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Making Muslim-based and Jewish-based vampire Covenants

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  • Making Muslim-based and Jewish-based vampire Covenants

    So, this has come up several times. A number of people want to see a muslim-based covenant for a number of reasons. And, despite no real calls for it, there should be consideration for jewish faith as well - jews aren't christian-lite, and we should not treat them as such.

    So, I'm going to write out an outline for the two, and people who are interested in creating these homebrew covenants can suggest adding things in. The Iblic Creed / Benu Shaitan an Dammitic creed were written with the eye to become Lancea Creeds, so don't feel constrained by that. Lets hear all ideas.

    EDIT - names are merely placeholders, so feel free to make suggestions to change those as well.
    Last edited by MCN; 04-23-2016, 07:37 AM.

  • #2
    Ibn-Shaitan
    The Fivefold Pillars

    Fiction blurb

    You want to join the covenant because:

    The Big Picture:

    Where we came from:

    Our Practices

    Nicknames

    Stereotypes:

    When we are in power:

    When we are in trouble:

    Covenant Advantages / merits:

    Comment


    • #3
      This was the vague Muslim outline I had written before, and it's explanation. It needs some serious reworking, and I find it still slightly too close to the LeS for my current tastes, but for consideration.

      First of all, I want to stress the reasons for why this new Covenant is necessary.
      The Faith of Longinus requires Muslims (and Jews, but I’m mostly concerned with Muslims here) to deny certain base Muslim beliefs. Primarily, it requires them to deny that Muhammad is the Seal of the Prophets. Seal of the Prophets has a dual meaning, both of which must be respected. Firstly, it means that his revelations abrogate all previous revelations. Secondly, it means that his revelations are the final revelations, and cannot be abrogated (except internally).
      The Faith of Longinus requires a Muslim to believe that the revelations of Longinus are still relevant after Muhammad’s revelations, and thus have not been abrogated. This requires a Muslim to cease to believe in one of the central statements of Islam, that Muhammad is the Seal of the Prophets, and thus for a Muslim to become a Longinan, they first have to cease to be a Muslim.
      A Muslim covenant has to address the vampiric condition from a Muslim standpoint. It has to emerge naturally from Muslim thought. It thus cannot be based on any text or scripture from before Muhammad. Nor can it be based on any text or scripture from after Muhammad, as Muhammad was the last of Prophets, and no revelation can come after him. Thus, the Covenant has to be based in a revelation of Muhammad.
      Yet how to reconcile this without dramatically changing the story of Muhammad? When the Qur’an was compiled, a few decades after the death of Muhammad, they had a system to ensure that no false verse was added. People had committed verses to memory, or written down passages, often on cattle shoulder-blades. A certain number of people had to corroborate a verse for it to be added. As the story goes, the Caliph himself remembered a verse, yet because it could not be corroborated, it was not added, despite his authority. What if verses were discovered that could not be corroborated at the time, but seemed to refer to the vampiric condition?
      A second, since discredited theory, mostly held by sceptical Western scholars refusing to believe the traditional account due to the need at the time to discredit Muslim histories, held that Islam was invented as a religion closer to Mesopotamia and the area known as al-Jazira, to address a new need for a belief system to justify a new empire, in a land where many religions mixed and debated. While I think this theory is a load of bumpkis, I do think that parts of it can be used for the history of the new covenant. Here follows a quick history of the Covenant.




      On the most part, the Kindred of the Middle East did not convert to Islam. They were ancient beings, some predating even Christianity, many holding to pagan faiths. Up until the 9th and 10th centuries, Muslim rule was, in general, tolerant of other monotheistic faiths, and even polytheists could publically claim to be Muslims and practice in secret. Most of the Kindred took this route. What converts or embraces there were were rare enough that there was no need for a Covenant, and Muslim vampires worked out what it meant to be a Muslim vampire on their own individual terms.
      In the 10th century, two trends converged. The more tolerant era of Muslim governance came to an end, requiring actual and meaningful conversion, and enough Muslims were being embraced that the need for a Muslim covenant arose. A new set of sources were unearthed, rejected verses written in vitae-infused blood on human shoulder-blades, (since long lost) that purported to contain passages of the Qur’an that were not accepted due to lack of corroboration, yet they clearly seemed to refer to the vampiric condition.
      The verses, known collectively as “Ayat al-Kasuuf” or Verses of the Eclipse for the motifs of eclipses that run through them, speak of a people, “A brotherhood hidden amongst you”. “Never will the light’s touch reach them / unless I remove the lights.” They are the “hidden shield against that which would harm you / against which I have given you your only recourse.” The verses also make reference to a “tax” that the brotherhood will place upon the people, and that the people will fear them and not know them for what they are.
      From lines in these verses, the Covenant drew it’s name. They are normally known as “al-Dara’ al-Khafi”, the Hidden Shield, but their followers are called “Ikhwan al-Makhfiun”, the Hidden Brothers, or just “Al-Makhfiun”, The Hidden, for short. They call all vampires “Ahl al-Kasuuf”, the People of the Eclipse.
      They believe their purpose is to protect people against the Shaitan, the evil Genies who follow Iblis, the Devil. The Shaitan are incorporeal Genies who seek to tempt faithful Muslims from the straight path. Unlike the Lance, who seek to become monsters in order to keep others in line, the Hidden Shield first seeks to balance themselves against the Beast before turning their efforts outwards, in line with a verse that says “Only those who have defeated the Shaitain (of the self/inside/interior/already) can fight them (successfully/outside/made flesh)” (The verse sometimes varies, this is one of the most debated lines in the Covenant).
      There are various factions of the Hidden Shield that hold various beliefs, in part because the texts that make up the Verses of the Eclipse are not wholly agreed upon. Most agree that one must follow the Qur’an unless the Ayat al-Kasuuf differs from the Qur’an, but some say that the Ayat al-Kasuuf overrides the entire Qur’an, because just as the Qur’an was directed towards mortals and Jinn so the Ayat al-Kasuuf were directed towards the Kindred. The latter group is a tiny minority, however.
      The larger division is based on a question of purpose. It is accepted in the Covenant that vampires exist to protect mortals, and that in return they draw a tax of blood, yet it is debated exactly what they protect mortals FROM. Some say that they fight only supernatural threats. Some say that they fight only other vampires outside of the Covenant, draugr and others who prey on humans in unacceptable ways. Some say that they must protect mortals from other mortal groups who seek to harm society. A handful say that they must protect individual mortals from themselves! A second question asks WHO do they protect? Do they protect all mortals, or just Muslims? Do they protect only pious Muslims? A third question asks WHO is ALLOWED to protect? Must the Makhfiun completely overcome their own beast to join the good fight? Are they allowed to be imperfect monsters? Or, as a few say, is it allowable to USE the beast in order to better protect the people...

      WHAT CAPABILITIES DO I GIVE THEM?
      I’m thinking a set of unique Devotions based on the more common Disciplines, possibly combined with ritualistic prayer? I need to look over the rules again, and maybe get my hands on Secrets of the Covenants. So the sorcery of the covenant must be a subtle thing, something that is internal to the vampire not external that they invoke, something subtle not flashy, something meant to strengthen the self not awe others.

      Comment


      • #4
        Tivchayim
        The Undying Path

        Fiction blurb

        You want to join the covenant because:

        The Big Picture:

        Where we came from:

        Our Practices

        Nicknames

        Stereotypes:

        When we are in power:

        When we are in trouble:

        Covenant Advantages / merits:

        Comment


        • #5
          Your choice of name for the jewish covenant is not good. If you have an idea for a name in english, I can translate it for you.

          Currently it means more "Quality of life" than "Undying Path"

          Comment


          • #6
            I can see the differences between human Christianity and The Lance, but what is the difference for the Muslim one? For instance under Sharia there is only three choices for non-muslims(Convert, Submit and pay the tax or die). Would this carry over into a vampire setting? This is just one example off the top of my head. I think a Jewish one might be just as hard to translate.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Blue Thomas View Post
              I can see the differences between human Christianity and The Lance, but what is the difference for the Muslim one? For instance under Sharia there is only three choices for non-muslims(Convert, Submit and pay the tax or die). Would this carry over into a vampire setting? This is just one example off the top of my head. I think a Jewish one might be just as hard to translate.
              Having lived in Abu Dhabi for three years (as an atheist I might add), having dated a Muslim for almost three years (two of which overlapped with Abu Dhabi), and having studied Muslim history for well on a decade, I can tell you from personal experience that this is not the case. I understand the textual basis from which you are drawing, but it is a vast oversimplification that negates centuries of tradition, cultural conflux, and multicultural nation-building that has created other ways of dealing with other faiths, both those that fall within the Ahl al-Kitab and those who do not.

              Also, when creating a Muslim covenant, can we please acknowledge that "Shariah Law" isn't a unified body? Shariah is religious law, but there many ways in which that body of law gets interpreted. You can see a full listing here. Long story short, there are many different types of rational that can be used to determine precedence, different Hadith that are considered valid, different ways in which humanity's rational nature can be used to interpret law, and different individuals who have socio-legal-religious authority. It's actually an extremely diverse field.
              Last edited by Second Chances; 04-30-2016, 02:26 AM.


              Freelancer (He/His Pronouns): CofD - Dark Eras 2, Kith and Kin, Mummy 2e, Oak Ash and Thorn, Contagion RMCs; Scion - Mysteries of the World, Wild Hunt

              CofD booklists: Beast I Changeling | Demon | Deviant (TBA) | Geist l Hunter l Mage | Mummy | Promethean | Vampire | Werewolf (WIP)

              Comment


              • #8
                Any covenant inspired by a real life religion will be faced with problems because the real life religion is far from a unified philosophy or dogma, just like christianity. Islam has the Shia/Sunni schism and countless variations of muslim faith inside those two larger entities, some that are considered close to or outright heretical and non-muslim by other faiths. A really satisfactory covenant would demand some extensive knowledge of the targeted religion and its history (cause the covenant that sprout from it could very well be inherited from ideas that are considered prehistoric nowadays)

                That said, one can imagine a general look for it and some ideas.

                For example, if one would want to imagine a jewish lancea sanctum :

                I would drop the longinus stuff right off the bat because who cares about Jesus, really. Judaism has a devil-like figure in various forms. One of them is an "accuser", which, if I understand broadly, is basically an agent of god who's supposed to tempt man to sin and turn away from god to test their faith. Basically, he's god's bad cop (which is no small feat considering how ruthless old testament god can be) and not a opposer of god (at least not in this version).

                So basically, they would work kinda the same as the Lancea et Sanctum, messing with humans to see if they're worthy. They wouldn't be bound to the human faith because they're not human, they're the tool of the accuser and while they do evil shit, in the end, they serve the grand scheme of god.

                So how would they get along with the Lancea ? Well, they could work together considering they pretty much do the same thing. The Lancea could also see them as dirty demon worshippers since they serve the "devil". Seeing they both use theban sorcery, they could see it as a sign that they are on the same mission and tolerate each other's existence ("god works in mysterious ways, sometimes, it's best not to question things too much, and if they really are on god's side, they may end up joining the true faith enventually"), especially faced with really unholy stuff like the Circle of the Crone, or they could accuse each other of usurping their holy powers. That woudl probably depend on the domains, who's in charge of each group locally and what bigger rivals they may have.



                Actually, I'd be also interested in other non judeo/christian/muslim religion themed covenant using theban sorcery, cause the Lancea Sanctum didn't invent it, they inherited it from egypt or something. What if it also traveled to India and a cult of Shiva worshippers using their own variant of theban sorcery. Their philosophy would be to prepare the world for it's eventual destruction by Shiva, restarting the cycle of creation. In hinduism (again, broadly, I'm not a specialist and hinduism is awfully complicated and not a monolithic faith), Brahma creates the world, Vishnu tends to it and Shiva destroys it once it's expiration date has come. Those vampires could slowly spread corruption, making the world a worse place to hasten it's destruction and the creation of a better world.

                Actually, with how complex hinduism is, with various gods having several aspects that may or may not overlap to an extend depending on who you ask, I could see some pretty interesting dynamic between a Lancea-like covenant and a hindu Circle of the Crone (that could worship Kali or some of the many many demons of hinduism), seeing each other as another aspect of themselves, being careful to not mix, struggling against each other because that is the way things should be but somehow acknowledging each other as a necessary part of the world and so, not wanting to truly eradicate each other. They'd be more like in an eternal ritual war, with the occasionnal mishaps and excess it could bring.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by S. Brechen View Post
                  Judaism has a devil-like figure in various forms. One of them is an "accuser", which, if I understand broadly, is basically an agent of god who's supposed to tempt man to sin and turn away from god to test their faith. Basically, he's god's bad cop (which is no small feat considering how ruthless old testament god can be) and not a opposer of god (at least not in this version).
                  This... isn't really accurate.

                  Before the Babylonian exile, HaSatan as referenced to an angel is best idiomatically translated as "the devil's advocate." HaSatan is presented as the angel responsible for testing the things the Lord created to see if they were "good." HaSatan only serves the role of directly influencing humans in the book of Job to test the strength of Job's faith. This is not because HaSatan's job is to tempt and test, but because tempting and testing Job was the way to fulfill HaSatan's role to test the Lord's claim of the goodness of Job's faith. HaSatan has a role among the divine host that is not meant to impart any idea that humans are inherent need of supernatural temptation (the Torah is pretty clear we do just fine screwing things up without external influence).

                  During the Babylonian and Persian periods, Judaism had a cultural mixing with Zoroastrianism. Zorosastrian dualism lead to an association of HaSatan with the negative forces of darkness. By the Second Temple period, this lead to a schismatic belief in the angel of Sataniel, who is the most direct precursor to the Christian concept of Satan. Sataniel is portrayed as the former highest of the Grigori, who fell from grace and became a force of temptation; and a leader of the Children of Darkness in the final battles.

                  Rabbinic Judaism soundly rejected the externalized evil of Sataniel; especially given it's rather direct inspiration from another religion's metaphysical ideology. Early Rabbinic Judaism took the position that while evil spirits exist for any number of reasons, the concept of angels falling from grace to become challengers of the Lord's authority as heretical. Instead the Rabbinic philosophy focused on the concepts of Yetzer HaRa, and Yetzer HaTov: the inclinations to selfishness and selflessness (though more commonly translated as bad and good). All people have both, and must find a balance between them as either in the extreme has negative consequences, and both have important positive things for us to draw on. This strongly focuses on evil actions being the result of choice, not the temptations of evil spirits.

                  The problem for a "Jewish" LeS like Covenant is that the only real analog is Sataniel, but Jews have spent the last 2,000 years treating that schism as part of proto-Christianity. To a Jew raised after the Roman sacking of Jerusalem, being turned into a vampire and being presented the options of the LeS or a Sataniel "Jewish" based Covenant would see two things that are essentially the same with a bit for different flair. Modern Jews would be especially skeptical due to groups like Jews of Jesus creating a sense that Christian based groups trying to convert Jews will hide themselves in Jewish terminology to disguise their intentions.

                  Basically, this idea only really makes sense as an independent Covenant from the LeS for a limited time in Jewish history during the earliest days of Christianity; and like those splinter groups of Jews, would mostly end up subsumed into the LeS rather than remaining separate.

                  ------

                  If you want to draw and something that can remain more strongly Jewish, the Nephilim are probably a better jumping off point. Children of angels and men (which parallels nicely with how vampires seem to come from the union of people and spiritual entities of specific natures) who were capable of great physical ability, and great potential for both good and evil, but damned for their angelic parents disobedience.

                  This could lean more towards a mid-ground between the LeS and the CotC in philosophy. A group of vampires that see their state as both cursed and blessed at the same time, calling on them to seek redemption and a natural place in the world to use their powers to uplift great men, while tearing down evil ones.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Isn't that Mastema, though? Wouldn't the Lance identify with it?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Mastema and HaSatan and Sataniel overlap a lot in the texts we have from the Essene schism from Rabbinic Judaism. With the Essene stressing the conflict of light/dark (with the probable influence of Zoroastrianism), a lot of things that were previously more general terms for bad things were personified into fallen angels of various dangers to humanity. It's not clear how much these things were meant to be aspects and different names for the same entity, or meant to be a host of entities.

                      The Essene dualism heavily influenced early Christian metaphysics though, and are responsible for the vast majority of Bibilical demonic archetypes the LeS uses to inspire their ideology.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Thanks for the details and The nephilim are a pretty good idea, although, yeah, like you said, it might be more in line with the Circle's creed. You're right, especially if the covenant has to mirror the modern time religion. I wonder, though. The LeS has some pretty archaic aspects compared to modern catholicism. I mean, the idea that a loving god would actively send monsters to fuck with mortals so that they'd fall in line would seem pretty messed up to most christians (barring fundamentalists and hate groups). For a catholic the Pope never said "be a good christian or the local ventrue bishop will dominate you into beating up old ladies" (sure, the pope acknowledges exorcism as something that is, but demons are supposed to be actual bad guys), and the Malleus Maleficarum definitely has no way of seeing the LeS as a pro-christian group, more like a dreadful deformation of christian beliefs.

                        Anyway, while a figure like Hasatan is pretty much abandonned by modern day jewish faith, I could see vampires that keep working with principles they would attach to it (or another figure altogether, the LeS references some angel named amoniel which WW came up with for the occasion). Just because the main human religion doesn't recognize it anymore doesn't mean it doesn't exist. After all, the masquerade being one of the few universal rules of vampires, maybe those particular angels/beings/infrastructures were written off to ensure that the masquerade would hold (hell, like I'm trying to shoehorn things, you could easily imagine a bunch of vampires familiar with the LeS that would try to adapt it to another set of beliefs and rationnalize stuff so it would fit). In the case of a Hasatan themed group, then, they might focus on testing things via negative action because that's mostly what vampires are able to do. To test things another way, they'd figure there are other beings or tools they aren't aware of because it's not their place to know.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          From my point of view, Lancea Sanctumism is as different from Christianity as Christianity is from Judaism. It just shares a lot of trappings.

                          Both LS and Christians have the story of Cavalry and Jesus death, but Christianity and Judaism both have the story of Genesis and no one is saying they are the same.

                          A lot of key Christian beliefs are missing from LS theology. I get the LS has reasons why they don't apply (they are damned and all) but the fact that they think a lot of the rules don't apply to them make it a very different religion.

                          So why do I bring this up? I think the key thing of making a new Covenant is that while it should have the trappings of Judaism or Islam, it needs to have beliefs that are radically different from both the religion you are baseing it on AND from the LS. If it shares the same goals as the LS (wolves among the sheep), I don't see it as a large enough change to make it a new covenant, at that point, just slap on a new name, priests are called rabbis, come up with a new prophet and be done with it.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Joboo View Post
                            From my point of view, Lancea Sanctumism is as different from Christianity as Christianity is from Judaism. It just shares a lot of trappings.

                            Both LS and Christians have the story of Cavalry and Jesus death, but Christianity and Judaism both have the story of Genesis and no one is saying they are the same.

                            A lot of key Christian beliefs are missing from LS theology. I get the LS has reasons why they don't apply (they are damned and all) but the fact that they think a lot of the rules don't apply to them make it a very different religion.

                            So why do I bring this up? I think the key thing of making a new Covenant is that while it should have the trappings of Judaism or Islam, it needs to have beliefs that are radically different from both the religion you are baseing it on AND from the LS. If it shares the same goals as the LS (wolves among the sheep), I don't see it as a large enough change to make it a new covenant, at that point, just slap on a new name, priests are called rabbis, come up with a new prophet and be done with it.

                            I get your point about just making cosmetic changes if there isn't a big difference, but just swapping priest for Rabbis or adding a vampire Prophet isn't really a solution either. An Islamic "wolves amongst sheep" looks very different from a Christian which looks very different from a Hebrew one. In fact, I'm writing an Islamic (specifically Ibadi/Kharijite) bloodline that hates LeS, the Iblic Creed, and the mortals in Daesh (ISIL, but I call them Daesh like the Arab world does because they want to be called ISIL and hate being called Daesh) all with an equally burning passion.

                            My point is, if you are actually using the beliefs of Muslims, Jews, and Christians to inform the way their respective Kindred communities have evolved, then you will get those massive differences that make them unique. The root concept may be similar, but they will end up in vastly different places. The only way you that a Muslim covenant looks like a Christian one is if you do name swaps form LeS. If you take the time to study the history, philosophy, and government of the group you are trying to write about, the differences will come.

                            EDIT: Actually, instead of just babbling about how different the cultures and mindsets are, here's a suggestion: Read Chapter 1 of God's Rule: Government and Islam by Patricia Crone. It makes it abundantly clear the religious and political differences between the Christian and Muslim views of the Garden of Eden, Sin, and political legitimacy. From there, it would be easy to see how the Iblic Creed would end up extremely different from LeS
                            Last edited by Second Chances; 05-25-2016, 11:07 PM.


                            Freelancer (He/His Pronouns): CofD - Dark Eras 2, Kith and Kin, Mummy 2e, Oak Ash and Thorn, Contagion RMCs; Scion - Mysteries of the World, Wild Hunt

                            CofD booklists: Beast I Changeling | Demon | Deviant (TBA) | Geist l Hunter l Mage | Mummy | Promethean | Vampire | Werewolf (WIP)

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Second Chances View Post


                              I get your point about just making cosmetic changes if there isn't a big difference, but just swapping priest for Rabbis or adding a vampire Prophet isn't really a solution either. An Islamic "wolves amongst sheep" looks very different from a Christian which looks very different from a Hebrew one. In fact, I'm writing an Islamic (specifically Ibadi/Kharijite) bloodline that hates LeS, the Iblic Creed, and the mortals in Daesh (ISIL, but I call them Daesh like the Arab world does because they want to be called ISIL and hate being called Daesh) all with an equally burning passion.

                              My point is, if you are actually using the beliefs of Muslims, Jews, and Christians to inform the way their respective Kindred communities have evolved, then you will get those massive differences that make them unique. The root concept may be similar, but they will end up in vastly different places. The only way you that a Muslim covenant looks like a Christian one is if you do name swaps form LeS. If you take the time to study the history, philosophy, and government of the group you are trying to write about, the differences will come.

                              EDIT: Actually, instead of just babbling about how different the cultures and mindsets are, here's a suggestion: Read Chapter 1 of God's Rule: Government and Islam by Patricia Crone. It makes it abundantly clear the religious and political differences between the Christian and Muslim views of the Garden of Eden, Sin, and political legitimacy. From there, it would be easy to see how the Iblic Creed would end up extremely different from LeS
                              I wrote a long response to this but deicded that it was to negative and I am mostly interested and sceptical (in a good sense) in what you will come up with.

                              I am actually on the same page as you that there are all different, I thought I was clear in my second paragraph. I think you may have focused to much on my last sentence to the exclusion of the preceding seven ones.

                              Comment

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