliable" resources for what was actually intended for the Circle of Red. But it might have some good information. I'll add it to my list of references.

    Thanks!

    Leave a comment:


  • Justycar
    replied
    Yesterday, I finished reading The red sign, a third edition book for Vampire the masquerade and Mage the ascension. The book develops an history around an apocalyptic ritual in which mages and vampires are involved, and some of the mages are House Tytalus Nephandi from the Red Circle. The inspiration of the whole book is based in lovecraftian horror and cosmic maledictions and relics, as the King in yellow and the yellow sign.

    Leave a comment:


  • Black Fox
    replied
    Originally posted by grayhoss View Post
    As I recall, the Circle of Red/Roseblack circle was originally a group of Infernalists for Ars Magica. It was once discussed in an early Ars fanzine.
    Grayhoss, do you know where it is mentioned that the Circle of Red and the Roseblack Circle are the same? Is it in that Ars Magica fanzine you mentioned (which I assume you once read)?

    I've done some additional research by finding and reading copies of the supplements mentioned here. But while I find references to the Roseblack Circle in Ars Magica, and Circle of Red in World of Darkness books, I have not seen anything that links the two. So I am wondering if there was a mention in that fanzine or elsewhere that connects them.

    Thanks.

    Leave a comment:


  • Black Fox
    replied
    Originally posted by LostLight View Post
    They are still around. After a war with the Baali, they were forced into submission to the vampires, turning into lich like beings who feed upon will, using their magic to protect Chorazin. They show up in Rites of the Blood, for V20.
    I'll be ignoring that. Doesn't sound like the most interesting thing to do with them.

    But it's good to know so thanks for sharing.

    Leave a comment:


  • LostLight
    replied
    They are still around. After a war with the Baali, they were forced into submission to the vampires, turning into lich like beings who feed upon will, using their magic to protect Chorazin. They show up in Rites of the Blood, for V20.

    Leave a comment:


  • Dwight
    replied
    I wanna say they get mentioned in path of screams for dark ages mage.

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  • Black Fox
    replied
    Thanks for that information. Very interesting. A Google search reveals that an article on the Roseblack Circle was published in Redcap volume 1, #4 in 1993. That sounds like your fanzine. Unfortunately, it's very unlikely I'll ever find a copy of a near 30 year old fanzine that probably had a very limited production run.

    I wonder if there was an earlier mention of the Circle of Red in Ars Magica itself, or if it was limited to this fanzine. Since Book of the Wyrm first edition was also published in 1993, this is very close in publishing time.

    I've always found the World of Darkness's early roots in Ars Magica fascinating. I can easily see how yet another Ars Magica easter egg was entered into the first edition Book of the Wyrm, and then brought in again when the medieval era of Ars Magica was reintroduced into the Dark Ages line.

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  • grayhoss
    replied
    As I recall, the Circle of Red/Roseblack circle was originally a group of Infernalists for Ars Magica. It was once discussed in an early Ars fanzine.

    Leave a comment:

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