A Vampire: the Requiem, Werewolf: the Forsaken and Changeling: The Lost Live Action. Set in the fictional city of New Oskana and ran in Regina, Saskatchewan. Contact the game staff by requiemforregina@gmail.com. Register for additional information.


    The Old Ones: A Covenant for the Vampires of New Oskana

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    The Old Ones: A Covenant for the Vampires of New Oskana

    Post  Admin on Mon Dec 17, 2012 1:40 pm

    The Old Ones


    Overview

    Few vampires outside of the Old Ones have much understanding of the morbid tendencies or inscrutable actions of the Old ones. Currently isolated to the Americas and fairly isolationist on whom they take within their ranks, they exist as a peripheral Covenant in many locales. Seemingly detached from much of the hustle and bustle of the living, focused on the dead and their own undead condition, to outsiders they often appear as a strange mix of the Circle of the Crone given the rites witnessed, and the Ordo Dracul with their secrecy and introspective nature. People die around them; certainly this happens with any vampire Covenant, but it seems more frequent among the Old Ones. They're insular, and some would say vicious to outsiders, and given their dealings with the restless dead and stranger entities they often create quite a stir (and no small amount of fear) among other vampires who often avoid doing so. They are less organized than many Covenants however; certainly they have titles, duties and commonalities of philosophy but rarely are they as tightly knit and sociable as the Sanctified or Acolytes, or quite as regimented in structure as the Ordo Dracul with it's Mysteries. They deal with things detached from the average Kindred, a strangely cold and broader view on things outside in the supernatural world as a whole, and this makes a dark reputation indeed in domains they're known to be active, odd, sometimes seen as heretical and always monstrous. If the Crone exalts in being Vampires and embracing their condition, the Old One exalts in the particulars of what it means to no longer be alive; not feeding and the Beast for its own sake, but what it means to have one foot constantly in the grave and the other astride the lands of the living and the greater ramifications of that. They're rarely publicly active; at least blatantly often making them less noticed on the political radar of others until they take a blatant action. They're the monsters in the shadows; the dead things that are best left unmolested unless one wants the torments of the dead on ones footstep, a reputation they don't deny.

    Members

    The Old Ones primarily appeal to the more ancient of the Kindred than the young, those seeking understanding of their state, a purpose that isn't focused on temporal, mortal power or grand tales of deity figures that have no direct relevance. It’s rare that a neonate has come to terms with their undead state or have enough desire to focus on the fact they’re always one foot in the grave and just not human, let alone alive no matter how much they can still have the appearances of such. It’s usually those whose Humanity has withered somewhat on the vine, achieved level of comfort with death, morbidity and that others die to keep them going, even if only a little bit at a time. It’s a Covenant that doesn't -expect- it’s members to keep up the appearances of being part of the herd; one can exist on the periphery and still achieve one wants, or one can pretend and blend in. Neither is more desirable than the other so long as it allows one to continue on.

    What the Old Ones offer is an understanding of why they are the way they are, and what should be important to being one of the undead. They don’t expect a particular unlife style; they don’t saddle themselves with the customs of the living, and they don’t particularly care for small details. They see the forest for the trees, not the individual trees themselves. It’s mortals in the broader sense, with an expanded perspective that matter, and it’s these that make the impact on the land the Kindred walk. An individual dies. Their mayfly lives may create impacts and ripples down the decades, or even eras but it’s how one impacts the many that matters, not their individual worth as human beings. This level of detachment is comfortable to many old Kindred, and it puts little actual responsibility to humans, so much as it puts responsibility on themselves to avoid particular fates through prescribed methods.

    What they also offer is a means to deal with the departed. Some Kindred are hounded by the ghosts of their victims, if not guilt and the Old Ones offer solutions to that. They offer a way to contact with those mortals that did matter to the Kindred who passed on long, long ago or via unintended actions on their part. They offer power derived from their state, and a means to resolve their remaining mortal concerns while still existing as something more than a mindless monster. Necromancy is an appealing prospect for the occult minded and even those that feel guilt and grief; it in of itself lends to a large amount of curiosity, especially as it’s saddled with neither the Circle of the Crone’s fractured cults or the Lancea et Sanctum’s decidedly highly Abrahamic bent. This makes those of older spiritual bents in life, or dissatisfaction with European paganism and the spillover Judeo-Christianity more likely to look to the Old Ones as an alternative.

    There is also the matter of death in regards to Kindred. Oh, they don’t die of old age, they are immortal after all, but they -can- die and this scares the shit out of them even when they don’t admit it. In fact, much of a Kindred’s existence is fueled towards keeping this fate at bay, never mind much of the instinctive drives. No other Covenant offers what death actually -means-, true, final death to Kindred, let alone the humans they prey upon. What happens? How can I change this? Even in regards to mortals, they offer answers, tangible answers that aren't backed by story and theory, but ones you can see and interact with. The lands of the dead themselves they’re both aware of and have access to. Curious of the afterlife? The Old Ones can show you what awaits. So long as you treat the dead properly, treat the land that allows you to walk in the flesh upon it properly in the context of being a vampire you can avoid the worst of it, and avoid ceasing entirely. It’s a revelation many seek; and here they are, with an actual answer to one of life’s most profound mysteries provided you follow some basic customs.

    Joining isn't entirely a simple affair; one must show understanding of ones own state, and how one affects the land of the living before they will even consider such, and that can take a long time indeed with many Kindred, or never occur at all. In turn one must show that the land has affected them back; they feed off the life it provides after all, at least while remaining in the lands of the living. This has an effect that can manifest in many ways, but they -are- affected by the living. They -need- them to walk in their own flesh. Those too convinced of their own superiority and ignorant of consequences are as likely to be shunned as they are quietly eliminated. The Old Ones have no desire to keep problems in their midst to create future complications for their lot. This keeps membership somewhat low; successful candidates are far more likely to be approached by them, individuals they see as fit than those that seek them out. A potential prospect is often observed unbeknownst to them for quite a while; sometimes they’re even approached by the restless dead in tests to see how the prospect responds.

    The other factor, perhaps even more important than the proper understanding and state of mind is acceptance by the ghosts of the Covenant, called the Forgotten Ones. Without their acceptance of a candidate, they shall never join. This can lead to some negotiations between the Kindred of the Covenant and the restless dead, but without their compliance as a whole (acting as a strange council of their own after a fashion), it’ll never occur. They’ll never be taught the Covenant’s blood magic, and at best will be kept marginalized, a servant with no true standing. This could change with time of course; the Old Ones are not above using a Kindred prospect without ever truly indoctrinating them. Not all of these unfortunates are aware of this fact, indeed, few are. Some manage to gain acceptance later and change their lot in unlife. The reality however is all other Kindred not of the Old Ones are generally seen this way. Ignorant property who don’t know yet their place. They are, after all, all dead and they are the lords of death.

    As a result, they are a society of secretive monsters, morbid ones at that and with often little direct ties to the living in a social sense. They’re more likely to approach a prospect they've already come to the idea of being a proper Old One, than to entertain those that approach them. To an outsider looking in, they have little of the pretenses of humanity in anything they do, and that’s often -frightening- to others. In turn you get two common threads of membership; those who believe they've found a place in unlife, a monstrous clarity, confidence and certainty even when they’re doing the most abhorrent of acts, and those curious mystics and seekers trying to expand their understanding (and that of the Covenant’s) further, plumbing the mysteries of life and death. Neither are the sort you’d consistently expect at Elysium gatherings, which often startles members of other Covenants when they do.

    Their membership often seems apolitical as a result; this is deceptive of course. They have individual agendas, desires and hungers. They do work together to achieve goals, and they most certainly do not tolerate others meddling with their affairs. Given their often withered humanity, this makes the results of those standing against them often a truly frightening, savage affair; between less incentives to “play nice” and the restless dead at their call the Old Ones are prone to decisive, brutal, cruel acts when it comes to Kindred politics and gallows-justice to achieve their ends with stubborn members of other Covenants. Curses, hauntings, and terror-tactics. They do have their politically minded and socially comfortable members of course, and in no small number; keeping them less outwardly noted works to the Old Ones favor though. People expect cruelty, deaths, strange curses and ghostly manifestations when dealing with the Old Ones; they don’t expect subtle political moves and social clout. It’s not a Covenant for grand-standers; but for those powers behind the throne, the kingmakers it can still be an effective vehicle to those ends provided they realize they won’t be the lime-lighters.

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    Philosophy of the Old Ones

    Post  Admin on Mon Dec 17, 2012 1:42 pm

    Philosophy:

    Given their often faltering humanity and outlooks, their interactions with the living generally are paradoxically distanced despite their desire to impact it directly, and many of the cultural traditions from their breathing days are also forgotten, fall to the wayside for importance or are considered irrelevant to the undead condition that would seemingly be the root for them being undead in the first place.

    While many want to be remembered among humanity, being remembered as who they -were- versus who they are -now- can switch in precedent, generally settling in with the former among the older among them as the Beast gains strength and ennui occasionally settles in. The living will not accept them as they are; they know they are monsters to some degree, more kin to the dead than the living.

    It does not mean, however, they can’t move among them, even enjoy the joys of life (even if just supping it directly from an artery) and otherwise must just be vicious and retributive as a given, or completely distant and just observers for that matter. Each must find it’s own place and their own peace. Like anything with an ounce of self-preservation they take precautions; recruit from the mortal populace who show promise (and the stomach) to act as intermediaries, sew their agents among living institutions and otherwise cloak themselves in the Masquerade even when they don’t use that particular term. That said, they do consistently follow a few outlooks that remain across the Covenant, even if their are local changes in methodology and perspective on implementing them.

    • You are Dead

    The Kindred of this Covenant see themselves as Hungry Dead, the forgotten that plague the living and remind them not only of their own mortality, but of past secrets and debts to the lands of the living and the dead alike. Their ghosts are the less fortunate, dwindling from a lack of life being fed to them as is their due, and eventually being pulled to the Underworld when the living world forgets them entirely until they grow strong enough be it by ritual or events in the lands of the dead to influence it once again. They do what they can for them not only to understand that state, one they teach they could fall to themselves or might have become if not for a twist of fate, but to avoid it and show the land some respect or sacrifice to keep that fate at bay. You are dead, but you are not a ghost.

    Topor is another major facet of this; Kindred through many circumstances become little more than preserved corpses when bereft of enough life-force, their spirit or too much trauma to their physical bodies. It’s taken very seriously by Old Ones in turn; it’s thought that one slips off into unknown reaches of the Underworld, or a dangerous inner-Underworld when it occurs, testing ones mind and identity against The Beast. No small amount of pomp and circumstance follows those who voluntarily enter it, and no small number of Old Ones use Torpor as a vehicle for understanding and testing themselves on their understanding of death.

    Some among the vampires of the Old One are more fatalistic; expecting to eventually become ghosts themselves, forgotten in the Underworld regardless of what actions they take, until the world forgets them completely leaving them as the last memories and relics of things now gone, or that if they’re not careful they won’t enter the Underworld and will cease to be entirely as they lose every last scrap of identity until they become Draugr. These are often the more vicious of their ranks; through whatever means necessary they seek to leave a mark on the living, and with those who saw their cultures erased making them the sole bitter individuals to remember what was things can turn inhumanly bitter and vicious. Whether by terror, enslavement or other things, they get remembered for the monsters they’ve become; so long as -someone- remembers them is all that matters.

    Many among this faction believe only those somehow marked for crimes or hungers, impropriety or something else horrible become like them, or there’s some other obscure selection process like a cruel destiny, leading lives that will make them forgotten hungry and wanting that has them become the hungry dead. What they did as mortals can’t be undone, so all that matters is they are now monsters, and so in turn they’re free to be as monstrous as they desire, forever struggling with the strictures undeath places upon them to limit them from dragging all the living down into death. These near-nihilists often are the bogeymen of the Covenant, and often a liability when their depredations draw too much hostile attention back.

    • The Dead Have Laws

    The vampires seek to avoid a similar fate and in turn, manipulate and influence the living world in their image (both out of spite for the living who’ve lost their way, and to keep some of their memories alive among the still living), hunting the living to maintain their place in the world, the life force they consume anchoring them in the material. There are laws to the undead state: You must feed or become an empty corpse. You must avoid the day and fire; they’re meant to light the way for the living and warm the living, not the dead. Deny who you are, and you’ll be consumed by your hungers. Forget who you are, and you’ll be without a mind. Be ignorant of who you are, and you’ll be without a body.

    Eventually these Laws cease to be things to be observed in the breach and become unavoidable; it won’t be long after that one will be without a body, and perhaps without a spirit either, less than even a ghost. The dead of the deep underworld have laws in their domains that are enforced by monstrous entities; in the living world, the Kindred’s own Beast does much the same, making certain it’s difficult to walk by day, making certain you keep anchored to the lands of the living by feeding, and making certain you retain a body by avoiding fire and sunlight. You can skirt these Laws if you learn how, manipulate the loopholes to your own ends; however they still remain, and eventually skirting them too much will be ones downfall. They aren’t physiological; they are supernatural laws and agreements made with the lands of the living and lands of the dead to exist within the lands of the living in ones own body.

    While to some outsiders it may appear muddled, the Beast is seen to do the same regarding the mind and spirit; outsiders assume it’s a nemesis trying to drag the Kindred down, away from who they were and into bestiality and worse. To the Old Ones, it’s only capable of doing so when the Kindred -itself- strays; indulge too much savagery, forget who you are, and of course the Beast is more prominent. It didn’t cause these acts; you did. It’s merely the consequence. The more you ignore who you were, forget yourself and what you’re becoming, the more it will do everything it can to make sure you don’t breach the other laws of the dead with ever increasing influence. In the end, you may be nothing but the body, controlled by your Beast making sure you keep feeding, keep out of sunlight, and keep away from fire with only the barest echoes of who you once were. This is the penalty for breaching the Laws.

    This does give the Old Ones a perspective on the Beast being a somewhat separate entity; a part of you, but a discrete part that blooms like a corpse-flower as you cast more of yourself to the grave. Your own actions actualize it until it overshadows you from the burden of your own actions. Ghosts become more inhuman the more they focus on their own deaths, the older they get and the more they forget who they were; it’s no different for Kindred, and the more they become like this the more the lands of the living shun them, if not seek to cast them to the Underworld under the burden of the broken Laws.

    Others among them believe their spirits/souls have already moved on and they are trapped between worlds. Not because of strange supernatural laws, but simply as a consequence of their strange state of existence as walking paradoxes. Bereft of that source of life, the living spirit and a proper rest which passed over, their bodies hunger for it, seeking it out even if it means getting right back up and moving as if spat up from the land itself. Their flesh and blood remembers, but doesn’t -feel- like it did for the part that did is elsewhere. They are dead well and truly and this is why they are cut off from the spirit, and when they’ve satiated their last desires, their duties among the living, their bodies find that final peace and what’s left of them in the physical rejoins the spiritual.

    This isn’t an inevitable event; efforts must be taken to be sure it does; simply wanting to find final rest (should it be desired at all) isn’t enough, efforts must be taken. This in turn makes some outsiders who hear of this faction assume they’re something of a Golconda cult; however the notions of what Golconda means are often skewed and biased towards humanity; the Old Ones eschew that empathizing and acting human in of itself achieves anything, there’s a difference between maintaining old knowledge and traditions so it’s not destroyed, and acting meeky as prey. Both philosophies do take into account the other practices of the Covenant, though usually through a different lense as to -why- they should be.

    • The Living Must Respect the Dead

    They in turn teach that they are retribution, a curse or something equally grim upon the land for the crimes of the living and a lack of proper respect, casting aside the old ways and traditions and slaughtering too much of their own without any true need creating great upheavals in the dead, and giving the dead much greater reign until they walk in flesh again. Improper funerary rites, lack of respect of the living, grave insults to the land, the land in turn makes sure there are consequences for these acts.

    Some see it as personal wrongs as the reason; it’s not necessarily the land itself, but a -spiritual- wrong that was committed upon them, or by them that brought them to what they are. While they themselves aren’t always capable of holding the cultural traditions they once did while alive (in fact, few do as the ages pass), they are nonetheless the results when things go foul among humanity.

    In other ways, they are the physical hands and teeth of the forgotten dead, the Forgotten Ones they venerate as kin and more. They are personifications of the dead and dying land itself; growing angry and hungry at its mistreatment, it’s poisoning, the portions (figuratively or literally) that were murdered but not allowed a proper final rest. Some believe they may be granted a final rest by those long-since passed on, dead gods cast down, or the by spirit world itself but among some Bloodlines in the Old Ones the final rest they speak of is a new beginning as something else just as monstrous, an internal change, not an external.

    Still, this gives the Old Ones a sense of entitlement when it comes to the living; just as the bodiless dead of those who walked the land before must be respected or suffer dire consequences, so too must they as the corporeal dead or suffer consequences much the same. They’re meant to consume the lifeforce of the living. They’re meant to have power over them; they have their Disciplines for a reason after all, granted by their state of existence, something mortals do not unless gifted by them. They’re meant to be heeded and respected.

    This makes the Old Ones a dire threat to mortal hunters who target them; they’re slaughtered without mercy, and given some of the greatest cruelties the Old Ones are capable of. Even an Old One in bad standing still can see the same retribution; so long as you’re part of the covenant, the ranks of their dead protect their own from the abuses of the living. While certainly there are those who fall from grace among the Covenant, they deal with their own in this regard first and foremost; exile or destruction. These exiles are the sole exception in regards to mortal hunters (as they were only Old One in the past tense), but often the Old Ones must clean up the messy consequences that may be left to plague the dead afterwards. In turn this means that the Old Ones have no direct agenda to deal with hunters destroying Kindred of other Covenants save when it seems a prudent action to do so.

    • The Dead Must be Respected

    In turn, the dead have considerable influence and interaction with these vampires. They exist for a reason, they are the prime inhabitants of the lands of the dead and the only fundamental difference between a Kindred in the mind of most Old Ones and a restless ghost is that they still inhabit their bodies. The laws of the dead change accordingly as a result of ones state of being while dead; there are commonalities between ghosts needing anchors to exist in the mortal realm, and Kindred anchoring to their bodies by taking from the living. Indeed the ghosts of the lands of the dead, and those still tied to the living world show stark differences. This is also true of Kindred, as their urges and needs change in the Underworld. Of course, there are exceptions; ghosts that seem to anchor to an event, to their own death rather than tangible things, but then so too can Kindred find strange means to alter their condition, nevermind what happens if they walk among the dead for a prolonged time. Ghosts -can- become prey by the Covenant, certainly; the dead to be respected are those they consider their allies and teachers, the Forgotten Ones, not those lost souls who do not know their proper place.

    Indeed, primarily where the Old Ones gain their knowledge of Necromancy are these ghosts and denizens of the Underworld; it makes only sense then, that they try to maintain good relations with those that seek to interact with the Kindred, not only in case one of their own should suffer destruction of body and become a ghost, but to make certain they’re not hounded by the dead they often create. It does the Covenant no good to make a sojourn into the Underworld only to be harried by ghosts of their victims; the Forgotten Ones as they call them see to that as best they can, while in turn the Old Ones maintain their anchors, aid them when they can and act as fleshy hands when the Forgotten Ones have none. Without the Forgotten Ones, the Covenant would suffer grievously at the hands of the restless dead who bear them malice for whatever reason, and it’d certainly make progress in Necromancy and their understanding of death as it related to them that much more difficult.

    There is something of a gap in the ranks of the dead of much of the Americas. Those who were seen to as wronged the original peoples are often warred upon from obsessive dead minds, which makes many of the dead settlers, conquerors, missionaries from the active settlement years an object of particular aggression. Many of the earlier explorers and trappers are before this, and in turn don’t get the same hostility but nonetheless often leaves them in a tenuous position when these old grudges come to the fore.

    Those generations removed, that were born in the land rather than intruders, that seem to be “touched” or otherwise a part of the land now are treated differently; some are brought in the fold, at least if they had some respect for those who came before regardless of race or gender. Often these were the newcomers to the land that were reliant on the original peoples, rather than seeking to quash them and in turn rankle the host of the Forgotten Ones the least, be these individuals ghosts, or Kindred prospects.

    This leads to wars in the Autochthonous Depths in the Underworld from these old grudges, and the Old Ones in turn are often made a part of these conflicts; at least having to manage the affairs when they spill into the lands of the living. The Old Ones as a whole have no true cultural bias as a Covenant; it’s utterly a personal thing that often does colour the local dealings with others when one or more holding such are in power. This in turn often gives outsiders a skewed perception of the Old Ones without realizing it’s not a Covenant tradition but a consequence of dealing with many of the dead in the Americas, but they rarely care enough to correct the matter.
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    Rituals and Observances of the Old Ones

    Post  Admin on Mon Dec 17, 2012 1:53 pm

    Rituals and Observances

    Given the fairly occult orientated nature of the Old Ones, they have have many rites they perform individually. However, despite lacking the tightly-knit nature of some Covenants, they do have some overall observances and rites that the entire Covenant performs commonly, often as a group. These often confuse outside observers who happen upon them; the Covenant rarely shows much in the line of public sociability with one another, but of course what happens publicly and what happens behind the scenes privately are very different. A few major points always see focus, regardless of where the Old Ones reside.

    • Necromancy

    The Covenant as a whole practices Necromancy, though it is not expected that every member do so individually. Channeling the powers of death through morbid rites, the Old Ones purportedly learned how to use their Beast and vitae as bridge into the living world for these fearsome powers. They always require some death-associated item to act as the conduit, grounding the rituals power into the living, material world. Purportedly it was learned from communion with the restless dead, or Kindred consuming waters from the rivers of death themselves. From communicating with the dead, laying horrible curses to actually entering the lands of the dead itself, Necromancy is heavily detached from anything living, or what many would consider human. In turn it colors the Covenant itself as morbid and inhuman given the toll it takes on the practitioners.

    • Feeding the Forgotten

    The Forgotten Ones, the restless dead given homage by the Old Ones do not lend their power to the Kindred of the Covenant via Necromancy without a price. The Old Ones are expected to perform duties to them based on their strange hungers and motivations. Given they don’t follow predictable times and near constantly hunger, the Speaker of the Dead generally assigns when and who shall indulge the Forgotten Ones. These acts are called Feeding the Forgotten; giving them sustenance after a fashion to allow them to continue to easily aid and teach the Old Ones.

    Often the Speaker handles these responsibilities alone, though it’s common for others of the Covenant to be required as well in more sensitive matters. There is no set method on how this homage is done; they often follow obscure and inscrutable rites dictated by the strange entities, morbid omens and torpid nightmares or conversely involve the care and maintenance for those whom have anchors; in some case killing or tormenting those the a Forgotten One howls for.

    Most often the ritualistic aspects are generally performed on the dark of the New Moon, while the others may occur at anytime as the Speaker of the Dead or Council of Bone and Dust decree. Murder is often a component; it’s not uncommon for the actions to jeopardize the Humanity of the Old One involved which is why the responsibilities aren’t handed off to other Old Ones without consideration or often managed by the Speaker alone to offset the damage they may bring to other Old Ones.

    Necromantic rites are also commonplace; it’s said that the Speaker of the Dead is entrusted with rites that allow the Forgotten Ones to more clearly communicate their hungers and desires and know which needs to be fulfilled at which time, as well as implement them. In general, small strange morbid shrines are also made to the Forgotten Ones, given offerings, questions and sacrifices to appease them outside of the more formal rituals.

    Feeding the Forgotten also is a component of acceptance within the Old Ones for new members; every Old One has had to perform this function to be fully accepted enough to learn Necromancy. This in part is to make the new recruit understand that even they pay homage to and are responsible something else besides themselves, as well as give them a hard taste of the realities of being an Old One and relations with the dead. Being first faced with a powerful member of the Forgotten Ones is often a rattling experience.

    • Marking Those of the Land

    There are those “of the land”, the Old Ones themselves and then there are outsiders and intruders, without much in between. Individuals that consistently prove to be useful to the Old Ones, display ongoing loyalty or show an understanding of the cycles of life and death or show traits that seem to be developed from these cycles within the region (such as developing a Bloodline the Old Ones locally accept or a new one entirely in the area) often garner that honorific of being “of the Land”. Really, it’s a title that means “Something about them is noteworthy, give them some respect and watch them; they’d make a good servant or ally” in the end and a way of “marking” other Kindred who’d potentially be future recruits should they prove themselves or have enough of a pedigree that they're place is seen among the Old Ones, rather than where they currently reside socially speaking.

    There isn't any highly formalized rite of acceptance, rather than overall collective agreement among the Old Ones that they deserve a continued existence (for now), and that they are a useful potential ally if not servant, perhaps even a future Old One if they do well under observation. Usually the title simply starts to get used comfortably when referring to the individual without much thought put to it.

    While not treated as equals to those of the Covenant themselves, they are certainly given more heed and leeway to their actions. If there could be said to be a more precise practice associated with it, often objects such a small carvings or pictures that also have renditions of their names and notable features are kept to represent these individuals, generally by the Keepers of the Last Breath and Emissary of Blood to keep track of whom garnered such consideration lest they are forgotten from the frequent Torpor cycles the Covenant members enter.

    Of course being considered of the land doesn't make them untouchable; far from it. Simply, more gravity is taken regarding whether they should continue to exist or if they should be dealt with should they cross the Old Ones. Those of the land are generally given more of a reprieve when things turn sour, punishments perhaps, but are generally allowed to continue on and are given the full extent of Old One justice and consideration; those not of the land are often murdered (or worse) the moment a proper opportunity arises and certainly aren't given much consideration or worth anymore than snuffing out a parasite is.

    This doesn't mean the Old Ones are hostile of those not so marked, individually one may interact with them nearly as one sees fit; they just aren't collectively seen to lend much of use or importance to anything, making them playthings rather than those that have their opinions heard, or consideration given by the Covenant as a whole.

    • Rite of the Little Death

    Torpor is generally seen as travelling into ones own personal Underworld by the Old Ones. Given the effect it can have on memory, as well as self identity beyond the effect it has on ones supernatural potency, it’s treated with no small amount of importance. Individuals who voluntarily succumb to Torpor are often given burial rites along with pains taken by other Old Ones to create proper tombs and secure burial sites. While it does occur that an Old One may want it’s resting place secret, there is at least some public acknowledgement via grim tokens of their identity being placed on display and given what passing respect and farewell. Small shrines, tales recounting the Old One and sacrifices to the dead are all common aspects of these festivities.

    Much the same is done for those who succumbed to it due to violence, or other strange circumstances; if they are unable to rouse the sleeper prematurely, or it is seen that they may require more to quell their hungers by the Council of Bone and Dust, often the rest will undertake a secure burial or tomb creation.

    In the latter case, it’s a soft method of dealing with those Old Ones who've proven too taxing on the rest of the Covenant often by overly feeding on other Old Ones when their blood gets too potent to the extent it causes overt strife. Rather than attempt to reawaken them, those so judged are left to rest a few decades in hopes the pull of death won’t drive them to consume the other undead as heavily. Often the ghouls of the Covenant are left to maintain the tombs and burial sites, often with the monitoring of an Keeper of the Last Breath or ghostly defenders until they reawaken.

    • Rite of Last Descent

    A solemn rite performed in two instances; upon a Kindred who seeks to exist the rest of its days within the Lands of the Dead, or upon the Draugr of the Covenant once captured who've proved too problematic for the lands of the living. A rare social ceremony that usually involves potent necromantic rites to access the lands of the dead, these individuals are lead by a procession into the Underworld itself using whatever cultural trappings the individual had in life if known, where the Old Ones give their farewells and blessings, often with what tokens of favor can be garnered for barter among the dead.

    They are not expected to be seen again; the trials of the Underworld are harsh, but the peace Kindred may find there are expected to be a balm to allow Draugr a measure of composure and dignity they would not have tormented by the living, as well peace to more coherent Old Ones who find their time among the living is at an end. Some are still sought out after the rite is performed as sages and shamans who have a stronger insight into the dead; they become after a fashion, Forgotten Ones in honorifics.

    • Howl of the Damned

    Given the often retributive nature the Covenant has, it should be no surprise that they take the murder of one of their own the gravest of seriousness when done by an outsider. While the reality doesn’t always follow the expectation for it, every Old One is expected to take part in punishing the murderer in some fashion. Be it the laying of curses, actively hunting them like an animal, destroying the offenders property or making their existence difficult through more subtle means, it’s never left be passively. Such a grievous interruption to the cycle of death and the understanding of the murdered Old One is generally regarded as a near-insurmountable setback. They may continue on as a ghost, perhaps, but more likely they are cast to oblivion and disrupting the land in the process.

    Less reputable members of the Covenant that are murdered often see less effort put into such retribution, but in every case the Old Ones make a show of my “my brother and I against each other, my brother and I against all others” so as not to be seen as weak or complacent. They unleash some of the worst things imaginable so that anyone else that would consider such an act would realize it’d be not in their best interests. Often rituals that make certain the offender becomes a ghost are performed; they are then tormented, bodiless, even down into the Underworld itself if possible so that even death itself is seen as no escape.

    When the offender is rendered bodiless, a collective rite that involves rousing The Beast with inhuman howls, wails, the gnashing of teeth and other cultural grief-rites takes place to show that there will be others, if only the Beasts of the Covenant when the last of their memories and mind fails that will remember who passed on. Often searches for what might have become the murder victims Anchors, or if none are found and they’re believed to still exist in some way in the Underworld, quests to the lands of the dead to find them occur. Should they still exist, they are always attempted to be brought into the fold of the Forgotten Ones. It doesn't always happen; many who pass on from being Kindred are mad or so inhuman as to best left to their own devices or bound by necromantic rites, but the attempt is still made to preserve -something- of their membership. Small shrines in turn are often made hoping that some mementos of who they were can help maintain them from passing on to utter non-existence.
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    Titles and Duties of the Old Ones

    Post  Admin on Mon Dec 17, 2012 2:22 pm

    Titles and Duties

    Certain actions and responsibilities must be taken for the Old Ones not only to progress in their understanding of Necromancy, but also to maintain proper relations with the restless dead and the world around them. In turn, while not strictly regimented they do acknowledge specific responsibilities and merit within their membership; gaining a title is a rarity, as is being assigned a particular ongoing duty given the fairly hands-off approach the Covenant takes to many vampires individual Requiems. In turn, those who gain one are seen as the most competent, fearsome and reliable of the Covenant; they're never handed out as a way to curry favor or social nicety. This means the majority of the Covenant simply exist as Old Ones, without function or responsibility until they gain recognition beyond those assigned by the leaders of the Covenant in times of need which can be few and far between after their initiation. It's strange to think that one could exist comfortably within such an inhuman Covenant, largely without ongoing expectations, but much like the lay members of the Lancea et Sanctum such is often the case. You can't force enlightenment and understanding of ones responsibilities and state. Eventually the Old One will find their place and find recognition, if they don't actively seek it out in the first place. It can take decades or longer before this is achieved, so patience is key in this regard, something one would expect of immortals but doesn't always hold true.

    • Speaker of the Dead

    The Speaker of the Dead is something of a contradiction to many outsiders who expect clear-cut leadership, save those undead who consider an absolute, singular tyrant to be only one limited view. The Speaker interprets the desires, needs and commands of the non-corporeal dead, the ghostly ancestors called The Forgotten. The position is never assigned, though certainly respected members of the covenant may weigh their opinion (or try underhanded or taboo tactics) on the unquiet dead to guide the process. In the end, it’s the Forgotten Ones though that make the end decision, and the individual so picked really doesn’t have a choice in the matter. They effectively become haunted.

    In turn he’s given the support of the Forgotten Ones, and in most respects acts as a consistent leader of the Old Ones through a measure of respect and fear; denying the dead their due comes with grave consequences, and while they lack the strength of a body, many are quite capable of other punishments and curses to make up for this. In turn, The Speaker of the Dead is given something of a reprieve from the depredations of the restless dead, their secrets and support in the form of ghostly powers used on their behalf when reasonable. Additionally, given the nature of the position, the Old Ones generally respect or outright fear the Speaker as a result, even if in truth the Title is not one of sole leadership.

    The Forgotten who abuse the Speaker often find themselves ostracized by the others, and potentially cast out of the living world by an angered Speaker and the rest of the Old Ones, bound with Necromancy or even destroyed in the Underworld. Most Forgotten Ones have the wherewithal to realize that alienating their fleshy relatives would be damning to them.

    They also determine if ghosts not associated with their ancestors gain a continued existence in their regions; they do not tolerate ghosts of outsiders creating issues for them nor the Forgotten, and have little vested interest in kowtowing to the useless restless dead who only bring suffering to the Covenant. If they won’t move on, the Speaker usually has little recourse but to cast them into the lands of the dead expecting them to go to their proper end, or allow the other Forgotten Ones to do what they will to such an unfortunate to rid the lands of their presence.

    An additional duty of the Speaker of the Dead is to speak on behalf of a criminal as deemed by the Old Ones. As they represent the interests of the restless and walking dead, one who may soon-to-be stripped of their body and sent to final death falls well under their purview. The Speaker of the Dead weighs what they’ve done (or have been accused of) after an investigation has been made, and determines along with the Fist of Bone and the Council of Bone and Dust their punishment. Generally the Speaker speaks on behalf of their accomplishments towards the Old Ones should there be any and their value to continue with flesh on their bones, assuming they have any. Such treatments may also be levied against problematic ghosts as well. The Forgotten Ones also weigh their judgement by dint of the position; in this way it seems that the Speaker has the most say, when in truth it’s generally more true that they simply have more support and often simply relay the judgement of others.

    • The Fist of Bone

    The Fist of Bone is something of one part judge, one part sheriff by European vampire standards. When blood must be spilled, the restless dead properly appeased with sacrifice and restitution made, it’s the Fist of Bone that either directly enforces the necessary punishments, or sets in motion the preparations of the Old Ones as a whole to make it so. While they do pursue their own investigations before a crime is known to the Old Ones as a whole, more commonly they are called upon by the Speaker of the Dead. Some take the title as something entirely personal, levying the type of punishments (with approval of the Speaker of the Dead of course) themselves, and pursuing the investigations purely with their own resources with minimal involvement of the rest of the Covenant. Others make it a far more open affair, and see themselves as being more the representative of “community justice”. Individuals occupying the position in turn are often expected to be hardened and persistent; there is no room for squeamishness or hesitation in enforcing the punishments, and those easily distracted make poor investigators given the inhumanly long span of time such things may take. Mercy is not a trait expected, though some level of temperance is to make the proper judgement is, rather than something ill-suited and knee-jerk reactionary.

    The Fist of Bone may take other Old Ones and other supernaturals as Fingers; these act as enforcers, blood-hounds and investigators, usually on a temporary basis until they’ve proved themselves many times over. Fingers are not required to be vampires nor ghost; they can be ghouls and stranger entities that hold loyalty to the vampires of the Covenant. It’s not unheard of a werewolf or other being to become and even retain the title of Finger, and can be given quite a bit of leeway provided they play by the dictates of the Old Ones. They are expected to defer to the vampires, and it’s not expected for them to truly understand the dictates and hungers of the Forgotten, though exceptions do occur.

    • Emissary of Blood

    The Emissary of Blood is responsible for two duties; managing and maintaining the interests of the Old Ones among the living to make certain their desires, and that of the restless dead are realized and as a liaison (or more accurately, indoctrinator and manipulator) to those vampires who hold no place within the Old Ones proper. Only those whom are capable of easily influencing the living maintain the title, though the means can vary wildly, be it extensive networks of those under the effect of Disciplines, viniculi or mundane leverage.

    They are not expected to be humane, or even blend in with human society; only that they are capable of herding them towards needed ends. With vampires they are expected to at least be able to present a civil front and articulate the traditions of the Old Ones in an understandable way, as well as have the skill to turn others in favor of the Covenant. In turn the Emissary of Blood usually has quite a bit of influence and say among the Old Ones regarding policies related to the living herds and outside walking dead. Given the nature of their duties, they are also the ones most versed in outside Covenants and can expect their words to be respected or heeded when it comes to such.

    • The Forgotten Ones

    The Forgotten is a Title given to the dead ancestors of the Old Ones themselves. These may be ghosts still tied to the mortal realm (if mostly forgotten with no-one giving them further reverence), but more often they are those forgotten dead who no longer have anchors to the land of the living, or otherwise have become so inhuman they represent their deaths more than they do their living days as something closer to a death-god of sorts along with rumored more potent beings in the lands of the dead. Individuals that were also mortal relatives who passed on to become ghosts after an Old One became undead are also often considered among the Forgotten. While the Speaker of the Dead is considered to have the most authority dealing with the Forgotten, all others are also expected to hold some respect as well. This is partially spiritual, but also pragmatic; it’s quite possible a Vampire may see its end, and while rare, become a Forgotten One themselves.

    The name of the title is not a reference directly related to treatment by the Old Ones; rather it’s a reference to those respected dead whom the living no longer acknowledge properly. While many lose much of their identity, simply requiring being given a proper rest to move on (which the Old Ones are usually capable of providing), others, usually the older among them can be quite potent, self-aware and -hungry-. These must be placated, and among those who were considered quite powerful while walking alive or among the undead they are listened too. This in turn means that some Forgotten by dint of the Speaker are capable of guiding and manipulating the Covenant (if careful) towards their own petty agendas. The Speaker of the Dead is expected to minimize this, balancing the needs of these ancient ghosts with that of the walking dead, but the balance can easily skew especially with a weak Speaker, having to balance the howls numerous Forgotten or running across a Forgotten of extreme power.

    • The Weavers

    The Weaver occupies a strange position among the Old Ones; They’re the vampire whom is expected to truck with the spirits and stranger beings that don’t count themselves among the dead, nor the mortal herds, and also act as keepers of strange and forgotten lore. The Old Ones are beings of death; they do not fully reside in the lands of the living, nor do they bear homage to the living spirits in turn. However, errant beings of the spirit world and other strange realms do often create complications or meddle in the affairs of the Old Ones, especially when they seek to prey upon the Forgotten Ones or in some cases, vice versa.

    The Weaver brings these disparate and contradictory worlds together, binding them with agreements, or laying them low with sheer arcane might. Given the difficulties for ghosts and vampires alike to deal with living spirits of things, the Weaver often has cultivated powers, be it obscure rites, devotions or strange Disciplines tailored just to such a task, often jealously guarded. They are also expected to be well-versed in the strange occult secrets the world contains tied to things outside the purview of the dead to keep order among those who don’t respect the dead among the other races, often making them some of the most occult informed members of the Covenant. This often makes a Weaver quite strange and inhuman in turn; having to deal with such alien entities, and perform such weird rites can take its toll.

    Weavers can employ any being they see fit as their servant provided they maintain the safety of the Covenant and it’s not unheard of for them to have strange spirits, werewolves or other beings in their employ who are more tied to the other worlds. It is not uncommon for them to cultivate proteges to pass on their knowledge should they seek torpor or expect monumental dangers that may strip them of a fleshy existence. Some simply do it because they know things so damning or nightmarish they must unload the burden upon another. Since they can simply choose an untitled vampire to groom as a Weaver or servant, some see it as a curse to be avoided at all costs despite the benefits.

    Given this and their other aspects, they are often greatly feared; they deal with what many of the Covenant are ill-informed our outright ignorant of, let alone capable of easily stopping. In a way, they are treated as black magicians and witches; exceedingly useful when laying a difficult problem low or gaining some strange bit of lore, but breathing a proverbial sigh of relief once they retreat back into their havens doing who knows what weird rite. They are also watched, though from a distance for signs of disloyalty; they’re simply too dangerous to leave entirely to their own devices, and so despite how uncomfortable it may make some Old Ones, they’re often invited to Covenant discussions and gatherings that aren’t related to their duties, if only to keep them connected to the society of the dead lest they forget their place.

    It’s not unheard of rare Weavers with quite the fearsome and powerful reputation to wield nearly as much influence as Speaker of the Dead though they never publicly trump or overrule them if they wish to remain with much Covenant standing for long. To do so is to invite the ire of the Forgotten Ones, the Speakers and likely much of the Covenant itself. Still, few want to cross a potent Weaver given what they may be capable of, but one seen to be openly manipulating and blaspheming the dead is not long for walking as flesh and blood. In the end, they are beholden to the dead, not the living spirit or other strange beings they may truck with whether they like it or not.

    • Keepers of the Last Breath

    The Keepers are the historians of the Covenant; given much of their history is legend and passed down through oral tales, the Keepers of the Last Breath are responsible for recording as much as possible and remembering these stories. Many learn Devotions or other strange abilities to record these into their own (or others) very blood or flesh, while others use the modern advances in technology and written word to make certain little is lost though these are much more the exception than the rule. Given the erosion of memories through Torpor, degradation of humanity and other factors, they play an important role of also maintaining many of the rites and traditions of the Old Ones, especially from those that have lost their minds or succumbed to prolonged torpors or Final Death itself.

    They should not be seen as doddering librarians and archivists; quite to the contrary in many cases. They are expected to go out and gain this knowledge, to research and look for fragments of information that may have been collectively forgotten. They are as much archaeologist as record keeper, digging through forgotten burial grounds or making sojourns to the lands of the dead in some instances. Next to the Speakers of the dead, these are often some of the most accomplished necromancers of Covenant, at least in breadth of rituals they maintain, often some known only to them. When it comes to Necromancy they’re more likely to be entreated as tutors than others, and their knowledge is often called upon to find the means to unearth previously unheard of rites.

    • Council of Bone and Dust

    The ruling body of the Old Ones; while most have expectations that overlap with other titles, and they in turn keep these, they are generally the oldest or most accomplished of the Old Ones as a whole. It is they who set policies, accept members, declare wars and many of the other more organizational expectations. They are the spiritual hub; while some individually may have more respect than their peers, they are a council and are expected to take pains that every Old One is accounted for rather than just a select few.

    So long as they don’t overtly make war upon each other and compromise the covenant with rash acts that affect the whole of the Old Ones, each member of the Council is given fairly free reign in regards to what they do to any childer, followers and others within and outside the Covenant. They meet rarely, usually only on matters of great importance, personally or otherwise, or to air grievances between each other (which can get quite bloody indeed). Members of the Council of Bone and Dust are given personal titles that supersede any prior names they may have had, and in turn tend only to refer to each other by those unless acting outside of the Council.

    Members of the Council can have additional titles; it’s as common for them to tend to other more specific functions within the Covenant as to be independent of them, though often they groom successors for their prior positions.
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    Membership Priveleges of the Old Ones

    Post  Admin on Mon Dec 17, 2012 2:32 pm

    Membership Privileges:

    General Advantage: Necromancy; purchased as an Out-of-Clan cost of New Dots x7, with additional rituals being Ritual Rating x2.

    Old One Merits

    Favor of the Forgotten Ones (•)
    Prerequisites: Status: Old Ones •

    Effect: The forgotten dead may be distant and rarely within the lands of the living, but those among them who act as patrons to the Old Ones take particular interest in you. For every dot of Covenant Status: Old Ones you gain a dot of the Mentor Merit relating to a specific Forgotten One. There are some limitations to the 3 Skills that can be assigned to the Mentor; it may not be assigned Computer, Science or Drive. Commonly one of these skills is assigned to Occult. In addition, it has no Resources to substitute for a Skill. It may freely act as a teacher for Necromancy rituals up to its Mentor Rating, and if left to it’s own devices, may aid the character with a ghostly Numina from time to time.

    Drawback: It will still demand favors for its patronage to be maintained which only become more challenging and demanding the higher the rating just like any other Mentor, and are likely to be quite unpleasant given it’s nature. Should one refuse the Forgotten One, one is likely to see the eventual loss of the merit, or worse, haunting backlash for the disrespect.

    Vulture’s Buffet (•)
    Prerequisites: Status: Old Ones •

    Effect: Normally cold, dead blood even when properly stored lacks much Vitae to be drawn from it unless consumed in excessive amounts. Prolonged contact with the Forgotten Ones and the macabre rites of the Old Ones however, has changed you. You’ve long sinced learn to consume the latent echoes of life for additional nourishment, draining the dim spark of life that eludes most other vampires. For you, recently drained or properly stored blood only requires an amount equal to your Blood Potency to be consumed and gain the proper nourishment. Long dead and putrid blood ceases to be unpalatable as well if from the proper sources; instead you may gain a Vitae from the consumption of a number of pints equal your Blood Potency x2 without any rolls or expenditures to hold it down no matter how foul and rotten.

    Drawback: Beyond the disgust such feedings may elicit from other vampires in some social circles, wallowing so heavily in death and utilizing dead blood causes difficulty for you to call upon the Blush of Life. Increase its cost to 2 Vitae per scene.

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