Roads and Paths

All Cainites must hunt, drink blood and at least risk killing living creatures in order to survive. They are also subject to intense bursts of rage and fear when they encounter sunlight. Eventually, most Cainites are driven to commit acts which would have been unthinkable in their mortal lives. This in turn whittles away at the sense of morality they once had.

When a Cainite loses their last shred of humanity, they wassail. They are lost forever in a singular drive to hunt, feed, kill. These “wights” are not mindless: they are more like predatory animals, and will take instinctive steps to preserve themselves including hiding or running from large groups. Such Cainites are inevitably hunted down by their Clans or domains to prevent them from drawing unnecessary attention to their kin.

Many Cainites find it easier to hold to a different set of moral principles than those that guide humanity. These Roads have been developed over the millennia by Cainites seeking a way to control their baser urges and survive the long years. A Cainite may either follow the overall Road or one of the Paths within that Road which focus on more closely on specific aspects of the Road. A Cainite on Path of Community is still part of the Road of Humanity, but they have additional rules they adhere to focused on benefitting the whole community.

Your Road tells you a significant amount about your approach to the Anarch Revolt, what you might be willing to compromise on, and what principles you will follow to your grave. As such, Roads are one of the key units of organisation in Blood and Fire. Places on the four strategic councils will be allocated to each Road who will choose between them which of their members holds a position.

There will be twenty spaces between the four strategic councils. Each of the six major Roads (Beast, Desire, Humanity, Kings, Light, and Lilith), including their respective Paths, has three of these spaces. The remaining two are shared between the Roads of the Abyss, Blood, and Metamorphosis, because the privileged position that the Banu Haqim, Lasombra, and Tzimisce hold in the Anarch Revolt.

The Road of Bones has no direct representation, but the Bahari councillors are sometimes inclined to put forward the Necronomists’ views alongside their own; the same is true of the relationship between the Road of Yasa and the Road of Kings. Other minor Roads and Paths go unrepresented, for good or ill.

Major Roads

  • Road of the Beast – “Society has no authority over the individual”
  • Road of Desire“Through enjoying all possible experiences we gain understanding of the world and our place in it”
    • Path of Angra Mainyu – Zoroastrianism – “I have been cursed by evil and must explore it”
    • Path of the Devil – “Submission is anathema; slavery must be annihilated”
    • Path of Sin – “The soul’s inner liberty cannot be constrained by any force, internal or external”
  • Road of Humanity – “The ethics we knew in life are vital to remaining who we are”
    • Path of Breath – “To be human is to act human”
    • Path of Community – “Only when you surround yourself with humanity can you retain humanity”
    • Path of Illumination – “Seeking the goodness and spiritual brilliance in the Cainite soul means rejecting the idea that we are Damned”
  • Road of Kings – “Better to rule in darkness than humble yourself falsely before the light”
    • Path of Chivalry – “Your word and duty are more important than anything else”
    • Path of the Slain – “Personal responsibility, courage, and initiative are how we master the Beast”
    • Path of the Vizier – “Overt displays of power are no way to maintain control”
  • Road of Light – “Service to the divine gives purpose to unlife”
    • Path of the Æsir – Norse paganism – “Even the gods are subject to fate, and the old ways and traditions must be upheld”
    • Path of Ahura Mazda – Zoroastrianism – “Having explored evil, I must reject it”
    • Path of Christ – Christianity – “The Embrace is a cosmic test of character”
    • Path of Life – Judaism – “The Embrace is an invigorating call to study the nature of the divine”
    • Path of the Prophet – Islam – “The Embrace is a call to destroy the servants of evil”
    • Path of the Pure – Catharism – “God represents absolute truth and perfection, beyond matter and desire, and we seek unity with her”
    • Path of the Watchful Gods – (primarily Greek and Roman) paganism – “The Embrace is a call to regain the gods’ favour, having obviously lost it”
    • Path of the Wheel – Druidic paganism – “Serving the Great Balance requires darkness as well as light”
  • Road of Lilith – “The Dark Mother creates and teaches through and with pain”
    • Path of Making – “We worship Lilith by making monsters”
    • Path of Thorns – “Wisdom, like alchemy, comes from careful study”
    • Path of Veils – “We reject Caine and the society built on Noddist lies”

Minor Roads and Paths

Mechanics

Blood & Fire uses the Mind’s Eye Theatre mechanics for Morality, with some significant revision – please be aware that these rules are significantly different from their tabletop equivalents or previous editions of MET. As well as the addition of Auras and the changes to the Effects of Low Humanity (below), each Road and Path has its own unique list of “Sins” that attract Beast Traits. This replaces MET’s system of Morality Merits, which we are not using. The rest of the rules around Beast Traits and Combat, Degeneration Challenges, and Beast Traits, as well as their interaction with Frenzy, are as described in the System Reference Document – this includes the Expanded Beast Trait System (with Aggravated Circumstances being tailored to each Road).

Aura

The conviction with which you follow your Road affects your interactions with others; the strength of your aura will affect all social interactions with mortals. A character’s Aura may also modify challenges relating to relevant social interactions with Cainites, and all challenges relating to situations where their bearing might give an advantage or disadvantage, like someone on the Road of Kings using Willpower to resist subordination, someone on the Road of Bones using Stealth to sneak past a guard, or similar.

Your Aura Modifier is equal to your Road rating minus 3 (so someone with a Road rating of 5 benefits from a +2 wild card modifier in the above situations, whereas someone with a Road rating of 2 is penalised with a -1 wild card modifier to affected challenges)

Unless your Aura Modifier is 0 (i.e. your Morality score is 3), you must wear a ribbon, provided by us, to signify your aura type and strength.  However, if you have Obfuscate of the same level (or higher) as your Morality score you don’t need to wear it, although you cannot gain the benefits of a positive Aura Modifier while concealing your Aura.  Elder powers count as level 6 for this purpose. Please note that concealing your Aura in this way does not protect you from the penalties caused by a low Morality score.

The level 2 Auspex power Aura Perception will reveal a targeted Cainite’s Aura and Modifier. Obfuscate (except the elder power Soul Mask) offers no protection against this.

Effects of Low Morality

These rules replace the table entitled “Effects of Low Humanity” on page 303 of Mind’s Eye Theatre: Vampire The Masquerade.

If your character’s Morality drops below 6, they suffer the following penalties:

Morality ScoreEffect
5Appears slightly inhuman: the cost to take on a semblance of humanity is doubled (2 Blood per scene)
4
3All test pools reduced by half during the daytime; appears obviously inhuman and cannot spend Blood to appear human
2The difficulty to resist all frenzies is increased by 5
1Cannot wake during the daytime; does not automatically wake from sleep when damaged
0Enters Wassail, a state of permanent frenzy: the Beast has taken over, and no vestige of the human personality or spirit remains. The character becomes an NPC and will be controlled by the Storytellers.

Characters on the Road of Humanity or one of its subsidiary Paths count as having a Morality score one higher than normal for the purposes of taking on a semblance of humanity by spending Blood. Characters on the following Roads and Paths always appear obviously inhuman, and can therefore never spend Blood to appear human:

This creates a costuming requirement for characters on those Roads & Paths, as well as characters on the Road of Humanity with Morality 2 or less, and all other characters with Morality 3 or less. Unless able to conceal their appearance with Obfuscate‘s Mask of 1000 Faces, such characters must be portrayed with pale, corpse-like skin (most likely achieved with makeup). Other characters may avert this costuming requirement by spending the appropriate amount of Blood – but please be aware that scenes almost always last less than one hour, and so this may prove prohibitively expensive.

Changing Roads

Throughout a character’s existence, they may seek to change their Road. This is a risky proposition, since it pushes the character close to the Beast as they “reset” their entire way of thinking. The character must have a mentor on the desired Road or Path in order to take the step, and the process is detailed below.

  1. Wander Astray
    Your character must shed their current adherence by reducing their Morality score in their current Road through sins.  It’s not until they are at a Morality score of 1 in their current Road than they can adopt another.
  2. Moment of Truth
    Your character must take a leap into their new Road.  They must experience a Moment of Truth (see below) for their new Road.  As they experience the change, their Beast attempts to take control of their body, stripping them of their Roads completely and leaving them an irredeemable monster.
    In game terms, the character must make a test of Mental + Willpower against a difficulty of 15.  If they succeed, they have successfully changed Roads.  If they succeed with an exceptional success, they may buy a point of Morality for 5XP as though they had had a Moment of Truth (see below).  If they fail, they fall to a Morality score of zero and become lost to the Beast.
    Note that when changing Road in this way, the character will change to the same Path as their mentor, if their mentor is on a Path.  If their mentor is on the base Road, then the character will join the base Road as well.
    The character will likely gain the Apostate Flaw, but receive no XP for it.

Alternatively, a character can change from a Road they are already on to one of its Paths (or one of its other Paths) at any time the character has a Moment of Truth (see below).  In game terms, the character must make a test of Mental + Willpower against a difficulty of 12.  If they succeed, they have successfully changed to the new Path; if they fail, they do not change Path and they automatically lose a dot of Morality.  If they get an exceptional success, they may buy a point of Morality for 5XP as though they had had a Moment of Truth (see below).

Moments of Truth

A Moment of Truth is an experience the character undergoes which tests and ultimately reaffirms their attachment to their Road. It’s a moment of trial, tribulation, epiphany, or fundamental lesson. Through these moments, a character can advance their Road rating, move onto a Path of the same Road, or change Roads completely.

If a character experiences a Moment of Truth and raises their Road rating after the event during which it occurred, the Road dot costs half the normal number of experience points (5XP instead of 10XP).

Here are some sample Moment of Truth catalysts:

  • Major Sin: If a character commits a level 5 sin (i.e. the worst possible) and passes a degeneration challenge, they can be inspired to advance in their Road, through a realisation of some deeper truth in their beliefs.
  • Frenzy: If a character frenzies and doesn’t sin against their Road in the process, they can undergo a Moment of Truth.  This comes about as they better understand their Beast and how to reconcile their relationship with it.
  • Study With Mentor: If the character studies with a valid mentor (with a higher Morality score in the relevant Road or Path than the character), requiring a number of downtime actions equal to the character’s current Morality score, they can be eligible for a Moment of Truth
  • Penance: If the character loses a dot of Morality, or otherwise commits a grievous sin against the Road or its organisation, they can show penance and find meaning and purpose in rejoining the Road with renewed vigour
  • Significant Story Event: At ST discretion, any significant event that reaffirms the character’s journey along their Road acts as a Moment of Truth