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  • [2E] Slavic Covenants

    I run Werewolf game at dawn of Viking Age ( circa 800 A.D. ) where players are traveling from Sweden to Constantinople ( see Route from the Varangians to the Greeks ). As it's about 100 years before mass christianization of Slavic lands ( and even before creation of Rus kingdom ) I would want to add Slavic vampires of region.

    I would simply used Circle of Crone here - only VtR 2E corebook retconed CoC into creation of 1800's in Scotland and Ireland. In later centuries Ordo Dracul will become most prominent Covenant in Slavic kingdoms - but it's at least 700 years even before Master Dracula now. Invictus and Lancea Sanctum are strictly Roman - i.e. christian - groups that will come with missionaries of Byzantium in next centuries.

    So question is simple - Are there in VtR books some Slavic (proto)Covenants groups? Maybe some historical factions that lead to creation in Circle of Crone (if any)? If not - maybe you have some ideas on groups like those?
    Last edited by wyrdhamster; 01-10-2018, 08:00 AM.


    My Dark Eras: Byzantine Empire and Eastern Europe in Early Middle Ages ( 285–1461 A.D.)
    Conquer of Paradise – Portugal and Spain and their conquests in XVI century
    My Hacks and Z-Splats for VtR 2E, WtF 2E, MtAw 2E

  • #2
    As far as I'm aware, there is no canon pre-Christian Slavic Covenants. A variation of the Circle of the Crone is more than likely, the question is if they'll use Curac proper or some variation of it, or even an whole new form of Blood Magic/other covenant benefit (see the Weihan Cynn or the Nemite. Being pagan doesn't mean you have magic, after all). If you were to homebrew such a group, I recommend going to the basics of the pagan Slavic faith and see what makes it special/different, and what kinds of benefits would be appropriate for it.


    My Homebrew Signature- Because I need one. If you use any of it, please share with me how it went!

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    • #3
      In all honestly I probably wouldn't give them so much as covenants as opposed to various cults of Slavic deities (or famed Kindred) or cosanguine lineages inhabiting the various parts of the land.

      Unless you really want to run inter-vampire politics I think that you can do well enough without covenants and run things more like they are in the OWoD Dark Ages setting. With a Prince (or Slavic title) and a bunch of subjects and courtiers from various Clans and Bloodlines but little formal organization beyond the Prince and his/her court.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by LostLight View Post
        As far as I'm aware, there is no canon pre-Christian Slavic Covenants.
        Checked Circle of Crone book - on quick look I cannot also find anything related to Slavic beliefs. Maybe something related to Baba Yaga? Yaga works as great Crone archetype from myths. At least she would be powerful NPC in the Slavic Covenant ( if she would be Kindred).

        Originally posted by LostLight View Post
        A variation of the Circle of the Crone is more than likely, the question is if they'll use Curac proper or some variation of it, or even an whole new form of Blood Magic/other covenant benefit (see the Weihan Cynn or the Nemite. Being pagan doesn't mean you have magic, after all).
        Tzimisce from VtM had Koldunic Sorcery as Blood Magic variant. It remind me general Slavic beliefs in 'Gusła' - superstitions rites and folk magic of region. It also would nicely worked with Baba Yaga, as she is clearly witch, probably demon - possibly vampire.


        My Dark Eras: Byzantine Empire and Eastern Europe in Early Middle Ages ( 285–1461 A.D.)
        Conquer of Paradise – Portugal and Spain and their conquests in XVI century
        My Hacks and Z-Splats for VtR 2E, WtF 2E, MtAw 2E

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        • #5
          There is also this goddesses, strong in worship of Poles tribes:
          Marzanna - Mara, Morana, Morena, Maslenitsa, Marowit, Marzyana (Polish) / Baba Yaga
          Rural goddess who grows sprouts; otherwise goddess of winter and death if identified as the same as Morana. Her opposite is Zivena (i.e. Zhiva). "Marowit" is another name of Marzanna or her male counterpart, attested among the Wends. Baba Yaga is also the goddess of death, both young and old, associated both with birds and snakes. According to Leeming (2005), who relies upon Marija Gimbutas, she is clearly cognate of the Hindu goddess Kali as the deathly aspect of the great goddess of Old Europe.
          Last edited by wyrdhamster; 01-09-2018, 03:04 PM.


          My Dark Eras: Byzantine Empire and Eastern Europe in Early Middle Ages ( 285–1461 A.D.)
          Conquer of Paradise – Portugal and Spain and their conquests in XVI century
          My Hacks and Z-Splats for VtR 2E, WtF 2E, MtAw 2E

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          • #6
            Hey, it seems we can simply have 'Circle of Mara / Morana / Yaga'!

            At least in Poland and Ukraine ( were were Eastern Poles tribes - Poland is based on Western Poles tribes ).


            My Dark Eras: Byzantine Empire and Eastern Europe in Early Middle Ages ( 285–1461 A.D.)
            Conquer of Paradise – Portugal and Spain and their conquests in XVI century
            My Hacks and Z-Splats for VtR 2E, WtF 2E, MtAw 2E

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            • #7
              If you wish for something which is less of "CotC with makeup and cultural reference", you could focus instead of Veles, the dragon god of sorcery, death, trickery, music and many other things. He is the arch-enemy of Perun, the ruler of the Slavic pantheon. All of that puts him in a good place as a venerated figure by local pagan cults. Still, I'll say that if you wish for a proper covenant, you should avoid basing it around a single mythological character, or else you simply get a mystery cult. The Veles "inspired" group may be connected to some primordial version of the Ordo Dracul, on the other hand- who knows? Maybe some of the dragon symbolism of the cult comes from that "order of Veles".. heck, maybe "Veles" is a title held by the ruler of the covenant, and Dracula devoured the last one to gain his knowledge needed to develop the Coils?


              My Homebrew Signature- Because I need one. If you use any of it, please share with me how it went!

              On a Dragonlance-reading break. Surprise homebrew may still happen :P
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              • #8
                Now when I think about it, I am pretty sure there are some Slavic or Eastern European Bloodlines in the 1st edition Ordo Dracul book, Bloodlines like the Moroi and the Vedma, who both could be used in your game. The Vedma especially have the whole witches thing going on and so could be useful for a magical/pagan theme for these Kindred.

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                • #9
                  So you say to make two 'protoCovenants' cults in Slavic lands? One worshiping Veles, that Dracula will reform in XV century it's last remnants as Ordo Dracul. And another, worshiping Mara / Baba Yaga - that will become Slavic part of Circle of Crone in XIX century? Interesting - it leaves enough place to have many other smaller pagan cults of Slavic vampires - but also makes modern day Covenants much more related to Slavic roots in area. I like it!

                  We only need good names for both 'protoCovenants', name for Veles 'Coils' alternative - and we are set to go, more or less. For Baba Yaga followers ( future part of Circle of Crone ) I simply would run their powers as Slavic variant of Cruac ( as 2E mechanic ), called 'Gusła'.

                  As 'Order' is too much Christian related word - and Veles is also god of darkness and night - maybe his group would be 'Veles Guard'? Or 'Chosen of Veles'?
                  Last edited by wyrdhamster; 01-09-2018, 04:40 PM.


                  My Dark Eras: Byzantine Empire and Eastern Europe in Early Middle Ages ( 285–1461 A.D.)
                  Conquer of Paradise – Portugal and Spain and their conquests in XVI century
                  My Hacks and Z-Splats for VtR 2E, WtF 2E, MtAw 2E

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    For now I have those associations.

                    Group's Name - Modern Descendants - Powers
                    Wołosożary - Ordo Dracul - Blessings ( works like Coils, only need to be given as potion)
                    Krąg Wiedźm - Circle of Crone - Gusła ( works like Cruac)
                    Last edited by wyrdhamster; 01-10-2018, 05:16 AM.


                    My Dark Eras: Byzantine Empire and Eastern Europe in Early Middle Ages ( 285–1461 A.D.)
                    Conquer of Paradise – Portugal and Spain and their conquests in XVI century
                    My Hacks and Z-Splats for VtR 2E, WtF 2E, MtAw 2E

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Personally, I would go with a name which is less "in the nose"- something a bit more mysterious, like "the Night Guard", "the Night Bringers" or "The Dragon's Grave". As they are a local covenant, I think it is better to make an extra effort and use the local language for their name (Russian, perhaps?), as it feels more authentic and gives more character to the group. Finally, and I can't stress it enough, please don't make the covenant's benefit into "Coils by any other name". While it is ok for the Ordo Dracul to not be the only group to ever use/develop Coils (see the Buddhist Sakadagami), the act of developing the first Coils (even if he wasn't the first) is one of Dracula's greatest achievements. Having him to simply steal an almost finished product and simply add some colour and shiny accessories would undermine that achievement.

                      What I'm suggesting is giving them an whole other benefit, which still could serve as the base for the modern Coils- knowledge which Dracula used in order to develop his own system, just as Einstein has used the foundations laid by Newton to formalize the theory of relativity. As Veles is the god of magic and sorcery, I think that perhaps a form of Blood Alchemy would be appropriate- it was touched a number of times in Requiem in the past, and was also presented in some form in the Ordo Dracul book as the Vedma's Spoiling. The system would require the user to brew potions out of Vitae which could be used to enhance the vampire or others, even though they may cause some nasty side effects. That could work with the theme of Veles constantly challenging Perun, dying and being reborn once more- vampires died once, and were reborn, and now strength their body, mind and soul to challenge Perun once more. They are the Undying, who force their undead body to suffer again and again in order to grow stronger, and create potions which help them push themselves beyond their limits. As Veles is also a god of music, you could play this angle to bring something fresh to the region- perhaps the recipes which are used to brew the blood are needed to be sang during the process, for example.


                      My Homebrew Signature- Because I need one. If you use any of it, please share with me how it went!

                      On a Dragonlance-reading break. Surprise homebrew may still happen :P
                      I now blog in here

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Remember my goal here - I'm Werewolf ST - I make vampires only as NPC so my players can Hunt them, de facto. Less reinventing wheel for me - the better. And I use VtR 2E as 'antagonist engine', to mechanically ( and settingly ) describe vampire NPCs. That means I want to use 'Coils /Cruac by another name' as much as I can - it just will save me time and lifting need to make new powers. And if I remember correctly in Soulless and Dead Dark Era ( Black Death times) exactly the same way were made Gallow Posts powers from Carthian Law.

                        BUT I like a change you propose that Veles group Blessings ( Coils) need potions to activate - it makes then de facto Witchers od setting. If you really want, you can go and write completely new set of powers - I will just reuse those of modern Covenants.
                        Last edited by wyrdhamster; 01-10-2018, 03:04 AM.


                        My Dark Eras: Byzantine Empire and Eastern Europe in Early Middle Ages ( 285–1461 A.D.)
                        Conquer of Paradise – Portugal and Spain and their conquests in XVI century
                        My Hacks and Z-Splats for VtR 2E, WtF 2E, MtAw 2E

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I edited previous sum up post with new names I chosen from your ideas. And here we come deeper...

                          Originally posted by LostLight View Post
                          As they are a local covenant, I think it is better to make an extra effort and use the local language for their name (Russian, perhaps?), as it feels more authentic and gives more character to the group.
                          Until 860's there is no proper Slavic writing system - and by this, one common language. Till christianization mission of Cyril and Methodius there are only vocal dialects of dozen Slavic tribes and some tribe crude signs. For your ease I will wrote fan Covenants names in Polish, as we use Latin-based writing, so you could read them ( more or less ) - in other Slavic languages those names will sound very similar and you can translate them from Polish.


                          My Dark Eras: Byzantine Empire and Eastern Europe in Early Middle Ages ( 285–1461 A.D.)
                          Conquer of Paradise – Portugal and Spain and their conquests in XVI century
                          My Hacks and Z-Splats for VtR 2E, WtF 2E, MtAw 2E

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                          • #14
                            Intruging findings I made - name of Wallachia, region where Vlad Dracula ruled, come from Slavic 'Wołoszczyzna' that is 'Land of Veles' and cult of Veles was very strong in region at pagan times. And that 'Wołoszyn' was draconic incarnation of Veles, in region of our Polish mountains Tatry. What's more, Orion's Belt name in Slavic lads is 'Wołosożary' that is means both 'stars of Veles' and 'sons of Veles' ( in Serbian translation of term, at least ). So the (proto)Covenant will be Wołosożary. And they all like to be 'little stars' of their patron.


                            My Dark Eras: Byzantine Empire and Eastern Europe in Early Middle Ages ( 285–1461 A.D.)
                            Conquer of Paradise – Portugal and Spain and their conquests in XVI century
                            My Hacks and Z-Splats for VtR 2E, WtF 2E, MtAw 2E

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Here is first proper take on fan made Slavic (proto)Covenants. In reality, they are much more their Patrons wide cults, with philosophy shaping more and more with civilization of Slavic nations – but on the second hand, losing fights with Christianity based Invictus and Lancea Sanctum in coming centuries. Remenants of Slavic Covenants then entered in to their Modern Descendants groups, in coming centuries.

                              Wołosożary ( eng. Stars / Sons of Veles )
                              Patron: Veles, God of Darkness, Underworld, Magic, Wealth, Oaths and Cattle.
                              Modern Descendants: Ordo Dracul
                              Powers: Błogosławieństwa ( eng. Blessings) – works like Coils of Ordo Dracul, only each power needs to be made into potion from the Blood of Kindred that other can drink for. Each potion last his properties for one week.

                              Sons of Veles ( also known as Stars of Veles ) are followers of Slavic Lord of Underworld in perfecting themselves and their magic. Serving their own as priests and sacrifices at once – they share their Blood with other in the cult, sharing their Błogosławieństwa from their Lord of Darkness - like the cattle he is patron of. Sons wants to be, one day, as powerful as their ‘Father’, ruling Kindred around them. Covenant accepts mainly man.

                              Krąg Wiedźm ( eng. Circle of Witches )
                              Patron: Baba Yaga, figure similar to Goddess of Moon, Death, Winter, Earth and Bird. In Poland it’s called Marzanna.
                              Modern Descendants: Circle of the Crone
                              Powers: Gusła ( eng. Witchcraft ) – works like Cruac from Circle of the Crone

                              In Slavic mythology, there is no clear division between revenants, wraiths and vampires – and witches can often summon or change another human into all of them. Krąg is coalition of various vampiric witches, practicing the ways of their mothers and grandmothers. They follow Baba Yaga, demonic witch figure that, in some tales, is to suck life from her victims. They practice Blood Magic called Gusła, showing that vampires are less dead than many thinks about them. Covenant accepts mainly woman.
                              Last edited by wyrdhamster; 01-10-2018, 06:21 AM.


                              My Dark Eras: Byzantine Empire and Eastern Europe in Early Middle Ages ( 285–1461 A.D.)
                              Conquer of Paradise – Portugal and Spain and their conquests in XVI century
                              My Hacks and Z-Splats for VtR 2E, WtF 2E, MtAw 2E

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