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  • Seven Times Seven is Still Seven

    So one of my favorite VII theories always was that VII is not a single organization- instead, it is a moniker used by a number of vampire covenants which have some interest in killing vampires, for their own reasons. Each such covenant has its own agenda and ideals, and some of them are even semi-recognized by the All Night Society- it is just that connecting them to the mysterious VII hasn't occurred, other then to the most paranoid vampires.

    The twist (and of course that there is a twist) that there is actually a VII- the Betrayed. The seven houses of the dead which still chase after the Kindred with passion born from the fury of vengeful ghosts. The Seven, however, are seven organizations which either use VII as a cover up for their actions, or which are simply mistaken as VII by outsiders. I do not assume that there is a shadowy "Conspiracy of the Seven" where the seven leaders of the seven covenants meet in the shadows of the night and exchange pleasantries (well, it MIGHT be, but not even the major covenants have that level of communication between them), so any such covenants is actually independent from the others. Some of them may not believe in VII. Some of them may blame the others for being VII. Some of them may even think they ARE VII- and to some level, that is correct. VII is simply the nickname the Kindred give to any strange covenant of vampires which kill their own kin. Anyone can be VII- just make sure to cover for your traces, and leave the right marks behind.

    That is, until the true VII comes, and then everything goes down to hell.

    Anyway, where my mind is blocked is about which exact candidates are there for being the Seven. Two such covenants which I have more or less settled on are the Iltani (which I have reworked into a form of a covenant instead of a bloodline, and are basically a secret assassin brotherhood which kills for profit and faith) and the Blood of Ahran (a variation of the Akhud's version of VII, which is independent from the Clan and is more focused on being the "judges of the Dead" which seek out demons with the demon which is coiled around their hearts). I would also want some reworked version of the Cult of Augurs, as it plays with the whole idea that VII are connected to the Julli (or JVLII)- I thought of connecting them to the modern Kataramenon. Sure, Greece is not Italy, but their faith sits really well with that of the Augurs in some concepts, and I can see them as "plague bearers and seers" with reasons for hunting other vampires.

    Now, that's three- but on others I'm a bit stuck on. I have considered the Tenth Choir (what is the big difference between Ten and Seven, after all?), especially since they seem to have some connections to the God Machine (which one of the story hooks for VII in the 2e Core talked about a God Machine cult of some kind), so that's a possibility, even though we would have to wait for Dark Eras 2 to know better. The Gallows Post could also be an interesting possibility to explore, with their fixation with controlling the roads between Domains and such. Speaking of the Gallows Post, as they are a reincarnation of the Legio Mortem, perhaps a different organization based around the Legion would do a better job as being one of the Seven? Or maybe the Peregrine Collega, as those assassins and criminals are already half way there. If we consider Broken Covenants, the Weihan Cynn may also be included, yet while I adore those dead monsters they don't feel really "VII" to me... Perhaps an iteration of some Egyptian Vampire Cult? the Mithraic Mysteries? And of course, we need at least one such group which would be focused around hunting the strix and such- as the connection between VII and the Owls have been suggested a number of times in the core..

    So, any suggestion for the other four covenants which could work as part of the Seven?


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  • #2
    Surely at least one of the false-flag VII operations is simply internal to one of the larger organized covenants? The Invictus's real Conspiracy of Silence, using a known bogeyman as cover to pursue political grudges and eliminate inconveniences to doing business? The Mother's Army done Danse Macabre style, a sinister igigi cult within the Circle?

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    • #3
      I have three directions you might want to consider:

      You appear to have dismissed Sleepers from the VII sourcebook as an option. Is there a reason they don't meet your requirements and is it possible to modify them to your liking?

      Ancient Mysteries have the Edimmu. They're not a Covenant, but they're a plague of possessing Spirits that spread by encouraging Diablerie of their hosts. An affected Vampire is puppeteered by seven cooperating Spirits. Should his soul ever be consumed, the Diablerists soul is torn apart and seven teams of Spirits, seven members each, fly off in search of new hosts. While they wouldn't advertise themselves as the VII, panicked victims might leave messages on the walls to warn others of their coming.

      Finally, if you're not adverse to crossover, the Tremere from Mage are pretty hostile towards Vampires, and their metaphysics center on the idea of a Seventh Watchtower.



      ~

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Teatime View Post
        I have three directions you might want to consider:

        You appear to have dismissed Sleepers from the VII sourcebook as an option. Is there a reason they don't meet your requirements and is it possible to modify them to your liking?
        I don't know, the whole "brainwashed sleeper agent vampires" kind of thing was just not interesting for me. Not exactly what I am looking for as a semi-legal covenant which is not outright hidden from the All Night Society, and I just always found them as boring. Perhaps mixing some of their concepts with the Brethren of 1000 Faces from Danse Macabre could have some potential.

        Ancient Mysteries have the Edimmu. They're not a Covenant, but they're a plague of possessing Spirits that spread by encouraging Diablerie of their hosts. An affected Vampire is puppeteered by seven cooperating Spirits. Should his soul ever be consumed, the Diablerists soul is torn apart and seven teams of Spirits, seven members each, fly off in search of new hosts. While they wouldn't advertise themselves as the VII, panicked victims might leave messages on the walls to warn others of their coming.
        The Edimmu are totally a thing for my Seven- they are connected to my version of my Iltani, the product of Merges Sorcery which the Vipers can use and which they sometimes summon out of pure spite. I have made a draft for both them and the Iltani, which I need to finish one day.

        Finally, if you're not adverse to crossover, the Tremere from Mage are pretty hostile towards Vampires, and their metaphysics center on the idea of a Seventh Watchtower.
        While I have considered it, in the end I prefer my Seven to be made out of vampires, instead of mages- as parasitic as they may be. Perhaps some covenant which have rediscovered the secrets of Breath Drinking with some extra mysticism could proof itself interesting.


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        • #5
          If you wanted to connect VII to the Legio Mortem you could handwave something regarding Legio VII Claudia, which was instrumental in establishing the Empire under Caesar. As far as I know from only brief research it was still in existence circa 400+.

          You could, if you wished, say there was a cadre of Mortem enforcers drawn from the most loyal and ruthless adherents of VII Claudia in the aftermath of the Republic's demise, who formed an agency answering to the highest echelons of the Senex and enacted their bloody will in far-flung corners of the empire. To Kindred, when VII showed up it meant their own were marked for death.

          Just a thought.

          --Khanwulf

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          • #6
            In 'A Thousand Years of Night', a scenario is given mentioning the Seven Lucky Gods hunting the vampires of Kyoto.

            The Sleepers (of 1E's VII covenant-book) are too disjointed to be a false-flag, but would be an interesting spanner in the conspiracy's works: something that uses their iconography but totally out of their control.

            Also, there was a Hunter supplement (I forget which one) that mentioned when a particular unnamed hunter group cleared out a vampire nest, they marked the site with VII (Vampire Infestation Inoculated).
            Last edited by shkspr1048; 02-06-2020, 12:07 AM.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by shkspr1048 View Post
              Also, there was a Hunter supplement (I forget which one) that mentioned when a particular unnamed hunter group cleared out a vampire nest, they marked the site with VII (Vampire Infestation Inoculated).
              They really sound as now Contagion Faction called The Crucible Initiative - 'scientific cleaners' cross-monsters & hunters faction. More to read on them in Contagion Chronicle book.


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              • #8
                Do not fight too much, curious stranger. We promised an answer to your questions, and this is the best one you're going to get, so be patient, and be understanding.

                You have looked for us all your unlife, and you have followed your questions here, to exactly where you are. A corpse pretending to be a man hollowed out your life, and you spent every waking minute since trying to impress other corpses pretending to be stronger men. That's going to change.

                Stop struggling.

                And how many lives have you hollowed out to that end? How much blood have you taken for this purpose? Each human life, but a single one, but each one of you, a hundred lives from a hundred pints.

                You, more than a hundred, apparently.

                You have not been responsible with those lives. You take the blood, you burn the blood. Take blood, burn blood. You know there's power in blood, but you don't know how to access it, so you use it as fuel for parlor tricks. Like someone told you that you could get illumination from a book, and you're proud you thought to set it on fire to enjoy the light.

                Disgusting. Your shame is appropriate.

                The power is not in the burning. Blood is not fuel, blood is the life. We taste the revelry and pain of every life we take, and in errant children like you, we taste all the lives you have indelicately tasted. They're ours now. Yours too, soon. The Blood is the Life, and we each live a thousand lives concurrently. There is no comparison, there is no equal, there is nothing in human experience or possibility that is inaccessible to us. In older times, in older countries, we were "VII," we were "ALIVE."

                ...

                Have you settled in? Good. Welcome. Don't panic, your corpse just stopped pretending. You're with us now, and together we're going to really, truly, live.



                I've toyed with the thought that VII were vampires who consumed memories and personalities through blood, and by draining other vampires, they could access the memories and personalities of all the blood they've ever taken, too. Each VII is an amalgamate personality of all the blood they have ever tasted, that single-mindedly tries to acquire more Life. Dracula's "The Blood is the Life," you know. And it certainly helps that "vii" literally means "alive" in Romanian. :P
                Last edited by Kvark; 02-22-2020, 12:09 AM.


                My ideas are bad and I should feel bad.

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                • #9
                  Maybe it's just in my head, but weren't there some hints of connection between the Mikhaili/Amari from Spilled Blood and the Betrayed?

                  - But speaking of the Betrayed as given in VII, what if the ghosts guiding them were something between the angry Ba of Hollow Mekhet or Jiang Shi (if Wicked Dead or Danse Macabre flavors, it's up to you), bloodthristy ghosts making anchors of other undead to get revenge on their original corpses, whom they feel betrayed by for abandoning/ignoring/exorcising them?
                  - What if Red Jack (from Mythologies) and Blood Mary (Mythologies & Danse Macabre) were some of these ghostly guides and the Children of Thorns one of these elusive factions, each initiate a new handpicked anchor, extending their range further across the world?
                  Last edited by Baaldam; 03-04-2020, 10:54 AM.

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                  • #10
                    Now, gonna try to make suggestions or give a little spin to unfinished candidates.

                    Originally posted by LostLight View Post
                    The Gallows Post could also be an interesting possibility to explore, with their fixation with controlling the roads between Domains and such. Speaking of the Gallows Post, as they are a reincarnation of the Legio Mortem, perhaps a different organization based around the Legion would do a better job as being one of the Seven?
                    Speaking of Gallows.... how about these boys & gals? You don't get more directly "vampires who want all vampires destroyed, even themselves" than those.
                    Reskin them as a covenant/cult, not of one clan, but many, desperate individuals made kindred not by embrace but by spontaneous rising of miserable kindred slaves that sought escape & freedom from the debasement of vinculum &/or ghouling through suicide only to find a return into undead misery at the other side of the shackle. They could be kindred mediums, contacted by the vengeful ghosts, in their only sleepless rest betwen death and undeath.

                    Originally posted by LostLight View Post
                    Perhaps an iteration of some Egyptian Vampire Cult?
                    Well, in my own games i toyed with the Usiri and Alucinor being neither Mekhet nor Nosferatu but branches of some older forgotten clan closer to Hollows or Wicked Dead than modern kindred. A strange brood of beings that delved and dealt into dreams, sleep, torpor and strange esoteric secrets accessed in places, inside unded heads or strange crossroads of the world, where the gates of death and dream cross, mix and confuse themselves in a hedge of wonders & horrors and rivers of the dead and astral springs mingle in wicked ways.

                    Originally posted by LostLight View Post
                    the Mithraic Mysteries?
                    Don't know, but considering the historic mithraic mysteries strong ties with the roman legion, i can definitely see them merging with the Legio Mortuum at point in the late empire - and maybe going rogue after the empire officially turns christian.

                    Originally posted by LostLight View Post
                    And of course, we need at least one such group which would be focused around hunting the strix and such- as the connection between VII and the Owls have been suggested a number of times in the core.
                    Not strix hunters per se, quite the contrary in fact, but i remember seeing somewhere a hunter compact called Aves Minerva.

                    I'm thinking that something dedicated to exorcism/putting ghosts to rest could add a nice ironic spin to it, i guess. Nothing definite on mind either.
                    Possibly because i'm far more accostumed to using things akin to the strix but not quite, rather than the Birds themselves.

                    Originally posted by LostLight View Post
                    So, any suggestion for the other four covenants which could work as part of the Seven?
                    Well, about the Augurs-related group, it has crossed my mind that having roots in the society originally created and maintained by the Julii, they might dislike the Birds as much or more than the kindred.

                    Wait, wait, wait - augurs, haruspex..... liver-eaters.

                    Some weird magics mixing elements of Auspex, bloodbathers (from Immortals), heart-stealing (of the Sons of Phobos from Blood Sorcery) and original bits on Mythologies on liver-eating could work as a debased form Veneficia perhaps. Maybe with some ritual roasting of strix-possessed (that can't escape if engulfed on fire) and consumption of the remains for extraction of their knowledge and powers. Now that could be deliciously nasty, i guess...
                    Last edited by Baaldam; 09-27-2020, 06:11 PM.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Baaldam View Post
                      Maybe it's just in my head, but weren't there some hints of connection between the Mikhaili/Amari from Spilled Blood and the Betrayed?
                      Yeah, I think I have made a thread about it once upon a midnight darkly :P

                      - What if Red Jack (from Mythologies) and Blood Mary (Mythologies & Danse Macabre) were some of these ghostly guides and the Children of Thorns one of these elusive factions, each initiate a new handpicked anchor, extending their range further across the world?
                      That's an option to consider- but saying the trith, the Children of Thorns have never really excited me

                      Speaking of Gallows.... how about these boys & gals? You don't get more directly "vampires who want all vampires destroyed, even themselves" than those.
                      Reskin them as a covenant/cult, not of one clan, but many, desperate individuals made kindred not by embrace but by spontaneous rising of miserable kindred slaves that sought escape & freedom from the debasement of vinculum &/or ghouling through suicide only to find a return into undead misery at the other side of the shackle. They could be kindred mediums, contacted by the vengeful ghosts, in their only sleepless rest betwen death and undeath.
                      Well, such a suicide cult could work, even though I am not sure how do you mention that they should connect to the Gallows Post?

                      [QUOTE[]Well, in my own games i toyed with the Usiri and Alucinor being neither Mekhet nor Nosferatu but branches of some older forgotten clan closer to Hollows or Wicked Dead than modern kindred. A strange brood of beings that delved and dealt into dreams, sleep, torpor and strange esoteric secrets accessed in places, inside unded heads or strange crossroads of the world, where the gates of death and dream cross, mix and confuse themselves in a hedge of wonders & horrors and rivers of the dead and astral springs mingle in wicked ways.[/QUOTE]
                      That sounds like a cool idea, but I personally try to step away from making VII into a "secret clan" or bloodline and more into actual covenants.

                      Don't know, but considering the historic mithraic mysteries strong ties with the roman legion, i can definitely see them merging with the Legio Mortuum at point in the late empire - aand maybe going rogue after the empire officially turns christian.
                      Oh, the Mysteries are still around. See Mythologies for more details about them

                      Not strix hunters per se, quite the contrary in fact, but i remember seeing somewhere a hunter compact called Aves Minerva.

                      I'm thinking that something dedicated to exorcism/putting ghosts to rest could add a nice ironic spin to it, i guess. Nothing definite on mind either.
                      Possibly because i'm far more accostumed to using things akin to the strix but not than the Birds themselves.
                      After Spilled Blood, I must say I think that the Ankou seems to be what I was looking for from that angle- I just need to resking them into a covenant, and perhaps meld them with the Harbingers.

                      Well, about the Augurs-related group, it has crossed my mind that having roots in the society originally created and maintained by the Julii, they might be dislike the Birds as much or more than the kindred.

                      Wait, wait, wait - augurs, haruspex..... liver-eaters.

                      Some weird magics mixing elements of Auspex, bloodbathers (from Immortals), heart-stealing (of the Sons of Phobos from Blood Sorcery) and original bits on Mythologies on liver-eating could work as a debased form Veneficia perhaps. Maybe with some ritual roasting of strix-possessed (that can't escape if engulfed on fire) and consumption of the remains for extraction of their knowledge and powers. Now that could be deliciously nasty, i guess...
                      Liver eating as being a practice of the Cult of Augurs does sound like a really cool idea. As for a modern adaption of the Cult, I already have an head canon which relates them to the Kataramenon of Greece


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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by LostLight View Post
                        That's an option to consider- but saying the truth, the Children of Thorns have never really excited me
                        Truth be told, in my own games they were far more relevant as one of many followers/pawns wielded in the ages old ephemeral conflict between Blood Mary, Llorona, Sightless Mother and to a lesser degree, Red Jack & the Mnemosyne, than for themselves.

                        That said, reskinning Ars Speculorum from Mythologies as a series of Obsfuscate-related devotions & merits and connecting with the Hollow - with Jack himself as a Hollow that in teaching its "art", consumed the Ba/reflection of every kindred he taught it, making that person into an aditional anchor, was loads of fun.

                        Or connecting La Llorona with the Cihuateteo (both versions) and the Kanaima (from Skinchangers) among other stuff, that lead into many entertaining places as well.


                        Originally posted by LostLight View Post
                        Well, such a suicide cult could work, even though I am not sure how do you mention that they should connect to the Gallows Post?
                        Well, as pointed out in this particular post, gallows and crosssroads have strong associations executions, sacrifice, suicide and dead arising, all elements that fit nicely with suicide kings & queens. Coincidence that a covenant about communication and spreading messages would take the kind of place where such particular kindred are almost certain to spring forth upon (and consequently gather) as their symbol/title? I think not.

                        Ah, know what else is frequently associated with growing near gallows? Mandrakes or mandragora....

                        Originally posted by LostLight View Post
                        Well, in my own games i toyed with the Usiri and Alucinor being neither Mekhet nor Nosferatu but branches of some older forgotten clan closer to Hollows or Wicked Dead than modern kindred. A strange brood of beings that delved and dealt into dreams, sleep, torpor and strange esoteric secrets accessed in places, inside unded heads or strange crossroads of the world, where the gates of death and dream cross, mix and confuse themselves in a hedge of wonders & horrors and rivers of the dead and astral springs mingle in wicked ways.
                        That sounds like a cool idea, but I personally try to step away from making VII into a "secret clan" or bloodline and more into actual covenants.
                        Then make into a covenant or blood cult - i used the "fallen clan" hint in my games, but also never used any of the "lost clans" in the books except for some citations to the Julii. No reason they could not work as a reformed version of a "Dream Circle" from egyptian times instead, possibly with some Libitinarius that delved really deep into the mystery of whatever egyptian magic changed them. Something delving in a deep well connecting "The Sleep of Reason", "Understanding the Fog of Eternity" and "The Second Death" (all from mythologies), so to speak.


                        Originally posted by LostLight View Post
                        Oh, the Mysteries are still around. See Mythologies for more details about them
                        Oh, i'm very much aware of the material from Mythologies on them. My point is more "if there's a group of beings with a strong historical basis to merge with the Legio Mortum into something else, it's the Mithraic Mysteries" actually.


                        Originally posted by LostLight View Post
                        After Spilled Blood, I must say I think that the Ankou seems to be what I was looking for from that angle- I just need to resking them into a covenant, and perhaps meld them with the Harbingers.
                        Not really familiar with either group to comment on them. Have also considered using some variant on the Sta-Au, with a "worms don't like birds" sort of folkloric semi-excuse and maybe the Land of Worms as the Strix mysterious "lost" nameless home.


                        Originally posted by LostLight View Post
                        Liver eating as being a practice of the Cult of Augurs does sound like a really cool idea. As for a modern adaptation of the Cult, I already have a head canon which relates them to the Kataramenon of Greece
                        Oh, it took me sometime to remember those ones. Could work for certain as augurs and haruspex were far from roman-specific tradition, quite the opposite in fact. But liver eating is definitely a interesting springboard from which to take the Augurs in directions more peculiar.

                        Damn, there's a thing in my head that i can kind of remember but not really find a reference to, something about a mad scientst type kindred that found some sort of gland or organ that it connected to vampirism or an undead's soul. That might be an interessting bit to mix up in the equation I thought it might be from Heinrich Haldane in Immortal Sinners but no luck with actually finding the damn fragment. If someone remembers reading of something along those lines - and where - i would very much appreciate the help.
                        Last edited by Baaldam; 10-03-2020, 04:03 AM.

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                        • #13
                          Had my first look into the Ankou just today, nice guys. My suggestion?

                          Mix the 3 possible bloodline origins (one that does cite an obscure covenant made by the founder) into a single covenant origin tale.

                          For a little extra on why they have such hangups about the embrace and ghouling, maybe they recruit from spontaneously risen kindred, possibly ghouls or blood magic sacrifices victims turned vampires.

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