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Brainstorming some Roman organizations

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  • #16
    While it's interesting as an idea, I gather that the Galli weren't really doing it out of faith as much as it was their initiation rite. That said, there does seem to be at least one instance of a person castrating themselves outside the priesthood which sounds a lot more like an act of personal devotion.


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    • #17
      Originally posted by atamajakki View Post
      Unrelated to all this, but I really want to see what the cult of Cybele/Magna Mater would look like when portrayed in a sympathetic light. I've now seen two unrelated takes on them where they're outright evil pawns of some dark monstrosity, and while I understand that to an extent (a modern audience understandably has a visceral reaction to self-castrating pagans),I'd sooner see what that mindset looks like when handles sympathetically and how people with enough faith to do that might well be heroic.
      Cybele/Magna Mater cultists worshiping Dark Mother in her heroic aspect would be interesting Beast ( and general CoD ) crossover.


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      • #18
        Originally posted by wyrdhamster View Post

        Cybele/Magna Mater cultists worshiping Dark Mother in her heroic aspect would be interesting Beast ( and general CoD ) crossover.
        ... The Dark Mother's heroic aspect? Something like that existed?


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        • #19
          Originally posted by Michael View Post
          While it's interesting as an idea, I gather that the Galli weren't really doing it out of faith as much as it was their initiation rite. That said, there does seem to be at least one instance of a person castrating themselves outside the priesthood which sounds a lot more like an act of personal devotion.
          It was a voluntary initiation rite. I don't know about you, but most folks would have to believe awful hard in a goddess to castrate themselves.


          Just call me Lex.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by atamajakki View Post

            It was a voluntary initiation rite. I don't know about you, but most folks would have to believe awful hard in a goddess to castrate themselves.
            and that's without talking about the formosa's origin myth


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            • #21
              Originally posted by atamajakki View Post
              First of all, we know a couple of canonical groups are running around in the time of the Roman Empire: the Aves Minerva are a Conspiracy that uses blood magic learned from the owls of their goddess to fight vampires
              Yeah, that's their tool - but it doesn't actually tell you anything about who they (the Hunters) are. Who they are in the write-up we have is fairly broad "pagan Romans", which works fine if they're meant to be a catch-all for Roman hunters, or pagan Roman hunters. The moment you try to have any real diversity with Hunter groups in Rome, these guys being "Roman" as their shtick stops thematically working, and you have to rethink the whole dynamic.

              -That's why I made took the Red Rites from them at my table, and made Aves Minerva the Union equivalent of Freemen and Plebs protecting the streets.

              -Mos Maiorum are a Patrician compact who are more vampire focused, protecting the honor of their families and their ancestors from the stain of undeath

              -Vox Martyom are a heretical Christian Compact of the Agonistici tradition, actively seeking their own martyrdom by fighting the unholy forces lurking in the shadows


              -The Collegia Chironos are a mystery cult Conspiracy of educated Greek slaves, seeking knowledge of the medical and mystical and wielding power over their own masters

              - Aegis Kai Doru has masterfully ingratiated themselves with the Nicean Church patriarchs in Constantinople (and most of their newest members are true believers), which serves their own interests well enough. "Breaking the power of Gnostic sorcery" means battling their hated enemy Mages, and "shattering the cults of pagan horrors" allows for raiding the relic collections of the Arisen pretty seamlessly! The evolution is a necessary step to maintain their powerbase in Greece and Anatolia.

              -The Lux Mithrae are a Conspiracy within the Legions who wield blood rites in the service of the state (Red Rites probably move here, but with a clear bull blood ritual source)


              In this era the Cult of Phoenix are most notable as being the premier Hunters of the Parthian Empire (they expanded through Persia back in the days of Persian rule of Egypt), where they've married their alchemy to the catalyst of sacred haoma. In the Achaemenid tradition, they are known as Anûšiya (Companions), though many mistakenly call them Anauša (Immortals).

              Cultural variants Compacts can be reskinned pretty easily. The Shoftim for example protect diasporic Jewish communities in the Empire, but as community defenders, the basic mechanics for Aves Minerva should work easily enough. Germanic pagans hunting glory in combat against monsters can similary be built by reskinning Vox Martyom - the ideology isn't exactly the same certainly, but the underlying motivation and organizing principle is similar enough to use the same mechanical skeleton.


              [I don't feel there's an overriding need for Second Edition material to adhere to First Edition canon, so if the Vigil for Rome setting expands to cover multiple Compacts and Conspiracies, the Aves Minerva can be accordingly adjusted]


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              • #22
                Originally posted by atamajakki View Post
                It was a voluntary initiation rite. I don't know about you, but most folks would have to believe awful hard in a goddess to castrate themselves.
                Maybe. I'd tend to see it more as something similiar to celebacy among Christian priests. A social expectaton rather than a demonstration of any particularly devout faith.


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                • #23
                  well, I've never thought about the Aves Minerva as being "the Roman hunters" any more than Valkyrie are the "american hunters"- I have always saw them as hunters who dedicate themselves to the the gods of Rome, with Minerva being the "goddess of the Vigil" in their eyes. I've never felt that by having them as an example pagan-roman group it stops or interferes with the existence of similar groups, and my interpretation to them was more of "archivists and priests in the service of the Vigil" and less Union-like group. On the other hand, I am a big supporter of the "hunter symmetry theory", and having the Aves Minerva as having a potential connection with the Strixs does fit this symmetry.


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                  • #24
                    glamourweaver I think discarding the Aves Minerva as "the Roman hunters" or "the pagan hunters" loses their vital connection to their goddesses' owls, who may well have a reason to enable some easily-tricked mortals into hunting down the Propinqui for them that carries onward into being the shadowy patrons of the Cainites once Rome falls. I like that connection too much to make them a more general group, to say nothing how much sense Minerva makes as a patron for those upholding the Vigil inside the Empire, and while I do think blood magic is a valid idea for a Mithraic Conspiracy, I don't think the established material on the Aves Minerva needs to go out the window for it.


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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by atamajakki View Post
                      glamourweaver I think discarding the Aves Minerva as "the Roman hunters" or "the pagan hunters" loses their vital connection to their goddesses' owls, who may well have a reason to enable some easily-tricked mortals into hunting down the Propinqui for them that carries onward into being the shadowy patrons of the Cainites once Rome falls. I like that connection too much to make them a more general group, to say nothing how much sense Minerva makes as a patron for those upholding the Vigil inside the Empire, and while I do think blood magic is a valid idea for a Mithraic Conspiracy, I don't think the established material on the Aves Minerva needs to go out the window for it.
                      I do think that's really interesting in Vampire the Requiem (note that it was a VtR supplement where Aves Minerva got its write up). In the context of a self-contained HtV game that hook doesn't have any thematic significance because the Strix aren't something that gets any thematic attention, and beyond that the Aves as written don't have a uniting identity that makes them distinct from other Roman Hunters if you're adding other Roman Hunter groups.


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                      • #26
                        I'm with Glamourweaver here. In a vampire game the Aves Minerva's connection to the Strix can be enough to base an entire group around.

                        But in a Hunter game a group cannot depend on the mysteries of it's own origin/power to be interesting because that would be unable to support a game where you hunt the monster of the week. Investigating your own group can be a valid story - Lucifuge's The Truth faction for example - but given Hunter's themes of hunting monsters and "united we stand, divided we fall" it's best handled in a subgroup rather than the entire group.

                        If you want to redo Aves Minerva to give them a more defined theme so they can fit in with other Roman hunters I wouldn't use the Strix, I'd dig into Roman mythology about Minerva - feel free to crib from The Athenic Church.


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                        • #27
                          I ran a pretty long-running Hunter-in-Rome game a few years back. It was set during the last year of the reign of Marcus Aurelius. The compact I created was called the Lux Romana. I had a whole big backstory to it, but in brief it was founded during the Republic, reached its height during the the Augustan Era, and slowly fell after the end of the Julio-Claudian Dynasty. Agrippa was a member in my canon, who made "protecting Caesar" a part of the code (for a very brief time,) so many members of the Praetorian Guard were also members of the Lux Romana. Cassius Chaerea was the Legate of the Lux Romana during Caligula's time, and he assassinated Caligula when he realized that Caligula had been made into a ghoul of the Senex. After the assassination, he removed "protecting Caesar" from the code, believing it was more important to keep Rome free of supernatural influence than it was to protect its leaders.

                          The spiritual leader of the Lux Romana (Status 5) was the Candelarius, or the Candlemaker, who lit a candle for every official member of the Lux Romana. When a member of the Lux Romana perished, the Candelarius extinguished their candle. It's grimly rumored in the Lux Romana that if the Candelarius didn't extinguish your candle, you couldn't die. Only the Legate, the military leader of the Lux Romana, actually met the Candelarius, so nobody really knew if he was real or just a myth.

                          My ranks were -
                          Status 0 (Zelator) - The Candelarius has lit your candle, and you must now prove yourself worthy of that honor. You usually get sent out on the shitty jobs and have no respect in the compact.
                          Status 1 (Veles) - The Legate has given you your very own iron ring, the symbol of a true hunter. You are afforded the respect that comes with being a proven hunter. You have access to dots of Safehouse equal to your rank in the Lux Romana.
                          Status 2 (Princeps) - You are a known and respected Hunter in the Lux Romana. No benefits other than the respect that comes from your position.
                          Status 3 (Centurion) - You are a local leader in the Lux Romana. You may oversee a Cell or two in a small town or region. Gain the "Patron" merit from Requiem for Rome.
                          Status 4 (Primipilus/Legate) - You are a major leader in the Lux Romana. A Primipilus is the leader of a major city or region, such as Alexandria or Macedonia, and the Legate is the Primipilus of Rome, and the military leader of the Lux Romana as a whole. No official benefits other than the great respect that comes from your position.
                          Status 5 (Candelarius) - It was never assumed that any player would become the Candelarius, as the position was shrouded in mystery. I'd probably give them the "Immortal" Dread Power, or something similar if they were actually stated. Eh.

                          Take from it what you will.

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