An ancient Brujah, Tanitbaal-Sahar, began codifying the Road of Desire in Carthage during the 9th century BCE . He later moved to Rome, where he became the lover of the Ventrue Prince Camilla, and completed his visionary work “On Hunger and its Satisfaction”. The Road flourished in a decadent Rome in the days before the Third Punic War. It was forged in the fires of Grecian and Zoroastrian wisdom, the ideas of a soul’s inner liberty that cannot be constrained by any force, internal or external. The keys to unlocking this freedom were found not in denying the soul’s myriad pleasures, but in embracing them.
Adherents of the Road of Desire are hedonists in the truest sense of the term. They seek to understand their existence and place in the world through enjoying all of the varied experiences that unlife could offer, regardless of whether they are considered acceptable or desirable by society at the time. Other Cainites, especially since the conversion of Europe to Christianity, tend to equate the Road of Desire with the Path of Sin, assuming that all followers of the Road are focused on outraging the sensibilities of the godly.
The truth is that the Hedonists view the Ten Commandments as irrelevant at best, and at worst as a dangerous constraint which risks miring Cainites in mediocrity and subservience to moral codes they have outgrown. They do not seek to offend the faithful: their motives are far more inward-looking. They test their own limits, explore taboos, indulge in acts which might disgust them, all in pursuit of self-knowledge and breaking the shackles of false virtue. If their actions do sometimes shock and offend others, maybe this will lead them to question why, and perhaps to begin their own journey down the Road of Desire.
- Bloodlines: Ádísur (Path of the Devil only), Baali, Gargoyles (Path of the Devil only), Szantovich Tzimisce
- Tame the Beast with the pleasure it desires, for it feels rather than thinks
- Shame and inhibition are blasphemies against the self
- The embrace is an opportunity for growth, it is wasteful not to experience all that is possible.
- Avoid things which bring you no pleasure, for the Beast grows restless and hungry
|Level of Sin||Description|
|1*||Feeling shame for your actions; failing to indulge your desires|
|1||Failing to ride the wave of frenzy|
|2||Any display of shame; putting the needs of others before your own interests|
|3||Swearing an oath; associating with those who bring you no pleasure|
|4||Refusing to feed or kill when necessary|
|5||Encouraging the tenets or virtues of another Road; Acknowledging any constraint on your own behaviour besides the Road of Desire|
*: only for someone with Road rating of 6
Much of Desire is taught from an elder Hedonist, called the Tempter, to a student, called the Novice, in a deeply personal relationship mirroring that of sire to childe. The first steps on the Road often comes before the Novice is even a vampire, and involve breaking the strictures and confines of useless moralities. The Embrace is the next step, dark hunger and primal urges uncoiling from the neonate’s tattered soul. Tempters teach the nascent Novice not to shy from urges, but to follow and satisfy every desire. This learning process is also reciprocal, as a Novice’s reaction to Desire’s teachings can inspire the Tempter to better understanding. Though the earliest steps can see deep cruelties applied to the Hedonist, these pains are never needless. The relationship between Tempter and Novice oft becomes perversely warm and caring as the adherent walks further along the Road. Even after they’ve been acknowledged as full travelers of the Road, Novices tend to travel with their Tempters, having long since come to desire their company.
With a heavy emphasis on personal freedom and individual desire, a regimented Road would be antithetical to the needs of Hedonists. Loosely organized at best, what little structure the Road does possess is built around facilitating the teacher-student relationship that best spreads the teachings of Desire. The ashen priests of Via Peccati are known as praeceptors, gathering students and cults around them and unleashing souls with their truths. Great Hedonists are granted respect, but never more than they’ve earned.
The Hedonists are a core element of the Anarch Revolt, and they have a lot to contribute to its way forward. As such, praeceptors come together to select the most courageous and free Tempters to represent the Road to the Anarchs.
Rituals and Observances
Treasuring individuality and personal freedom, the Road observes few formal observances and rituals aside from the mentor-student relationship. The festival of Saturnalia is the exception; the December liberties, where free speech is common and accepted, are too intoxicating to ignore. The association with the ancient Roman sun god also tickles Hedonists who appreciate irony. No pleasures are denied to groups of Hedonists who meet during the day, and the most advanced Tempter takes on the title of Lord of Misrule, directing their lessers in exquisite temptation.
Temptation. The Hedonists are free and their Road full of promise, they are adept at recognizing the desires of others. Their aura modifier affects attempts to cajole and entice.