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A character supplementfor vampire: The Masquerades By Gavin BennevTT, TREVOR CHASE AND JAMES Hi ey VAMPIRE CREATED BY MARK ReIn® HAGEN Creprrs ‘Spectat THANKS: Written by:Guvin Bennett, Trevor Cline ond Wil Flachsbart, Ellen Kiley and the Meatnog Gang James Kiley. Vampire and the World of Darkness created by Mark Rein® Hagen. Storyteller Game System Design: Mark ReineHagen Developed by: James Kiley Editor: Ken Cliffe Art Director: Richard Thomas Layout & Typesetting: Mike Chaney Interior Art: Vince Locke, Andy Trabbold, and Kirk Van Wormer Front Cover Art: Andy Trabbold Front & Back Cover Design: Mike Chaney — z © 2003 White Wolf Publishing, Inc. All rights re- served, Reproduction without the writen permission of the Fp GA LTMDR satan eters 4 reviews, and for blank character sheets, which may be STONE MOUNTAIN, GA produced forpersonal use only. White Wolf, Vampite che . Masquerade, Vampire and World of Darkness ate registered 30083 trademarks of White Wolf Publishing, Inc. All rights re- served. Clanbook Assamite, Giovanni Chronicles, Sins of the Blood, Blood Magi, Blood Sacrifice, Nights of Proph- USh cy, State of Grace, Werewolf the Apocalypse, Chaining the Beast, Mind's Eye Theatre and Revelations of the Dark Mother are trademarks of White Wolf Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved. All characters, names, places and text herein are copyrighted by White Wolf Publishing, Inc. ‘The mention of or reference to any company ot product in these pages is not a challenge to the trademark or copyright concerned. PUBLISHING This book uses the supernatural for settings, characters and themes. All mystical and supernatural elements are fiction and intended for entertainment purposes only. This book contains mature content. Reader discretion is advised, For a free White Wolf catalog call 1-800-454-WOLF Check out White Wolf online at hep://www.white-wolf.coms alt.games.whitewolf and rec.games.frp storyteller PRINTED IN CANADA. TABLEORCONTENTS Pro toGue: THe END OF INNOCENCE INTRODUCTION Cuapter One: THE RiGHt RoapL ost CHapTeR Two: RIGORS OFTHE WAY Cxapter THREE: DATHS OF ENLIGHTENMENT CHApTeR Four: KNOWING THE WAy Appenpin: Fettow TRAVELERS el Sormethingis cating babies in El Bato. Yes, you heard me right ating, Asin, “Cracking the sll pen slupingoutthebrains suckingdown theeyebll ike grapes, anal avinga mes of awed bores and skin” One of ous? Why, yes. Well, vampires don't vay eat people. Buea few do. The crazy fetishiss choke it down and thry omit itup later. Iedoesn' do them any good. I's the act self? thae sates whatever need they have Yeoh, tispretty ‘fucked up" Damn, Ian cell yout asc «fie round, using lklike tat. Once youhaven' fused yourdik fora decade that kind of shit wil fie So what's next? No im aking ou what’ next? Noches, |e he erking pick ofthe liter ever fucking time, Yea I sid Yash” sof can sounds Kcking sip ag yous sngther uc ‘Qk, by ehia/ Shon Kili and eatin ies in Sabor tomnping grt. ands n't one of ound the bishop, dhe ches pe sd dou know what she ays? ide cit. $0 gythrogh asking questions. Gee bgt Red Flowet;man-cub, Were going hunting. nthe way, wafyoutouseyoureyesandearsand brain. Not likebefre changed you. Consider thisnighta metaphor A night ofthesoul like when] was teaching you, Were going to lok into theabys, we're gingrotakeabigowig,andthen were oingtospit ‘tupono thistle bitch who hunts where and howe shoukd Takethe machete Stapittoyourback. Hie it. No,no guns Nous, anyy. Wedon'thaveencugh money. Aruino, we're not ckiving. We're walking the ritual — ‘Damn, even dead, it feels ike my clothes are sticking to me. Hotasabitch. Theysay thissummersnet as warm athe last to. Notso's you'd notice That's okay, It’s like a litte crucible of Hell. Suck it up, intemalzeit, and be ready to give it hack to that put. See, his kiling,’sbad enough. Some of ourkind don't give ifkersas‘ahout yankingabum our ofa subway tation andsucking ‘ht dry. I's waste of resources, ut we have to be tolerant. We iiinsiveastumble just not fal. Even ourkind makes mistakes. TE ones like-this thing, though... sill going through the old inpriogsashe tiesto clingtpanythingtostopthefall. The fall into “be Best's mouth. He probably thinks he’ helping Peoples the moron. Take a fight on 110th, here. \ How dal ndwheabe”2W08t) Agent, in my yeas Chief cfd ah, il pive yeti one. You'teyoung. Its athe” Betause athéy spall “he's FHe ting wise what he's becognia whip he +s efor andl destroying higself.ane everything ato yn in oe prGes. I've seen it before ‘Der to the side, into the shaas, Good Vet yor skin kind of. .go. Exactly. Youlvegotaway with tha ya can but seeyou, You se chem all around. Adams Hind ior children, We valle unseen inthe spaces between. We don't need some artificial Masquerade I's not necessary. We are malamaches— nightmares. ‘Wecome a stealthy and silent sa dream, and we teach terrible lesonsin our wake, But there's noching tobe taught in what this one isdoing. Tum up ths alley Speak ofthe Devil. Here's our purpose right here. Iesa bit of distraction, but worth making a point. ‘The old gentlemen inthe suit is Big Busines. The ones you see in the news. He gets an eight figure incentive honusfor laying Pro.oa: TE oF oct 5 (ff 25% ofhis workforce. Then there'll his fraulent account ing buthe already setupa VP in front ofthe SEC rain. Hecomes up here a couple timesa week. Iesthe only time youll seca Lexus here unless it’s being stripped for parts. ‘The gil he's got pinned up against the wall —who knows? Hecallthemilthyspiccunts." That'shisthing. Oneofhis‘licle” sins. Noto awl, suppose. I’sjust that the $5 illhe'sshoved in her mouth came cut of his employees’ pockets ‘Nowwait Waiuntil.. here wea. Take down those $5,000 ‘pants, grease up that withered thing with spit, pryon the rubber and... tharit shove iin hard just like youdoto youremployees. Youlike the pain in her eyes, don't you? ‘Youthaven't seen anything yet. Warch and leam. Fist, [eallupabitofblood intomypalm. Now... youseethat shadow stretching out, ruzzing forward like an eager dog? Here it comes, lapping at my hand. Now I tell the shadow to slither ut, take that gi’ blood the way it took mine Regrettable that she getsto escape this world unknowing. but even the mortals’ God decreed death for whores Yousee what were teaching him? Yous him lose it ashis $5 fuckscreams, withers and turs to a bloodless sack of kin with himstil inside her? He fucks the restofthe woeld and dinksit dry Iestime he knew exactly whacit feels like. That's the fastest 've ever seen someone run with his pants around hs ankles. He won't get it up agin thissde of five Figure therapy. Thisis what we do. Thisis what weare. We are anglosnegros —black angels. We're harbingers and icons ofsin, We siton the lee side of depravity. The gr? A necessry ev “Here we go. El Barro. Spanish Harlem. East Side eto Just ‘cause you're pale doesn’ mean you haves be x damn white, es. (Obs lighten up. (Okay, watch out Hereitcomes right on time. Stepbackand watch thebus. The old 10:12, Lookatthedregsit vomits out- Each ‘one bloated with anger, despair sin, hopeless. “Thatone...heone with theslumpedshouldersan the dead cyesinthe youngface,almestlike oneofus He's Anibal Gutiere. Heworksataconvenience store Tohoursa weektosupportthegitl he impregnated thee years ago, and the brood she’s popped out since. He's lucky tonight. Someone else got double shifts andl he can come home early. Good, responsible husband. So youngto be so responsible Such a dul, plodding lf. Lets make it more interesting, hmm? ‘Watch this. Thsisa tick [eames from our rethren below You must lea it someday, though i’ noe easy In an instant, I change my looks, coarsen them, become stocky, grow amustache And now I step out, and brush past Anibal lke so. Didyou see himlinch Turn? Buel wasalready gone. I moved faster than his conscious mind — what litle he has — could register. But is inner eye saw his shift manager, who he despises whose form I took. A little nudge, that'll takes A litdestickin che antl of rage. NoCainite mind magic. A test like the thousand mundane ‘ones we face every day. He's free to shrug off the tension, Or more Gone Bast 6 likely he feet gohome and ty tofilluphisdead soul with cenexa and beat the shit out of his wif and children, know which one my money'son. Good Catolico that he is, perhaps hasaguardianangel to undomy work, Tat'sokay. We don’t tamper with the work of the Creator. We cary it ut Unlike this fool we go to find Intheokdnights, thisneverwouldhavehappened Notto this extent Butthosetimesare gone. New Yorkiserazynow.Eversince theCamarila came and killed somany of. Then there was that kine mayor. He thought he'd clean up the city. Sent the police tumingoverrockstheyshouldn’thave,goceverythingundemeath squirming, Perfect for those of us who were left. Decadesold domains disrupted, food chains knotted up, tensions at crazy angles Wedddn'tcar. Wedon'tneed domains We eat where we want. Fewer stret crimes, more police atrocities. Iesall the same tousvaslongas we've gota place to put the bodies. “Thar mayor, they call him the Rock now. But there re stil some rocks he didn’t tum over, some things still quiring in the deep dark. So occasionally, we have to be the exterminator. ‘You look confused. What's the problem? Well, yeah, we're supposed to feed on mortals. But we're Irarvesters oftheir bodies and souls. That’ the ole you've been chosen to play. Here we are. Finding this fool's haven wasa piece of cake. ‘ould ave guesed even without asking the dwellers below. He leaves the lights on, on a weeknight, well after hours. Even the police should he able to solve this case. Don'theso nervous. Yeah, it's church. You think you'e in themovies’Nothing'sgonna happen. Godisn'tgoingtosmireyou with lightnngbole. He's gta more important plan for you “The door is locked, but that shoukln' scop you, right? You wer jacking cars and up for BSE well before | found you “Thankyou. Now, be quiet when youopen the door and stick tothe shadows, esboenavbilesincelwasinoneoftheseplaces, Candelabra, ‘apse, nave pulpit... Where's thar kid screaming? ‘Hah! Yeah that’shim,andwith thekid! Another collarwith penitence sues They make'em fompristsometimes —alays mistake. There's that whole uilcthing, and the whole transub- stantiationisue takes on... well, yousee what the poor deluded estan trying t0 do He'll hung upon his God. He knows he gets power from theblood, but rather than just accept it, he hasto iter through his old life, through his own ego. Sobe figures ifhe can just transubstantiate ital, hen isike he's reenactng the Last Tempration or Supper or Eucharist ot whatever. Thathe'sreally no killing them. He thinks he'ssaving them. won't even get into what goes through his head when he ples up the chewed mess. What was that movie a while back? Yeah, The Eumcis. Scrnge? Nab, pretty typical, actully. Guile can bea baer burden than the Curse. But not for us, of course ‘Whar you seeing, understand, isthe Beast. Is the fate of cveryweaklingin he Camarilla, with their Masqueradesandtheir talk of humanity. They're so stupid. I's ike ying to catch a tiger ina paper bag ‘Thisiswhael've been tryingto show you, soyoudon'tend up thesane. To master the Beat, youcantt cage it, or nail it to some cross or pretend you're in control I’ like Strength in the Tarot. You can ride it, but you can never break it ‘Weknow the Beas alvays wins unless you understand and revere its master. So we pledge ourselves, body and soul, to the darknes. Wedon'tstare into the ays, we are the abyss Arilifwe ‘accept it swallow it deep enough, even the Beat gets lost ill we decide t let tout. Anyway, hislitlemidinight Massisalmostoversandthechild is about tobe the wafer and wine. Lets move, Pretend to inhale, three shallow, three deep, ike I showed you. Yeah Yeah. Does tfel god dest? Thatpns-ard/-neles feelingall over your body isthe blood awakening your cold, dead skin. ‘Watch this. fyoumove yourhandsbetween thenot-breaths just s0, the shadows come coiling round. They're expectant. Hungry. They know they're drinking pure 150-proof sin. Don't underestimate him. He's one of them, but he’s got Caine'sbloodsameasyou. They looklikepustes,butthey'retough a5$3 steaks, Now here's what we're gonna do, Stay in the shadows and move tothe vestibule [step out and wrap the night aroundme, all dramatic like. 'm gonna give him some songand dance about hhow I'm Satan come fom the pit of Hell to claim the soul ofthe innocent. And while he's filled with doubs and the Beas tats clawing up, you move. Don't wory, he won't be looking at you. Callupthebloodlike showed youandusethemachete. Youwon't get much more than one or owo chances Got? Then go! No kad, bur damn, he was strong! Drink up before i all goes dy Better? (Okay, get the kc. The kid, Get the kid. What? We're takingit back to its mother. No, wee not going to feet on it. Think: What have been teachingyou? What happenstothekidifyoukilitnow?! Ofcourse ities but mean the exence, the soul? sababy. Itdoemtthave theknowledgetocoveritsdick the knowledge to wipe itsown as Helo, Original Sin, anyone? san innocent. fit ies, i's saved, Ie gets its tle wings and les of to “Heaven. Our master, the Watcher in the Black, goes har, ‘Suppor his head, like this. Hwelethimlive he gowsup,andeverydayhissoulgetsalitle more tained. The world isashithole, spiritual toilet. Bythe time ‘he 12, hand his uaas oes are gonna have record amile ong. Lechim live. Lethim blot lke ape frit Lechim get soswollen withsin youcouldpractically pophim. Thenve comeback forhim. “Then we harvest him for the Pt Pro.oce Tat E or occ 1 THe DEATH OF MORALITY Humanity. A guide to behavior for the undead. A fading memory of what itonce meantto belive. A fleeting concept to which vampires cling for fear of becoming | mindless, ravening predators. There's something not quite right about the notion of humanity. There are plenty mortals out there who can’tabide by the strictures of bes! humane. Look at the evening news. People infliet crimes?» indignities and the cruclest punishments upon’each ther all the time. What's good of decentr moral abou shem? Take an average morxaldive him eternal hunger, 4 tind Jess Beast and manortality, and never ler-him see the su." again, Thesysee how Jong he holds oto the ethical cine straints-Ohis daytime, existence. Car’ he claimy/ta, bes humane arly longer} For therigors of eternal inlifesahe shackles of Humani-=2 ityasa moral code art't quiterght. How can hummamethics.* persgt fora being thar no longer abides by the rules Wh living As lanes the childgt of Caine have fought tokoep” the Belstar hay, gine hae fallen from the way of Humary ity to alternate maeabipeths. After all, why should beings that are no longer alive and human still pretend to be! There are countless Paths of Enlightenment — means by which the undead can struggle to retain their identities, if nottheirold morality, and stave off the Beast. Chaining the Beast looks closely at more than 20 of these vampire callings ‘As much as Vampire: The Masquerade is a game for mature audiences, Paths of Enlightenment are not for the faint of heart. Paths challenge players and Storytellers to accurately portray characters who are inhuman monsters Depicting these kinds of characters isn’t easy or trivial, but the insights troupe can gain ftom roleplaying pathscan be ‘iyaluable. You get to truly explore the foreign existence of Watapiress how they literally fail to remain human and begpme something else. “8 Playersand Storytellers of Mind's Bye Theatre should ‘6 ltnty out of Chaining the Beast, too. While this book “stedplicitly aimed at the live-action audience, itdoesn’t PFSog spectcally on game Mystere explores the Z edepths of vampire conscioustiess, morality abd identity — Sjist, what roleplaying the undead is all abput, whether “Yoo Fein a roleplayiny or live-action game. JENLIGHTENMENT AND Mystery at fing the Beast i®igtencled a a!soyreebogk for Row players and Storyteller Players gey’A prigler on sunning path-driven characters\ahd a.good look at the dnpwards and challenges of doing Wi/They al receive { guidelines to help portray the moral G6urses their charac fers take Storytellers eta tool se haracters from the more esoteric Paths of Enlightenment, as well as guide- lines on handling playets with characters who answer lmonucnox 9 various callings. Some paths are suitable for player use, while others best serve Storyteller charactersor thecharac- ters of experienced and mature players. Chapter One: The Right Road Lost isan overview of Paths of Enlightenment in Vampire, including a look at where they generally came from, and which Kindred can use them. Chapter Two: Rigors of the Way walks aCainite (and player) through the disillusionment and degeneration that accompanies a plunge from Humanity onto a path, allow- ing character to rise through the ranks of self-awareness ‘Chapter Three: Paths of Enlightenment describes each of more than 20 paths in detail, including history, current events, ethics and morality. Chapter Four: Knowing the Way has advice for Storytellers on subjects ranging from mentors to advance- ment along a path to ways of challenging followers to keeping players from abusing their characters’ newfound dedication, Appendix: Fellow Travelers contains descriptions and basic game information on different vampires who have resorted to morals beyond Humanity. As Storyteller, you can drop any of these characters into a chronicle and spin subplots around them. Some could also function as mentors to Cainites who are new to Paths of Enlighten- ment, Others might serve asfellow students orrivalson the THemes There are unspoken common threads throughoutmany of the Paths of Enlightenment. To some they represent the vast unanswered questions of Vampire cos mology. As player or Storyteller, you may wish to take advantage of some of these themes and truisms to help define a character's philosophy. ‘Adam and Eve: The First Mortals play a remarkably minor role in most paths, which is strange. They are the porents of the Sire of alll Vampires. They're the zero-th generation, as it were. Ifthe biblical creation myth isto be believed, Adam and Eve are the direct, hands-on children of the Lord God Almighty. They're the bridge between vampires and God. So, what does their absence froma path ‘mean? Whar does it say about vampire self-perception and origins? Death: Not even vampires are sure where ordinary mortal souls go after death. Some might stick around as ghosts, and others could go to Hell. But the rest? Do they return to any “great cycle”? Do they just go into nothing- ness? As the undead, do vampires even have souls any longer? Are they lost, recycled, orsent to Heaven or Hell to allow the undead remains to persist on Earth? What does the relativity of death mean for beings seeking direction afterward? Diablerie: For some paths, diablerie isthe ultimate sin (just as murder is among mortals). Other paths accept killing one’s own as a warriors just reward or the ultimate DISCLAIMER FOR THE MORALLY CONFUSED ‘You are not a vampire. You don’t live by an inhu- man moral code. The Paths of Enlightenment in this book are descriptions of the activities-of wholly fic- tional creatures and characters. Even when you're roleplaying a character devoted to one of these prac tices, keep the real world and real morality in mind. ‘These paths are not intended as any kind of behavioral suggestions for you. If living any ofthese tents scems like a good idea, make an appointment with amental- health professional. honor paid to another Cainite. Scholars disagree as to what happens to the soul of a vampire taken by diablerie, or if that soul might even overpower its new body. What does a path’s prohibition against or encouragement of feeding on other undead say about the morality of those who adhere to the course? God: Who? We last heard from God either 2,000 or 10,000 years ago, as far as anybody can tell. If He relly did curse the First Vampire, where's He been since? Can the Kindred get His attention? Is He doing all this to them on purpose? Or does God even factor into a Cainite's exist- ence? He supposedly created man in His own image, after all. Ifthe undead are no longer "man," does biblical justice even apply to them? Golconda: Some paths suggest that there is a meta- physical point of moral perfection, astage ofenlightenment at which human, vampire and Beast all stand on equal footing. Other paths consider the concept to be a blas- phemy concocted to fool the weak. It isn't as though there's any proof either way; the existence of Golconda isa matter of faith. The question of whether particular paths are best suited to reach Golconda or find another way is a matter of debate, to say the least. The question is, what does a vampire seek at the end of his path’ Is there a metaphysical destination or is walking the road its own reward? Heaven: In ways that are pethaps more foreign to vampires than the existence of God, the existence of Heaven is (pardon the pun) up in the air. Some Cainite scholars posi thatthe worldisdecayed because, while there is a Hell, there is no Heaven. Few paths address the existence of Heaven, except insofar as it corresponds to (ot isametaphorfor) Golconda. But what if Heaven doesexist? Issalvation even possible for vampires, despite the legends of Golconda? Do creatures who turn to paths turn their back on forgiveness? Is accepting the Curse of Caine worse than having been afflicted with it? Hell: It's depressing yet somehow unsurprising that while many Cainites are unsure of the existence and nature of God and Heaven, some are certain about Hell and its inhabitants. The Path of Revelations glories in contact with Hell, while mostother followings eschew demonic realms. In most cases, Cainites avoid Hell not because they're afraid of its evil or distance from God, but because they fear being enslaved or losing what little soul they have left. But can even demons find redemption if they only seek it? Guna Bast 10 Usino Pats Paths of Enlightenment are not for every player, nor are they for every troupe. Players who find a certain poi- gnancy to the strugele for Humanity may find that paths go {oo far. A vampire on a Path of Enlightenment has decided that Humanity just doesn'r work for him. As a result, the characteris likely to engage in activities that certain groups ‘may ind distasteful. A level of discomfort isto be expected whenever these concepts show up in a game, After all, we fare humans, and most of us believe that we follow faitly conventional moral scheme. Paths of Enlightenment aren't for troupes with imma- ture players. Some troupes may have a hard time getting past problems with characters on the Path of Doing What- ever | Damn Well Please. This problem is addressed in Chapter Four, but if you as Storyteller aren't confident that a player can handle a path, you're encouraged to veto it. Indeed, your entire troupe should probably sit down. and discuss Paths of Enlightenment as soon as they become 4 possible iste in your game. Players may have points of discomfort — perhaps they don’t mind violent murderers such as characters on the Path of Blood, but they may find Cathari (who take pleasure in flesh, drugsand other sorts of debauchery) wholly unpalatable. Pick a level of play that makes everyone comfortable with the chronicle. ‘As part of that discussion, be sure to talk about the appropriate level of roleplaying that the troupe wants to explore. One group may prefer to portray every event explicitly, including torture, sex and abuse, while another troupe might agree that the Storyteller can gloss over such, events, “You torture one another for hours, and you learn that she has a higher pain threshold than you do.”). Lastly, as silly as it might sound, be aware of any listeners when you play. Are you gaming in someone's diningroom? Keep the gore and vilenesstoa minimum. Are there small children around? They may not be able to distinguish descriptions of depravity in a game from con- vversations about real life. Use your brain. Try not to offend those nearby whodon'ttake part in your game, or who have litle to no idea what you're up to. Source MaTeRIALs There's really no limit co the fiction available that describes characters whohave been forced by environment orcircumstance toadopta code of morality unlike our own. Some examples include: Ronin, A film about what happens to old spies who have nothing left after the conflict that had been the core of their lives collapses from under them, Surely you can imagine some vampiric parallels. ‘The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, by Steven R. Donaldson. Like follower ofthe Path of Paradox, Thomas Covenant does not quite accept the reality of the world in which he finds himself, and commits crimes against its inhabitants asa result. Schindler's List. Oskar Schindler simply cannot adhere to the apparently common and everyday morality of Na ‘Germany. He must transcend the behavior of those around hhim inorder toadhere toa higher morality and to retain his sanity. Blade Runner. There's a group of people out there who aren't human, but who believe themselves to be. Then there's the protagonist who believes himself to be essen tially human, and his jobs to kill the first group. Buthhisjob sgrinds away his humanity. Or maybe he isn't human, after al. The Elric series, by Michael Moorcock. Elric of Melnibone isthe prince of an ancientanddecadentsociety. He's willing to make bargains with demons, kill casually and wield a soul-drinking sword, all in order to acquire power and to ostensibly help his people. ‘The Amber series, by Roger Zelazny, There's this fam- ily, sce, full of insanely powerful immortals. And to them, cour world is just a shadow of their true world, and we only barely exist as independent beings. Begin. Apocalypse Now. Captain Willard is sent into the jungle with orders to kill the apparently insane Colonel Kurtz, who has set himself up as a god in Cambodia Madness surrounds Willard and slowly changes his percep- tions and environment until he begins to abandon his sanity and become more like Colonel Kurtz: The Godfather. Having left his family’s criminal life behind to attempt to join the world of ordinary folks, Michael Corleone is drawn back in against his will. By the movie's conclusion, he has abandoned the life he craves and accepted the Mafia's code of ethics. Time Enough for Love, et al, Robert Heinlein. This ‘quasi-series of science fiction novels takes place in afuture distant enough that mores regarding sex and incest are quite different from our own. The series smacks litle too much of Heinlein-as-dirty-old-man, but it'sa quick read Go into any bookstore and you'l see it, probably near the mide ofthe shop: the marketable, lucrative category entitled “Self Help.” Tony Robbins sells his Seven Lis of Suess. Falwell ancl Falan,PageandCovey—allofthemarehappy tsellyouanswers Allofdhemaggeethattobelievencthingisto, nthe wordsof Hunter S. Thompson's lawyer, "sink lke a goddamn stone. ‘And these are only humans we'te talking about. The conse quencesof afew peoplesspralsintopainare, in the span ofhister, inconsequential. Theyre the sum ofadecade or three orfivespeny ‘in unhappiness, unfulfilment, povery,lovelesness — and fB&h, the release ofthe grave. ForCainites itsnornearlysoeasy, Once the Beast takeStiol ther'snowayback. Nohalfwayhouse,nogoverrimentusit 12-sep program, The consequrnces can last not just for es decades, but centres ila, maybeuncilthesun swallowsthe Earth, Forall pocicl pufposes eternity Mortalsre advised to Beli manda to do so. DATHSOF ENLIGHTENMENT Here ae the ret Hmanity doesn't work. Vampires whi axtempttoretain theirFuiman soul actatdirectcros-purpases with’ the behaviors mandated by their new forms. Vampires, by their very nature, can almost never gain Humanity and ae in constant danger of losing it. Burifthey do loseall that makes them human, they fill prey to the Beas, the personified urge toward savagery and predation that dvells within every vampire's being. The creature loses all in sosnething, Cainivesare capacity © contro his behavior, becoming litle mone than a ‘corpse with an animal’ brain —a liability to human and undead society alike. ‘So, since rewining Humanity is intrinsically unnatural, yet losing itis a one-way ticket to damnation, Humanity mast be replaced by a stronger structure — one that works. For many ‘vampires, the answer isa Path of Enlightenment. PathsofEnlight- eniment are codes of philosophy, morality ethics and behavior specifically designed to address the needs ofthe Kindred. Devel- ‘pee over centuries sometimes millennia, pathsenablea vampire {ijyeorient himself in elation to his environment ina way that ‘logeps and builds on the inrinse physiology and psychology of 1d species. Paths don't tell a Cainte that ‘sucking human blood irons,” high-handedly ignoring the fact that the creature must suck blood to sustain nie: Rather, they acknowledge that 2 aire mustdrinkblood, and then presentwaysofincorporating ac concept intra worldviev, STRUGGLE ANDSTRIVE ‘Woo-hoo! I'mon the Path bf Metainofhosis{ can run ‘round and, like, pull people’s aces off! Yeah,feah! And then I can stick their faces on, liReygrdog’s bate, and I can fuck, like, a million people's blood atv spend all the points to cast a ritual that summons bat-demons from Hell, and then Icandrinkademon’s blood and have, like, super blood points and now my Strength is 12 and I can kick this elder’s ‘ass and take his treasure and that RULES! Paths are cool! Uri... settle down. Contrary to some gamers’ belief, ‘practicing path isnot synonymous with *Thaveno Humanityso (Gps Ove: Te Rat Ron Los 3 C'mon, Guys—ht’s Nor THar Dirrenent! *Hlumanit”isapretty brodencompassing erm, Mother ‘Teresa, Neon Mandel, Bill Clinton, Kenneth Lay and John ‘Wayne Gacyalfillorfellsomewberein thespectaum. Franky, ‘vampires aren really llhat alien, "are they? They all are — cor were — people. Aren't we slitting airs het, saying that hhonoringthe Golden CalfofMetamorphossinsteofthe Ten (Commandments or the Eightfold Way is going to save souls? ‘When youthink aboutit the fact that this book written and read byhumans means that weean conceive the tenets ofthese “alien paths Then what’ the real difference berweenadevout follower ofthe Path of Power and the Inner Voice and, sy, Richard Nixon? Frankly, atthe lowest levels, aot that mach. A vampire witha rating of? in the Path of Caine is tire or less, the same uncaring, self-absorbed, predatory bastard that a vampire With 2 Humanity. They both take the easy way out. They hoch liveforthemoment: The both afferendlessaticmalicationsand cexcusesfortheirfuckuys. Theyborhfailanddoscupidsit.A kor. (One could surmise, in fact, that humans could train themselves ina Path of Enlightenment a readily as vampires could. Theowetically, a moral who dide’t have to undeno constantsocietal indoctrination, whobod the copiousamouns ofspare time; the culeural impetus andthe sheer callousness dliscan eadtional superego traning in for ofthe tenets ofa Sabbat path could do so. Yet irmever happens, except amon? Revenants, who only barely qualify as “moral.” On some level, too, playing a game requires a certain degree of shorthand asregardsthe “unspeakable” and"“unimnag- inabl.” Even HP. Lovecraft the master of Incomprchensible Horror, had to present his material in terns tha readers could comprehend, Fle constantly tll about how the Great Old (Ones were polylinensichal entities completely beyond the