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Some questions about Sworn

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  • Some questions about Sworn

    The requirment for the Sworn merit is only a single dot of Ordo status, which makes it seem like most, if not all members of the ordo should be members of the sworn, even raw recruit neonates. Is this the case, or are the Sworn meant to be more like elite groups within the Ordo that only a few members should be allowed to become part of? Should there be additional requirements to join the Sworn, like a minimum BP, or certain skills/merits/coils/etc? Also, the drawback where the character has to spend some time every couple days doing sworn duties, I'm guessing that can't just be done during "off-screen downtime" as that would defeat the purpose of having a drawback, so how much in-game time would a character have to sacrifice to meet the requirements of the drawback? Does it make sense to have a Merit that forces a character to become unplayable for a chunk of each session? Is Sworn just yet another one of those things that's actually innapropriate for characters and is kind of meant more for npcs but isn't actually noted in any way that it's meant more for npcs?

  • #2
    In first edition, the Sworn were three different cliques within the Ordo Dracul that were charged with administrating and leading the covenant. In exchange for making their quest for ascension a secondary concern in favor of helping the Ordo Dracul as a whole they were given certain privileges based on how their activities/responsibilities done on behalf of the Ordo Dracul. The Sworn of Mysteries represented the covenant to the rest of the domain. The Sworn of the Axe were the martial defenders and secret police. The Sworn of the Dying Light managed the overall research focus and maintained their libraries and esoterica. In second edition, they are primarily concerned with individual advancement by any means necessary and deriding religion, it's really more of an unnecessary holdover.

    Since it's mentioned that appointing another Dragon into a position of leadership is often done as a punishment or a tactic to stymie their research by rivals it may or may not be appropriate for PCs in your setting. If your PCs are permitted to leverage their authority within a covenant to fuck each other over and screw over NPCs the Sworn and Twilight Judge merits may be appropriate. If your PCs are supposed to be the ones perpetually shit on by higher ranked NPCs until they finally snap and torpor or murder some kindred and hide the bodies like a proper bloodsucking sociopath, then it may not be appropriate. The time spent doing covenant specific activities (like ripping off a Sanctified church after mass or burying the Carthian jackboot thugs who humiliated a fellow Dragon at elysium in a shallow ditch) may be the session.
    Last edited by tsusasi; 12-10-2021, 12:18 AM.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by tsusasi View Post
      Since it's mentioned that appointing another Dragon into a position of leadership is often done as a punishment or a tactic to stymie their research by rivals it may or may not be appropriate for PCs in your setting. If your PCs are permitted to leverage their authority within a covenant to fuck each other over and screw over NPCs the Sworn and Twilight Judge merits may be appropriate. If your PCs are supposed to be the ones perpetually shit on by higher ranked NPCs until they finally snap and torpor or murder some kindred and hide the bodies like a proper bloodsucking sociopath, then it may not be appropriate. The time spent doing covenant specific activities (like ripping off a Sanctified church after mass or burying the Carthian jackboot thugs who humiliated a fellow Dragon at elysium in a shallow ditch) may be the session.
      You say that "it's mentioned". Is this information in a book somewhere? One of my players is interested in having his character become sworn and I'd like to have a better idea of what to do with that and how much it's actually going to screw over his character.

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      • #4
        Page 46 in Blood and Smoke mentions Dragons pushing senior members into the role of Kogaion as a punishment as the responsibilities are a distraction and can drive one insane. (The oaths do recover and monitor the use of mystical locations and objects.) The various oathsworn are detailed in the Ordo Dracul book but keep in mind it was written for first edition mechanics. The Twilight Judge merit describes the benefits of one possessing the title. Successfully being an arbiter between amoral serial killers fighting over access to a location and objects that needs to be kept secret from the general kindred population will require considerable personal power, a modicum of social skill, and/or recognized intellectual acumen.

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        • #5
          It definitely seems like Sworn should be older and more powerful with specialized skills and abilities, not raw recruit neonates. So why does the merit only have a requirement of 1 dot of status? Was that an oversight? Should the requirements be hgiher, like a minimum BP or something? I mean the wiki, which I know is 1st edition but may still be relevant, says that only elders can become Sworn. Would this still be the case in 2e, or have Sworn been changed for 2e to be more open to all members of the Ordo, even the weakest and youngest?

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Shadowdragon View Post
            It definitely seems like Sworn should be older and more powerful with specialized skills and abilities, not raw recruit neonates. So why does the merit only have a requirement of 1 dot of status?
            Because Covenant Status is not directly tied to a formal rank. A formal rank might have a requirement of a given amount of Covenant Status, but just like Clan Status doesn't directly correlate to where in your clan's extended lineage you fall, the amount of pull you have with the Ordo Dracul does not necessarily translate to age and power.

            A character with Status 1 is not a "raw recruit neonate." A character with Status 1 has minor responsibilities to their covenant, and being Sworn adds more stringent demands on top of that, which tends to be more than the average low-rung member is willing to pursue without an agenda or a fast track up the ladder. Just because you can sign up for the Sworn as soon as you've become a member in good standing doesn't mean you'll be able to keep up with the role.

            Should the requirements be hgiher, like a minimum BP or something?
            I have no idea why you would expect there to be a minimum Supernatural Potency attached to a post held by the splat that's had their Supernatural Potency able to go up and down since literally the first book of the first edition.

            Sworn characters with Status 1 get access to a one-dot Mentor or a one-dot Retainer each chapter. Look at those Merits' descriptions of their one-dot versions and ask yourself if you wouldn't rather just have Staff or Allies without having to commit firmly to the covenant's institutional matters. If you're interested in advancing the ends of the Defiant anyway and/or already command substantial respect from the covenant, you have an incentive to enmesh yourself with the network of teachers and wards it can provide you as a formal institution.

            I mean the wiki, which I know is 1st edition but may still be relevant, says that only elders can become Sworn.
            I get the distinct feeling somebody read the part about how the leaders of each group of Sworn are only answerable to Dracula himself, the bit that talks about "the elders of the Sworn" effectively ruling the covenant, and took it in a direction it obviously wasn't meant to go; the Ordo Dracul book's list of sample characters includes Sworn characters with Embrace dates of 1941, 1977, 1980, and "last year." It's a parallel set of sub-orders within the covenant that nominally skirts around the un-Sworn chain of authority, not a pure Old Leeches' Club.


            Resident Lore-Hound
            Currently Consuming: Demon: the Descent 1e

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Shadowdragon View Post
              It definitely seems like Sworn should be older and more powerful with specialized skills and abilities, not raw recruit neonates. So why does the merit only have a requirement of 1 dot of status? Was that an oversight? Should the requirements be hgiher, like a minimum BP or something? I mean the wiki, which I know is 1st edition but may still be relevant, says that only elders can become Sworn. Would this still be the case in 2e, or have Sworn been changed for 2e to be more open to all members of the Ordo, even the weakest and youngest?
              No, that was not the case in first edition. Each faction of the Sworn had different requirements of entry. The Mysteries had to be elected into Mysteries without a single No vote from anyone in the covenant. The ability to be so well liked or at least sufficiently inoffensive as to not piss off a single Dragon or have them too afraid of you to vote no is not likely something a just embraced last last night neonate is going to do but is possible. The Sworn of the Axe requires a candidate to be nominated by another Axe Sworn and demonstrably put their life on the line to defend the covenant and/or its members and/or property. That is something a recent embrace could do "in theory" but in practice the individual was already likely being groomed for the role prior to embrace. Possibly even turned expressly for the job. The Dying Light requires one to submit a well written research paper outlining a previously unknown or little known technique or erudite subject that could be useful to their transcendence quest, or find or retrieve a relic or locus of value to the chapter house. Possible for a just embraced neonate but they are likely to have been groomed for the position prior to embrace to the point where they may have been a "controlled" Masquerade breach. Possibly due to their research or habits as a mortal. Or in the case of one of my characters, having already been previously established in kindred society.

              A player could theoretically build a starting character that could qualify but they would be hyperspecialized and deficient in other skills that may make their unlives easier.

              In the settings I run or played in joining any covenant's subfactions are not features immediately available to starting characters. With the Ordo Dracul it's virtually impossible to gain entry into one or more oaths due to individualized setting practices as NPCs or PCs who became previously established often gatekeep to preserve their hegemony. Role-playing around those obstacles proves you're interested and capable of handling the responsibilities as opposed to simply using the Sworn appellation to tell covenant rank 3-4 individuals to fuck off without repercussion.
              Last edited by tsusasi; 12-11-2021, 10:36 AM.

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