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Followers of Set as Covenant

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  • Followers of Set as Covenant

    I never actually liked the "Followers of Set are bloodline" angle, or their new focus on chaos. Because Followers of Set are my favorite thing from the VtM, I decided to try and bring them as a whole to the VtR. Take a look.

    You want to join the Followers of Set because: You want to engage in exotic and perverted pleasures they offer you. You want to explore your limits and break through them. You want to watch the society of blood-sucking parasites to burn around them - while you selling gasoline for them. You are afraid of your inner darkness - and wish to conquer it.

    The big picture: There is power to be found in darkness. It can be found beyond fear, beyond morality, beyond human limits. Once you find it, it will set you free; it will remove invisible chains from you and open your eyes to great and horrible, hidden truths of this world. Once upon a time, vampire found it. He could enjoy his newfound freedom on his own, washing his hands on this world, yet he did not. He returned to spread his word and show the path to the rest of the humanity. And so the Followers of Set were born.

    When other vampires hear about Followers of Set, they hear about vast, hidden conspiracy of sin, rivaling or even dwarfing other covenants. In practice, Followers of Set are loosely connected network of cults worshipping Dark God in many different ways. Most of them use their vampiric powers and earthly knowledge to become important, but hidden part of local society, ensuring their survival by become both too indispensable and too dangerous to assault directly. Followers of Set build cults and temples and seek mystical knowledge, all while looking for the way to break chains upon human souls.

    How do they do it? Followers of Set believe in Revelations of the Void - lessons about illusory and binding nature of the world. The world is but a prison, built and maintained by many-masked Aeons, who wish to hide the truth about universe and humanity - that every person can attain godhood. To defeat them, they must show the truth and penetrate the illusion. They do it by temptation and corruption, forcing people and vampires to face their inner truths, breaking them if needed - breaking their chains. Of course, many Followers do not follow their own doctrine, enjoying material and spiritual power their methods bring to them without caring about enlightenment of people they manipulate.

    Where we came from: Followers of Set claim to be the oldest covenant in existence - and oldest religion as well. The truth is hidden in fog of ages. It is true that Settite symbolism and hidden messages can be found inside ancient Egyptian pyramids and tombs, but does that imply that Followers are as ancient as they claim to be - or did they just take over religion built by someone else, as they always do? It is true that there are ancient elders who do worship Set as their god and creator. But why do they fear and hate each other then?

    Even so, Followers of Set are as ancient as Camarilla itself, if not more. The ancient texts, transcripts of Camarilla meetings at their peak of power, mention troubles in Egypt province and inability of Legion Mortis to truly conquer the region and decimate local “snake-worshipping cults”. Followers of Set claim possession of many artifacts and places of power in Egypt - too many for young covenant to acquire and hold without true power given by the age.

    At the same time, Followers of Set are always young. The covenant thrives on adversity, forever fracturing into hundreds and thousands of cults worshipping the Dark God. The religious trappings change from region to region, but core credo is always there - the truth about souls of mortals and Kindred alike. Those cults are always persecuted and hunted, but such is the life of service to the Set. The weak will be purged and forgotten; the strong will persist, and in their service, find the Dark God.

    Our practices: Wherever we find ourselves, we fight the Aeons. Representations of cosmic law binding humans in chains of customs, traditions and morality, Aeons deny people their true nature by weaving Ma'at and entangling them in the material world. The chains are heavy, their black iron is strong, and our work is hard.

    So we break the chains. We worm ourselves into societies of both humans and Kindred and slowly destroy both societies and individuals from the inside. They think we are corrupting them, but we are transforming them, shattering their preconceptions and breaking their illusions about the world and about themselves.

    To do that, we find local structures of power and infiltrate them. We learn hidden desires, aspirations and temptations. We share the knowledge between ourselves and build our own cults, to feed and hide ourselves. We seek worthy to show them to truth of Set - and it doesn’t matter if they still breathe or not. Sometimes, even the living see the truth and obtain great and terrible powers. When this happens, we know that our work is successful.

    Of course, to show the truth, we must first know it ourselves. And we seek the truth - in the world and inside our own souls. Followers of Set hoard mystical knowledge, explore strange spheres outside of material world and interview weird creatures who share the night with us. We even deal with living darkness who lies, proclaimining to be our progenitor. The quest for stolen divinity is hard, but our faith supports us. In the end, we all will join our Dark God.

    Clans:
    Mekhet are the soul of covenant; many of them tie the clan genesis to the Dark God itself, proclaming themselves his first and greatest children. It's true that their talents are uniquely suited for the Followers; in the covenant which bases itself on finding the hidden truths, Mekhet are bound to be successful. Unfortunately, many of them forget to act on their knowledge to break Ma'at.
    Daeva are the heart of covenant. It's them who break the chains of law and responsibility on people, forcing them to indulge in their darkest desires and face the truths about themselves. But Daeva are prone to losing themselves to their sensual natures are well, forgetting about what set them on their path. They help to teach others, but rarely are wise themselves.
    Gangel hold some natural connection to truths of Dark God, or so many Followers think. Shedding chains of Ma'at come easy to them; but next steps often require restraint and self-control many Savages do not possess in abundance. If they do find way to Dark God, they inevitably rise high the hierarchy, but it doesn't occur often.
    Nosferatu are easy pickings for Followers; many of them come naturally to beliefs and practices which reflect many those of Followers. It's not easy for them to tempt, but easier to observe and natural to shatter minds and chains with fear, which could offer a path to the Dark God as well.
    Ventrue are easily subverted, easily manipulated and ultimately, easily broken once their facade of superiority is ripped off them. What is hard is to rebuild them from pieces which result and merge them back to serve the glory of Dark God. Once it's done, the results can be terrifying, but most of recruits never pass the tests. Many of older Followers still hold a grudge against their forebearers, Julii, so not every Ventrue has a fair chance.

    Nicknames: Serpents, Vipers, Tempters.

    When we are in power: We rarely find ourselves in power outside of our homeland, Kemet. But when we do, everyone always thinks it’s someone else who holds the reigns of power - while we move in darkness, listen and manipulate our marionettes by pulling their strings of desire. The society around us crumbles, having only the appearence of sanity and law holding it together. This illusion hides us, giving us free reign to tempt people and shatter their illusions, finding the worthy recruits to join our ranks.

    When we are in trouble: Being hunted down and persecuted is not something new to us. It makes us stronger, forcing us to adapt, change our doctrines and find new ways to serve Dark God. We prefer to avoid open conflict, which rarely favors us, and instead force opponents to play on our own field - field of human and Kindred desires. When we know what do you want, it’s only a matter of time before we crush you with your own weakness. When we know what do you value, it’s only a matter of time before we find a way to take it away. All hierarchies contain the seeds of their own destruction. Only individual can be powerful, but we will know what to propose to you.

    Stereotypes:
    Carthians: Ah, to be young and faithful again! If only we could temper such energy with knowledge and direction without losing it!
    Invictus: Breaking Ma'at with hands of it's servants only to betray them in the end - what could be better?
    Lancea et Sanctum: So close to the truth and yet so far from it.
    Circle of Crone: Your Dark Mother could be Set in disguise. You could be our smaller brothers. Time will tell if you are able to achieve true wisdom.
    Ordo Dracul: Such waste of potential, looking for ascension in all the wrong places.
    VII: Oh, we have a good idea what they could be. But we are not willing to risk ourselves to prove it - better for others, less enlightened, fall to their machinations.
    Werewolves: Their hunt is important, even if you can't understand it. Do not disrupt it without dire need.
    Mages: Some of them know of Aeons and fight them - as we do. Some of them serve them by their own will. Avoid both - our work is best done alone.
    Mortals: Slaves and servants, within and without. Yet every one of them holds the key to their own greatness. One day, we will set all of them free.
    Last edited by Dark Archon; 06-22-2021, 04:49 AM.

  • #2
    How are they related to the being known as Sutekh (which I, admittedly, don’t know ‘that’ much about myself) in the broader CofD-verse?


    MtAw Homebrew:
    Even more Legacies, updated to 2E
    New 2E Legacies, expanded

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    • #3
      Originally posted by 21C Hermit View Post
      How are they related to the being known as Sutekh (which I, admittedly, don’t know ‘that’ much about myself) in the broader CofD-verse?
      Never heard of it, where I can read about it?

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      • #4
        The Nameless Serpent is a key part of Mummy lore, and IIRC the Aeon of Fate used to be Sutekh too. There are hints that the two are same beings, including the Medraut/Mordred ie. the current Aeon of Fate. Yes, the timelines and identity stuff are babbling. Such is how the gods work.

        Buuut the deeper parts of Mummy lore is where I fail… someone else could tell you more about them.


        EDIT: Back to Vampire, and the meatier parts of the covenant; how would Serpentis be modeled? As a Ritual Discipline like Theban Sorcery/Cruac? A series of unique Devotions similar to how V5 does it as Protean Amalgams? Or something like the Coils/Scales of the Dragon?
        Last edited by 21C Hermit; 06-22-2021, 04:40 AM.


        MtAw Homebrew:
        Even more Legacies, updated to 2E
        New 2E Legacies, expanded

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by 21C Hermit View Post
          The Nameless Serpent is a key part of Mummy lore, and IIRC the Aeon of Fate used to be Sutekh too. There are hints that the two are same beings, including the Medraut/Mordred ie. the current Aeon of Fate. Yes, the timelines and identity stuff are babbling. Such is how the gods work.

          Buuut the deeper parts of Mummy lore is where I fail… someone else could tell you more about them.
          Well, I am not that well versed in Mummy lore to be able to tie it to Vampire lore. As for Sutekh, Aeon of Fate - he could be secret founder of Followers, using them to force the way of Fate as he sees fit (very possible, given that he "is not bound to the end of worlds like the others"). Or he can be the shadow left by Ascension of real founder of Followers. Given that their doctrine pretty correctly describes hidden truth of the Awakening gameline (which is part of their newfound appeal to me!), and fact that successful Revelations of the Void could very well end in Awakenings, I expect some Mage interference in their true origins - which are determined by ST, as always.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by 21C Hermit View Post
            EDIT: Back to Vampire, and the meatier parts of the covenant; how would Serpentis be modeled? As a Ritual Discipline like Theban Sorcery/Cruac? A series of unique Devotions similar to how V5 does it as Protean Amalgams? Or something like the Coils/Scales of the Dragon?
            I think that mechanically, Followers of Set should get their own variant of Blood Sorcery; perhaps one could be built with Rites of Damnation. You can "envelop" spiritual development attained by Revelations of Void into it; Followers of Set do get the gnosis they are talking about, and it's similar to the Gnosis of mages, but not equal and ultimately powered by the Blood. It should concentrate on sensory and revealing powers; Followers of Set can really see you through, even to the greater extent that Auspex already allows. Alternatively (in another path?) it should concentrate on seduction, temptation and suggesting; not direct mind control like Dominate or Presence (though I'd imagine many Followers learn Presence), but making certain actions and things irresistable on their own. Ritual parts of Serpentis would included in this variant of Blood Sorcery; for example, Heart of the Darkness just screams "blood magic!" to me. The shapeshifting parts of Serpentis are unique Protean Devotions; given that Followers of Set are pretty tight crew by necessity, I'd imagine many of them can learn Protean just by having their Gangrel share it with them.

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            • #7
              Worldbuilding for Mummy: the Curse is particularly relevant for Setites, even beyond its connection to Egypt. This is because it contains another set (heh) of potential Aeons, in the form of Judges of Duat and casts Set as a God of Free Will. At the same time, it frames Osiris as a son of Set, rather than his brother, which Setites would find both amusing and baffling. Here's a tongue-in-cheek summary of the setting:

              LINK

              That aside, I was recently pondering how a meeting between cWoD and CofD Setites would go. If the two factions were to fuse, I assume oWoD Setites would gladly perform the rituals to adopt their counterparts into their Clan. Which brings me to this idea: Would it fit your vision to create a cross-Clan Bloodline with Protean as the extra Discipline (Majesty for Gangrel)?


              ~

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Teatime View Post
                Worldbuilding for Mummy: the Curse is particularly relevant for Setites, even beyond its connection to Egypt. This is because it contains another set (heh) of potential Aeons, in the form of Judges of Duat and casts Set as a God of Free Will. At the same time, it frames Osiris as a son of Set, rather than his brother, which Setites would find both amusing and baffling.
                I don't doubt there is value in linking Followers as covenant to MtC, I just don't want to dig into MtC lore to do that. I find MtC lore too heavy and puzzling for me to have taste for it.

                Originally posted by Teatime View Post
                That aside, I was recently pondering how a meeting between cWoD and CofD Setites would go. If the two factions were to fuse, I assume oWoD Setites would gladly perform the rituals to adopt their counterparts into their Clan. Which brings me to this idea: Would it fit your vision to create a cross-Clan Bloodline with Protean as the extra Discipline (Majesty for Gangrel)?
                Well, my intention is to make them so alike that they won't ever recognise the differences between each other. That being said, I am not against cross-Clan bloodline hidden within the Clan, as long as it doesn't devour Teophidic doctrine as main "what are they about", so to speak. There is a reason I see Followers as a religion/covenant first.

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                • #9
                  This makes sense on both counts.


                  ~

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                  • #10
                    Have you read the Egypt parts of the Ancient Mysteries/Ancient Bloodlines duology? It seems to me that you have as the Followers of Set are said to come from the Great Covenant before their defeat against the Camarilla, but you write about the Followers of Set as if they were the Great Covenant and I'm unsure whether or not it's just because the text is from an in-character POV.

                    From a Mummy perspective, I think it would actually make more sense to not have the Followers of Set be directly involved with the Judges of Duat. Information about them and the Nameless Empire is extremely sparse for non-Arisen, surviving mostly as distorted legends that gave rise to the later ancient Egyptian religion. No need to delve deep into MtC lore unless you wish to make the Followers of Set a full blown crossover thing, which is obviously not your intention.


                    Bloodline: The Stygians
                    Ordo Dracul Mysteries: Mystery of Smoke, Revised Mystery of Živa
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Tessie View Post
                      Have you read the Egypt parts of the Ancient Mysteries/Ancient Bloodlines duology? It seems to me that you have as the Followers of Set are said to come from the Great Covenant before their defeat against the Camarilla, but you write about the Followers of Set as if they were the Great Covenant and I'm unsure whether or not it's just because the text is from an in-character POV.
                      Just read them. I don't think that Followers of Set as I see them in this homebrew were part of Great Covenant; most likely they were descendants of Cult of Set, which were presumed to be destroyed by slaves of Aeons (as they would surely see Bak-Ra), but actually just perfected their ability to hide in shadows. They would survive the Camarilla in the same way - never directly engaging the enemy, always corrupting and subverting their way through their systems.

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                      • #12
                        I feel if something is gonna be a Vampire Covenant it would be best served by a focus on Vampire themes. The idea of an ancient group having an outsider's perspective and a long view on humanity that causes them to perceive systems that control and restrict and promoting a kind of dark liberalism, encompassed in a rebellion against the convention of Ma'at, that seems more than viable enough on its own without requiring coded references to Mage: the Awakening.


                        I have approximate knowledge of many things.
                        Write up as I play Xenoblade Chronicles.

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