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How do I make the Lancea Sanctum "cool"?

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  • How do I make the Lancea Sanctum "cool"?

    I have trouble making these guys seem like an appealing choice to play or ally with. It's difficult to fit a modern-day church as an institution into a setting as bleak and cynical as CoD without making them too unsympathetic to enjoy playing, which is part of the problem - and for that matter, it's hard to translate a typical churchgoer into a gothic monster. Moreover, there's a lot of competition for the niches it tries to fill - you've got the hierarchical Invictus vs the anarchist Carthians covering the political spectrum, and the Circle's ancient magic vs the Ordo Dracul's strange new sciences in the metaphysical arena.

    Any ideas?

  • #2
    So generally, I like to base how the local Lancea et Sanctum runs itself over what region they happen to be in. So for example, if the local area is mostly Protestant then the church authority would most likely be the Sanctum's Pastor and a few of the older members; if the local area is more Catholic, then the Sanctum would take on a more Catholic approach. You could even go beyond Christianity to Judaism and Islam if the local region has those religions as more prevalent or if that's just what you want to do. I know it's commonly held that the Sanctum is generally Catholic due to that being a very prominent religion, but I've always just looked at the Sanctum's religion as a fourth branch of the Abrahamic religions (specifically for vampires), so you can always pull from any of the three, or even make up your own stuff.

    Also, the Sanctum fits into its niche as a spiritual adviser. The local Circle Acolytes generally embrace being a monster and find divinity in that; on the flipside, rather than being divine themselves, the Sanctum believes in a divine purpose. The Sanctum preaches that while Kindred might be monsters, that doesn't mean God's outright abandoned them; he just has a different plan for them than he does for humans. People generally find comfort in purposes, and kindred at the end of the day are still people, and most probably won't revel in being a monster at first. A divine purpose is a bit of hope to cling to.

    Also, the Invictus and the Lancea et Sanctum have close relationships typically (to the point that they are called the First and Second Estates respectively), so you could look to history for some guidance. Generally rulers could do a lot of stuff, but if they angered the Roman Catholic Church then that was still a problem and that the ruler had to shape up or be excommunicated (or they might go even more rogue and build their own branch of religion, and wouldn't that just be an interesting plot: one of the local invictus heads causes a schism by building his own longinian church).

    At the end of the day, the Sanctum is an institution, as you mentioned. Like the Invictus, the sanctum will probably have policies in place to support its members on a night to night basis. For example, the local Sanctum could earn its name by having safe havens for kindred to run to in the event that something horrendous happens to their haven (this would probably be more of a neonate use, but an Elder running to one of these havens would be interesting to see).

    The Sanctum also play off of the Circle similarly how the Invictus play off of the Carthians; the Sanctum and Circle go down two different routes of spirituality. The Sanctum believes in a divine purpose granted by their god in a monotheistic religion while they Circle find divinity in themselves in worship to any number of gods, and as a bonus then you have the Ordo as finding power in a more secular life style; the three groups fit into a niche similar to how some groups of people find comfort in the Abrahamic faiths, how some people are returning to older religions and pagan faiths, and how some people are fine with pure secularism.

    That's all I can think of right now, but I'll post any more ideas I can think of.

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    • #3
      Start a Crusade. Tell your players that the Lance is fighting a secret war in the streets and they will be cool.
      This works even better if you provide them an enemy that your players will want to fight, as opposed to just the Crone.
      VII, Belial's Brood or the Strix for example.

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      • #4
        On a mechanical perspective, the Lancea is the choice if you want to have Vampires focus on Humanity. Lancea Vampires are often the most focused on Humanity then any other Covenant, it is important to them, plus their magic sorta makes it so that if you wish to use the really powerful stuff you must maintain it. Like how the CotC is about delving into your Beast and accepting that, the Lancea is about rejecting that stance that while they are inhuman monsters that doesn’t mean that they have to abandon their values. Basically the Lancea is the option for a Vampire when they just look back and are disgusted with their existence and their actions and try to find an answer of why they are as they are, the Lancea offers an answer. The Lancea is open to everyone, and while they are quite fanatical with their faith they will be there to support you no matter who you are. Remember Vampire is a game about Personal Horror, use that and focus on that point to make the Lancea appealing, because it is often then not the best answer if you wish to remain who you are and not be driven to become a full vice ridden monster. Of course it has its shadiness and it’s down sides, all Covenants do. But this is what I think makes Lancea so appealing in Vampire and how it fits in the theme of it


        .

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        • #5
          Call them the Sabbat.

          Do NOT call them Mormons.


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          • #6
            Each Covenant is a group that exists to provide meaning and support for Vampire lives. Carthians turn to politics. Invictus turn to hierarchy. Ordo Dracul turn towards transcendence and knowledge. Crone turn towards self-acceptance in the worst of ways. Sanctum turn to faith and divine mandate. For some players, that's all the reason they'd need to find it appealing. But they aren't "church-goers turned to gothic monsters." Trying to treat them that way may be part of your problem.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Ever Professional View Post
              Also, the Invictus and the Lancea et Sanctum have close relationships typically (to the point that they are called the First and Second Estates respectively), so you could look to history for some guidance. Generally rulers could do a lot of stuff, but if they angered the Roman Catholic Church then that was still a problem and that the ruler had to shape up or be excommunicated (or they might go even more rogue and build their own branch of religion, and wouldn't that just be an interesting plot: one of the local invictus heads causes a schism by building his own longinian church).
              I've considered that role, but I have a hard time justifying it in the modern day - the church just doesn't wield that same level of societal power anymore. It makes intuitive sense to me in Requiem for Rome or in a dark-ages themed chronicle - but in the present day, with the concept of "divine right" consigned to history's rubbish heap (regardless of what individual Kindred remember), why are the Invictus, much less any of the others, going to give a damn about what the Sanctified preach?

              It also seems to be a tough sell to players, who in my experience more often aspire to become the ruler themselves.

              Originally posted by Iceblade44 View Post
              On a mechanical perspective, the Lancea is the choice if you want to have Vampires focus on Humanity. Lancea Vampires are often the most focused on Humanity then any other Covenant, it is important to them, plus their magic sorta makes it so that if you wish to use the really powerful stuff you must maintain it. Like how the CotC is about delving into your Beast and accepting that, the Lancea is about rejecting that stance that while they are inhuman monsters that doesn’t mean that they have to abandon their values. Basically the Lancea is the option for a Vampire when they just look back and are disgusted with their existence and their actions and try to find an answer of why they are as they are, the Lancea offers an answer.
              I hadn't thought about the Lancea Sanctum that way, thank you - I can see it being a cool covenant for a character or chronicle with a strong focus on maintaining Humanity. I guess my follow-up question, though, would be how to reconcile that with how the group's described in the rulebook - as a group which makes tormenting the innocent a central part of their mission. The examples given in the 2nd edition write-up are pretty extreme, and the 1st edition outright calls them "the most inhuman of an inhuman race".

              Originally posted by Maina View Post
              But they aren't "church-goers turned to gothic monsters." Trying to treat them that way may be part of your problem.
              It's a literal description. They're vampires who organize through a church, and vampires in Requiem are all gothic monsters. I'm just working with what the rulebook gives me, no need to nitpick the verbiage. If you feel like sharing whatever your take on the Lancea Sanctum is, I'd welcome it.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Cielle View Post
                I've considered that role, but I have a hard time justifying it in the modern day - the church just doesn't wield that same level of societal power anymore. It makes intuitive sense to me in Requiem for Rome or in a dark-ages themed chronicle - but in the present day, with the concept of "divine right" consigned to history's rubbish heap (regardless of what individual Kindred remember), why are the Invictus, much less any of the others, going to give a damn about what the Sanctified preach?
                The church doesn't need to wield the massive societal power it held in medieval times for the Lance to take its thematic cues from it — and divine right has next to nothing to do with divine mandate. The Lance is a censor and a goad. The Chapel is a vault. They're a covenant built around the safekeeping and disposal of secret lore as well as the direction of mortal society along a particular division between the living and the dead. They're traditionalists, and the Traditions were put to words by their pens.

                It should not be remotely surprising that the magical secret-keepers are frequently in bed with the Conspiracy of Silence.

                I guess my follow-up question, though, would be how to reconcile that with how the group's described in the rulebook - as a group which makes tormenting the innocent a central part of their mission.
                High Humanity doesn't mean moral goodness, particularly not after banes have come into play, and even an average jaded elder can still make use of half the miracles of Theban Sorcery without missing a beat. The Man is self-control, and you can find that in abundance in an institution whose mandate is the temptation and terrifying of mortals away from and into the church.

                I'm just working with what the rulebook gives me, no need to nitpick the verbiage.
                "Nitpicking the verbiage" is bound to happen when you describe the clergy as the flock despite part of the whole point of the Lance is that they don't worship alongside the living and that the other covenants are the laity and heretics to their ministry.


                Resident Sanguinary Analyst
                Currently Consuming: Changeling: the Lost 1e

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Satchel View Post
                  High Humanity doesn't mean moral goodness, particularly not after banes have come into play, and even an average jaded elder can still make use of half the miracles of Theban Sorcery without missing a beat. The Man is self-control, and you can find that in abundance in an institution whose mandate is the temptation and terrifying of mortals away from and into the church.

                  "Nitpicking the verbiage" is bound to happen when you describe the clergy as the flock despite part of the whole point of the Lance is that they don't worship alongside the living and that the other covenants are the laity and heretics to their ministry.
                  There's a strong correlation between high Humanity and not doing things like killing. And I'm sorry for not using your preferred descriptors for the covenant, I had no idea that my simplified description would cause offense.

                  Look, this isn't helpful to me. I am just looking for ways to pitch the Lancea Sanctum as being cool to play, and I wasn't getting enough from the write-up. That's it.
                  Last edited by Cielle; 10-30-2018, 12:49 AM.

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                  • #10
                    To me, the fun of playing a Lancea et Sanctum character is portraying a vampire who wants to be a monster and thinks they can feel good about it. On the one hand, you're damned, so all the Jesus stuff doesn't apply to you. No good works salvation for you, but yes yes yes BDSM parties and Eyes Wide Shut-style (pardon the pun) masquerades, with a touch of gothic vampire liturgy for good measure. If you were repressed in life because you feared the Almighty might punish you, well, it's too late for that now.

                    On the other hand, being damned still means you're going to Hell, but you're in luck! God (or...someone) might let you rule your own little subsection of the Inferno if you scare enough sinners straight, so you have tons of reason to put all that debauchery to good use. The Sanctified get to have their blood cake and suck it dry too. Sounds cool to me.
                    Last edited by Yossarian; 10-31-2018, 01:35 AM.



                    Social justice vampire/freelancer | He/Him

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Cielle View Post

                      I've considered that role, but I have a hard time justifying it in the modern day - the church just doesn't wield that same level of societal power anymore. It makes intuitive sense to me in Requiem for Rome or in a dark-ages themed chronicle - but in the present day, with the concept of "divine right" consigned to history's rubbish heap (regardless of what individual Kindred remember), why are the Invictus, much less any of the others, going to give a damn about what the Sanctified preach?

                      It also seems to be a tough sell to players, who in my experience more often aspire to become the ruler themselves.
                      Funnily enough for me, none of my players ever want to be rulers. But religion still does matter when it comes to politics. For example, JFK is the only Catholic president the US has ever had; even today I've heard people gripe how the Pope would rule the US if we had a Catholic president (which is pretty much blatantly wrong). It's also the same reason why some people gripe about other people's religious leanings in other parts of government work. People generally still care about religion (or in some cases a lack of it) in their lives. I can't imagine the All Night Society being any different, especially since with new kindred being embraced relatively all the time the religious climate should change with it.



                      I hadn't thought about the Lancea Sanctum that way, thank you - I can see it being a cool covenant for a character or chronicle with a strong focus on maintaining Humanity. I guess my follow-up question, though, would be how to reconcile that with how the group's described in the rulebook - as a group which makes tormenting the innocent a central part of their mission. The examples given in the 2nd edition write-up are pretty extreme, and the 1st edition outright calls them "the most inhuman of an inhuman race".

                      Reading all of the covenants pages in 2e, they are all generally show to be extreme. Each of the covenant write ups in the core book are based around the blatant murder (or planned murders) of others. I think that's mostly to hammer in the point that the game is about monsters. However, with the Humanity system, kindred clearly cannot act like monsters all the time, or they're quickly going to become draugr. The Sanctum is all about testing the flock, and that doesn't necessarily mean blatant murder. Testing the flock can also be about tempting them to sin. The lancea et sanctum are also known to protect communities that follow the abrahamic faiths.


                      It's a literal description. They're vampires who organize through a church, and vampires in Requiem are all gothic monsters. I'm just working with what the rulebook gives me, no need to nitpick the verbiage. If you feel like sharing whatever your take on the Lancea Sanctum is, I'd welcome it.
                      Why would all kindred be gothic monsters. Granted, some will be, especially older ones. Generally though, I don't see why most kindred would immediately become gothic monsters upon embrace. Are they vampires, sure. Vampires aren't exclusive to gothic ideas though, and I think most people would generally take some time to adjust to being monsters rather than go full on medieval vampires. I imagine most neonates would be more panicky and nervous, and the arms of a waiting church to give them purpose sounds like something that has a place. Even the older ones might find comfort in a church because the abrahamic faiths have lasted for thousands of years, and generally most people don't like constant change in their lives. I imagine an older vampire might find comfort in something that didn't change too much over the course of a hundred years.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Cielle View Post
                        I have trouble making these guys seem like an appealing choice to play or ally with. It's difficult to fit a modern-day church as an institution into a setting as bleak and cynical as CoD without making them too unsympathetic to enjoy playing, which is part of the problem - and for that matter, it's hard to translate a typical churchgoer into a gothic monster. Moreover, there's a lot of competition for the niches it tries to fill - you've got the hierarchical Invictus vs the anarchist Carthians covering the political spectrum, and the Circle's ancient magic vs the Ordo Dracul's strange new sciences in the metaphysical arena.
                        I get the feeling you're running a game, or about to, and you're trying to explain the groups and don't feel people will want to join the LS. So my comments are going to be based off of that.

                        While you noted that you don't believe that the Church has the same relevance today as once did, newly created vampire characters do not have to be newly created vampires. You can start with one that is old and hasn't gotten around to learning much, or who has lost their Blood Potency through long torpor. Or someone who was a newly Embraced vampire during the time of the Crusades, went out with the LS, got staked and only awakened recently. So, what people think now doesn't necessarily matter to a vampire. Though people are still religious and even those who aren't can find the idea that 'God has a plan for you' is appealing. Especially when it comes with sorcery.

                        I wouldn't worry about trying to sell players on the LS, they'll like it or they won't, and trying to get them to join it when they're not interested may result in an unhappy player playing a character they don't want.

                        However, making them appealing and making them a covenant you want to ally with is easy. Make them powerful, and make them interesting. Have the domain ruled by an Archbishop, that is a Lancea et Sanctum Prince who is also the leader of the local LS covenant. Flavor the domain appropriately. If you have Damnation City, a fantastic book, I suggest you check out the Archbishop Prince, but I'll probably post their excerpt here later. From there, you have the major power players in the city, and they don't have to be LS but you can put interesting LS characters there. A sheriff who styles himself as an old inquisition witch hunter, say, who absolutely hates that black sorcery of the Crone, and perhaps is biased against the Ordo as well. Or having a charming daeva harpy who has, quite literally, a human church that he performs night sermons for. All on the level. Still, an LS run city is interesting.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Cielle View Post
                          There's a strong correlation between high Humanity and not doing things like killing.
                          There's also a high correlation among vampires between being able to kill people without losing their capacity to understand the living and having weird folkloric occult quirks, particularly among older vampires, and there is a similarly high correlation between maintaining your Humanity and not being impulsive or personally involved in the commission of murder to advance your goals. That is the point I am making.

                          And I'm sorry for not using your preferred descriptors for your favorite covenant, I had no idea that my simplified description would offend you so deeply.
                          It's a simplified description that treats my grandmother as interchangeable with the Pope. It doesn't have to be my favorite covenant (it isn't) for me to recognize that "churchgoer" and "priest" are different beasts. Stow the sarcasm.

                          Look, what you're doing isn't helpful to me, not at all.
                          Your attitude toward being expected to understand the bare minimum of precise language is doing you no favors, either. If you don't care enough to approach the covenant in more than the most simplistic terms, you may be better off leaving it alone. Otherwise? Have the good sense not to get snippy when people point out that you're calling a sheepdog a sheep.

                          I am just looking for ways to pitch the Lancea Sanctum as being cool to play, and I wasn't getting enough from the write-up. That's it.
                          And the write-up is extremely plain about there being things the covenant offers that differ from the magical focuses of the Ordo and the Circle or the institutional drives of the First Estate and the Movement. Weird artifacts, ancient grimoires, and debauched sorcerers are all things to go after that are not Wyrm's Nests; social-engineering the mother of all stress-tests for a pious man's faith or driving a wealthy drug lord to suicide and the Embrace are things your vampire-church might aim to do that are not seizing a majority hold of the Rack to set new terms for feeding grounds.

                          The Lance are the folks that concern themselves with hiding or destroying dark magics from the obscure past and keeping a grip on their human sensibilities in the face of the horrifying things they sometimes do in the name of faith and dogma. They're one of the prime examples of how vampires can become weird and distant from humanity even as their perspectives hold steady. They're one of the most definite examples of how vampires hoping to keep up their personhood while adjusting to unlife as a monster have to keep up regular efforts or make their peace with a certain level of detachment from the world they inhabit.


                          Resident Sanguinary Analyst
                          Currently Consuming: Changeling: the Lost 1e

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                          • #14
                            Lancea et Sanctum started off as my least favorite Covenant, and I really had to dig deep in order to find them interesting. A lot of that was my own anti-religious experiences, and on a quick read they just seem like mean vampire Catholics.

                            But perhaps lost in some of the rhetoric of Satchel's responses - Indiana Jones is pretty close to a 2E Sanctified. He is a globe-trotting adventurer who finds religious artifacts and lost lore - and teaches some, while stockpiling the rest in a warehouse so Nazis can't get it.

                            Another big aspect that got me to come around to the LeS, they have faith that works. Think of how many people out there who get meaning out of the non-direct miracles they see in their lives. Think of the number of people who desperately want there to be a real God, but never hear God talk. Now imagine either of those people waking into the Kindred world and seeing vampires who not only talk to God and hear God talk back to them, but they can literally pray and enact miracles. That should be a bigger draw than some people give it credit for.

                            I would recommend focusing on the aesthetics if the base concept still isn't interesting to you. In my current campaign, I didn't pre-plan the Sanctified NPCs very well, so they kind of naturally just settled into a Circle of the Crone (but Abrahamic) role. Individualized faiths, people doing their own thing.

                            If I ever do a reset, I would change that and really focus on factions that I think would be appealing to players. I personally narrowed that down to three.

                            ---
                            1) Righteous Warriors

                            This is your martial wing. Inquisitors are the internal police and heretic breakers. Crusaders are outward facing holy soldiers. Exorcists are ghost / demon / whatever hunters. Legates are James Bond spy types. I'd play up the angelic themes of their magics and try to make them flashy.

                            2) Lorekeepers

                            This is your esoteric wing. These are the folks who hunt for forbidden lore and destroy it. It purifies those haunted houses and Wyrm's nests. It disposes of tainted artefacts. They discover new rituals and decide if those rituals are divinely inspired or too dangerous to teach. Indiana Jones and the DaVinci Code are the adventuresome images. I'd play up the hidden mysteries, codebreaking and puzzles, trippy rituals, etc.

                            3) Tempters of Job

                            Rather than thinking about the Lance as just monsters who corrupt humanity, think about them like undercover cops trying to bring down criminals. It's not about forcing mortals to commit sin and damn them. It's about testing people who claim to be righteous, and then punishing them here on earth for their transgressions, so they have a chance to get right with God. Sometimes that can mean making a particularly horrible example out of a serial killer to scare the rest of the flock, but I think if that is the default way the Covenant approaches all mortals, they quickly become played out. If you make it about personal connections and inner struggles, it's easier to incorporate higher humanity play and complicated relationships.
                            ---

                            Finally - don't underestimate the strength of ritual. All the trappings of a dark religion can be interesting when explored right. A great well to return to is the Book of Longinus. If you ever had fun researching old mythologies for use in game - this book is great for it. It's the foundational text for the Covenant and there are a lot of cool themes you can mine from its passages. I can't stress this enough - if you make the trappings cool: cool rituals, cool conditions that come out of going to church, cool thematics around merits and miracles - that's a big draw for players in my experience.

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                            • #15
                              Well to start, even as an atheist living in a pretty secular country, the church still holds power. It's heydays might be over in the western world, but in many places, people are deeply religious.
                              In large chunks of the world, religion is still very influential both in the social life, but also in the civic society. The L&S though, don't need a highly religious populace to gain power, vampirism is something completely outside of non-belief and it forces you to a new look on life and the world. The L&S provides answers and guidance to those in need of it, it gives purpose and is rooted in tradition, lore-keeping and as a torch of civilization and humanity. They have a long history, and they keep that history, they collect artifacts, lore and knowledge about the occult and vampires in particular. They see themselves as the guardians of humanity, in a twisted way, helping humanity to face God. They lure sinners to sin, and help them accept God into their hearts.

                              Well, for me, I think the best way to understand why L&S is interesting is to see them through knowledge of religion and as a actual religion. Read the Testament of Longinus, it's a really good in-game artifact that gives a great foundation to build on. In my opinion, it's the best in-game fiction book that WW/onyx has released, because it feels and reads like something that could actually be a religious text.

                              In my mind what makes the L&S good, it's the really fucked up dichotomy between what I'd call, plain evil and good. They want to be like perfect hunters and monsters to fear humanity back into the arms of God and at the same time be moral, not kill and keep their humanity and hope that God has not really forsaken them, or at least that he has other plans for them. Fortunately for the L&S that's what they believe, that they can help others from damnation and maybe, just maybe God will forgive them for their sins. They play out like Judas, someone need to sell out Jesus or else the prophecy won't come into play. They take it upon themselves to be that Judas, do sins and evil for good to happen.
                              I've had domains where the L&S are more or less hunted, playing out like a early Christian underground movement but also where they're in absolute power, with Inquisitions, mandatory Midnight Mass and an ongoing Holy War against heretics and pagans. And things in between those extremes.


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