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Is The Unholy Claimed?

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  • Is The Unholy Claimed?

    With the recent action on the Spilled Blood thread I was thinking about the Brood.

    In Secrets of the Covenants there's the ritual Pledge to the Worthless One. It specifically references Beliel, so I'm assuming this ritual is how one gets Claimed.


    The Pledge has a number of effects that fit with The Unholy.
    • You get all the advantages of being in frenzy. Claws of the Unholy come out whenever you frenzy.
    • You get a witch mark. She's got chicken-skin arms.
    • You get a familiar. Apparently she's always got crows around.

    The theory is contradicted by the fact that the blog mentions that Claimed only embrace larvae, and The Unholy embraced a dude in Chicago. Also, The Unholy never seemed like a joiner to me. But maybe the Brood is a political faction made up of Claimed, and she's simply Claimed.

  • #2
    Well, the Unholy undoubtedly has stronger connections for her Beast than the average vampire, but I'll be wary from saying she is Claimed. Her strange features are a result of the unique form of Embrace, which seems to include the Strix in some way. Of course, that's just what the story says, and it may have in fact included a some form of "claiming", but all we have to work with is stories- and it is also a really cool one, IMO.


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    • #3
      Edit: Nevermind, they embrace draugr, not larvae, I shall be outcast it seems.
      Last edited by Gnomish American; 08-14-2019, 09:47 AM.


      Call Me Ray.

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      • #4
        While it’s a possibility, it’s uncertain: she could be empowered/influenced by a great number of things In the World of Darkness. My personal take on her is that she has long been possessed by a particularly powerful Strix- potentially the one who spawned the Gangrel all those millennia ago, and has since achieved Synthesis with her. All her peculiarities are little more than the result of Strix tweaking and forgotten Blood Sorcery.

        But that’s just my take on her. If you feel that she has been Claimed, go for it!

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        • #5
          Yeah originally I probably thought Claimed or alternative clan. Then after Vampire's second edition core probably the result of her sire being a strix synthesis (effectively doubling down on the alternative clan). While our main exposure to clans is the more 'you're a human, but a dead one' big five clans, with the Akhud and others, we've seen that things can go really awry once you get away from that core. And while being alien doesn't really help the whole blending in with humanity thing, as we saw from folks like the Pijavica, you could still have isolated or rare vampires out there who develop wildly differently than the big five do.

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          • #6
            I think the Unholy is a childe of the strix called 'Mother' (check p. 222 of Vampire the Requiem 2e).

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            • #7
              Considering that the Embrace is written from an out-of-character perspective (since the Unholy herself doesn't know) I'm going to be boring and take the book at face value, in which case it's almost certainly the Crone.


              Bloodline: The Stygians
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              • #8
                Originally posted by Tessie View Post
                Considering that the Embrace is written from an out-of-character perspective (since the Unholy herself doesn't know) I'm going to be boring and take the book at face value, in which case it's almost certainly the Crone.
                Probably my preferred interpretation for her origin.

                My personal headcannon is that she doesn't have a sire, and she isn't Claimed exactly. I think she's a cogent vampire with 0 Humanity (I'm going to call the state Draugr+). The Claiming process makes you into a Draugr+ along with some other effects. But no matter what, you get permenant Frenzy, a familiar, and a witch mark (third nipple, chickenskin arms, etc).

                EDIT: Whatever the Crone is, she doesn't have to be unrelated or completely dissimilar to the strix. The Strix know and can use Cruac. Doesn't the Circle think that Cruac came from the Crone?

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by DubiousRuffian View Post
                  EDIT: Whatever the Crone is, she doesn't have to be unrelated or completely dissimilar to the strix. The Strix know and can use Cruac. Doesn't the Circle think that Cruac came from the Crone?
                  They can learn and teach Crúac, but they can't actually use it without possessing vampires so that they have physical Vitae to spill. There's definitely a connection between Crúac and Strix, but it's almost certainly not developed by or for them or they wouldn't have to go out of their way to be able to use it at all.


                  Bloodline: The Stygians
                  Ordo Dracul Mysteries: Mystery of Smoke, Revised Mystery of Živa
                  Mage The Awakening: Spell Quick Reference (single page and landscape for computer screens)

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Tessie View Post

                    They can learn and teach Crúac, but they can't actually use it... but it's almost certainly not developed by or for them or they wouldn't have to go out of their way to be able to use it at all.

                    This just occurred to me (and I don't know how much stock I put in it): The fact that the Strix need to use a vampire to make their Crúac work isn't necessarily evidence for Crúac not being developed by or for the Strix.

                    Why would you want a magic system that uses yourself as fuel? Whoever developed the Theban Miracles didn't use themselves as sacrifices -- they use different objects depending on the Miracle. It seems like other real world "magic systems" and religions use things other than the spell caster as a sacrifice. I think most human sacrifices probably sacrifice someone other than the ritualist.

                    The Strix want bodies, so they steal them. They want vitae so they steal it. They want something to sacrifice that will make a spell work, why not steal the sacrifice?

                    And most rituals require blood to actually be spilt. I could see some vampire getting kidnapped by a Strix and, desperate to escape, thinking to themself "The Strix only throws spells around when cutting on a vampire, right? Well guess that I am!"

                    I mean, doesn't it seem a little perverse that you have to self-harm to get your magic working?


                    edit: Potential origin for Hantu the Sorcerer. It hates the Mekhet because one of their clanmates stole its magic.
                    Last edited by DubiousRuffian; 08-28-2019, 04:29 PM.

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                    • #11
                      The thing is, Theban Sorcery works with sacraments that are symbolically connected to either the effects of the ritual, or the faith of the practitioner. Crúac requires Vitae in the medium of blood, which is greatly connected to Kindred practitioners, but not to Strix. There is really no connection between Strix and blood because they don't use blood for anything.

                      "I mean, doesn't it seem a little perverse that you have to self-harm to get your magic working?"

                      Vampires don't have to. An acolyte can get apprentices and other hanger-ons to spill the Vitae for them. Even a ghoul can use Crúac to its fullest extent as long as they have others to spill the Vitae.

                      Another fact that points away from Strix somehow being the origin of Crúac is that the way they learn Crúac in the game is by stealing that knowledge from Kindred hosts.

                      Speaking of Hantu, his mastery over Crúac is noteworthy enough that he's called "the Sorcerer", implying that it's not particularly common among Strix anyway, and he's also the only example Strix who knows any Crúac at all.

                      My theory for the connection between Strix and Crúac is that they're simply much better at preserving rituals because of how hard they are to kill combined with their reproduction through cell division that could very well automatically spread the memories of the rituals to future Strix, unlike Embraced Childer who don't learn shit.
                      If you want a deeper connection, I'd suggest that they have some kind of relationship with the creator of vampiric blood magic, or at least some ancient practitioners who spread it on to both Kindred and Strix.


                      Bloodline: The Stygians
                      Ordo Dracul Mysteries: Mystery of Smoke, Revised Mystery of Živa
                      Mage The Awakening: Spell Quick Reference (single page and landscape for computer screens)

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                      • #12
                        I'm going to be something of an hipster fart and cite an obscure bit of trivia that picked my interest in an old book.

                        Originally posted by Shadows of Mexico, pg.57
                        The Cihuateteo, (undead) considered the envoys of the Aztec Underworld, were exclusively female and haunted the roads and byways of the empire. It is believed that there were two distinct lines of Cihuateteo, one Gangrel and one Daeva. Because of their status as representatives of the gods of death, the mortals of the region treated the Cihuateteo with fear and respect and always made sure to give them a wide berth. How, exactly, the Cihuateteo identified themselves to the mortal populace is unknown. They are described, in certain texts, as having “fleshless faces” and “eagle claws.”
                        I thought this was relevant for the second descriptive bit - and while the Unholy's face is normal afaik, i think there's a guy embraced by her in the Chicago area that might fit the bill for the first look. Or i could be misremembering things, who knows...

                        Also of interest, Wicked Dead has the Cihuateteo as a group of blood-witches, akin to the Sons of Phobos, dedicated to Tezcatlipoca & Tlazolteotl. It has occasionally crossed my mind that one sort might become the other through spontaneous rising, for example.

                        Anyway, thought it would be fun to bring up, Shadows of Mexico doesn't get enough love nowadays...

                        There's much room for mixing up of things, i believe. Could not synthesis count as a form of Claiming? Are the strix the only beings tied in this kind of shenanigans? Check out the sparrows from Shadows of UK if you can.
                        Last edited by Baaldam; 10-03-2019, 11:49 AM.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Baaldam View Post
                          Check out the sparrows from Shadows of UK if you can.
                          Elaborate your theory please. I've looked at them before and aside from their connections with bale hounds it's hard to see how they are intended to be used.

                          ...

                          And I'd dearly like to make sparrows F*ing terrifying. I have the idea for an NPC--vamp or huntsman or whatever--who discorporates into a flock of sparrows and such. And then there is the close--so very, very close--association between sparrows and man....

                          I don't know the NPC's name, but I know his title: The Prince of Shrikes and Sparrows.

                          Help me make sparrows monstrous.

                          --Khanwulf

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Khanwulf View Post

                            Elaborate your theory please. I've looked at them before and aside from their connections with bale hounds it's hard to see how they are intended to be used.

                            ...

                            And I'd dearly like to make sparrows F*ing terrifying. I have the idea for an NPC--vamp or huntsman or whatever--who discorporates into a flock of sparrows and such. And then there is the close--so very, very close--association between sparrows and man....

                            I don't know the NPC's name, but I know his title: The Prince of Shrikes and Sparrows.

                            Help me make sparrows monstrous.

                            --Khanwulf

                            Nothing much - have ever noticed how the Strix changed in a number of ways between their debut in Requiem to Rome and contemporary materials? There's much that stayed but lots of changed details, bits of description (once only owls, but nowadays owls, ravens, vultures or other birds of ill-omen, you know), motives and much more. One might even consider the possibility of there being multiple beings under the "strix" label, much like not all "vampires" or even "kindred" are not created equal or even from a common origin. Birds of a different feather, do flock together sometimes...


                            Also, there's this fun box in one of the 1e books:

                            Originally posted by Night Horrors: Wicked Dead, pg. 120
                            The Owl, Night's Herald
                            It's worth taking a look at owls as a symbol, to understand what they - and, by proxy, what the Strix - can represent. Owls are:

                            - Ill-omens, or omens of death. Certain native peoples in India believe they foretell an individual's death.
                            Pliny the Elder believed they signal death, though not just on the personal scale.
                            In Borneo, they're seen as creatures that bring bad luck.

                            - Symbols of death. Different than "omens" of death, here it's assumed that owls are simply beasts with a sympathy toward all things dead.
                            They gather in graveyards, they haunt the trees outside a room where a person died. In Navaho myth, they're sometimes assumed to be ghosts.
                            Some myths have them as psychopomps, shuttling souls from this world to the underworld.

                            - Betrayers. In China, myth (falsely) states that owlets pluck out the eyes of their mothers with hungry beaks.

                            - Occult forces. Shamans sometimes "learn" spells from owls. Their terrible "devil bird" shrieks are said to cause madness due to an owl's sympathy with the demonic.
                            And now i ask you - how many of those symbolisms/themes do not also fit with the sparrows in the isles folklore?
                            Who's to say they have not played games of their own with the living and the dead?

                            Though these are far from specific to birds - cats, dogs, serpents or other animals, sometimes even things or events, like a distorted reflection in a broken mirror (for a link to Bloody Mary or Red Jack), a peculiarly colored or shaped moon, solar eclipse or more have been saddled with such associations. Check out the Kanaima in pages 67-71 of Skinchangers. The strix do not have to be particularly unique.

                            Also, the Beasts of Bethlehem, for something that could be represent Bale Hounds after death, a Nosferatu-specific strix surrogate. Or who knows, even both. Maybe that's what the little birds are guiding the Sparrowclaw Circle towards becoming?
                            Last edited by Baaldam; 10-06-2019, 09:11 PM.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Baaldam View Post
                              And now i ask you - how many of those symbolisms/themes do not also fit with the sparrows in the isles folklore?
                              Who's to say they have not played games of their own with the living and the dead?

                              The strix do not have to be particularly unique.
                              Bravo. I'd like to thank you for providing the perfect internet answer: cryptic, instructive, hinting at elusive avenues for definition--yet on-point and enabling.

                              There are hooks here that should enable detailing out the sparrows with enough robustness to perform chin-ups on them.

                              What if the rumored vampires of Britain lurking at the edges of society with golden eyes haven't a clue what you speak of when the "owls of dis" are brought up?

                              Thanks!

                              --Khanwulf

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