The Vaulderie is a unique form of vampiric magic, powered both with blood and a shared commitment to freedom. It originates from Kupala, ancient ally of Clan Tzimisce, through the Sacred Fire-Flower it bestowed upon Lugoj and Velya. Each Anarch performs the rite slightly differently, proclaiming faith or commitment in some specific aspect of the Anarch cause or vampiric lore or a particular Road or Path. If a disbeliever participates in the rite, so long as they respect the rite and do their part, the passion of the other practitioners can make up the difference and allow the rite to succeed. Of course, doubt becomes more troublesome in groups where one participant is a larger percentage of the whole.
The Vaulderie requires at least three participants, and the individual performing the rite must have either the Vaulderie Merit, the Keeper of a Sacred Text Merit, or have been given the Anointed fleeting status trait. The rite takes at least five minutes, and may take longer if the Anarch performing the Vaulderie wishes to impart additional information, include more than five other participants, or add extra flourishes. The Anarch performing the Vaulderie must be faithful to the precepts they espouse in the rite, and possess the correct innate or fleeting status to perform the rite.
Vaulderies are small affairs, not 50-person blood feasts. Individual Vaulderies are typically comprised of 3-6 participants (the size of an Affinity), but as many as 15 Cainites can theoretically participate, assuming a large enough vessel can be found that maintains the dignity of the rite. Once the participants have gathered, performing the Vaulderie proceeds as follows:
- To begin the Vaulderie, the Anarch officiating the rite gathers the participants into a circle. They then bring forth a vessel and a weapon: usually a chalice and a ceremonial knife. Standing in the centre of the circle, sometimes surrounded by kneeling assistants, the Anarch initiates the rite. This may involve a reading from a Sacred Text or simply a short, inspirational speech, and requires the expenditure of the relevant positive status trait (Anointed or Ordained).
- The officiant should also ensure that a Storyteller or other crew member is nearby and available to assess the success or failure of the rite
- The officiant then chants their ceremonial words for the Vaulderie (see below). Thereafter, they cut their wrist and bleed into the cup. The officiant (or one of their assistants) then carries the chalice around the circle, so that each vampire in the rite can speak the same blessing and add their own blood to the mix. Traditionally, the officiant takes chalice to the most prestigious vampire participating in the ritual (however the officiant chooses to define “prestigious”) and then proceeds to the left from that point.
- Anarchs with the Vaulderie Merit, or with the Anointed fleeting status trait, usually use a ceremonial phrase based on their Road, Path, or their Affinity’s shared objective
- Anarchs with the Keeper of a Sacred Text Merit usually say either “My blood springs from Caine, and is gladly spilled in his service” (for the Noddist texts) or “Ahi hai Lilitu” if they have the Cycle of Lilith. They might also quote a short piece from the text that they find particularly meaningful, in the case of the Book of Nod, Erciyes Fragments, or Cycle of Lilith (Revelations of the Dark Mother)
- This ceremonial phrase is chosen by the character when they take the Vaulderie or Keeper of a Sacred Text Merits, and someone who has gained the Anointed fleeting status trait must use the same phrase as the person who awarded it to them.
- A character may change their ceremonial phrase in the downtime following any event during which they experience a Moment of Truth, so long as it remains appropriate for the means by which they are able to perform the Vaulderie
- Once everyone in the circle has contributed, the officiant stands in the centre of the circle once more and lifts the cup toward the heavens. They speak the second ceremonial invocation of the Vaulderie, “May the bonds be broken.”
- If all characters participating in the rite are able to honestly speak the first and second ceremonial phrases, the rite is automatically successful.
- If one or more participating individuals are not able to honestly speak the first and second ceremonial phrases, the Vaulderie may fail. Such individuals should make themselves known to the Storyteller or other crew member prior to the start of the rite, or as soon as possible thereafter. The crew member will inform the presiding ritualist only that there are unfaithful among the assembled, providing no further information.
- The individual performing the rite must make a static challenge using their Mental attribute + Occult skill versus a difficulty rating of 25. A character cannot retest this challenge with Willpower, but may retest by expending the Devout fleeting status trait.
- Other participants who have the Vaulderie Merit may offer to assist the officiant. For each such individual, the officiant gains a +1 bonus. If the officiant is successful in the static challenge, the rite succeeds.
- Whether the rite is successful or not, the officiant and any assistants are aware that the rite was in jeopardy due to doubt.
- If more than 25% of a rite’s participants are unable to honestly speak the first and second ceremonial phrases, the rite automatically fails. Again, the crew member tells the officiant and any assistants only that the rite failed due to doubt, and provides no further information.
- If any of the participants are being forced to participate, including by the use of Dominate, the rite automatically fails. The crew member tells the officiant and any assistants only that the rite failed due to someone being present under duress, and provides no further information.
- If successful, the blood within the cup is transformed and purified by the rite. This act removes the taint of disease or drugs, and negates powers that leave lingering harmful effects in the blood (such as Acid Blood or Crimson Fury).
- If the ritual succeeds, all participants lose any existing blood bonds and gain a vinculum to those participating in the ritual. The strength of the vinculum depends on whether they have performed a vaulderie with these people before, and if so how often. For more detail, see the section below on vinculums.
- The officiant then drinks from the chalice, giving thanks for this blessing. They (or one of their assistants) carry the chalice around the circle again, beginning with the most prestigious and then moving to the left of that individual. Each repeats the second invocation and drinks from the chalice, until the final vampire in the ritual drains the chalice dry. The rite is now complete.
- Please note that we explicitly discourage you from actually drinking from a shared vessel due to the risk of transmission of real-world illnesses (including COVID-19)! Please roleplay doing it instead.
Vinculum is very similar to the blood bond, but there are several key differences between the two. Most importantly, vinculum is always mutual; someone cannot have a vinculum without the other individual feeling the same vinculum in return (except in the case of the Unbondable Merit or the Clan Weaknesses of the Ádísur and House Goratrix Tremere, which all operate in different ways). Once a character has participated in a Vaulderie with another individual, they always have a vinculum rating of 1 toward that individual. This rating is permanent. A vinculum rating between two characters is based on how often those characters participate in the Vaulderie together.
When two characters first participate in a Vaulderie rite together, they gain a vinculum of 1 to each other. Vinculums between two individuals cannot be raised more than once in a single night, no matter how many Vaulderies the two individuals participate in during that night. After that point, the strength of the vinculum between two characters is dependent on how frequently they are in the Vaulderie together:
- If you have only ever been in the Vaulderie together once, or have not participated in the same Vaulderie in over a year, you have a vinculum rating of 1 to each other. You feel a sense of kinship and are neutral-to-friendly with one another; you will exchange favours equivalent to a Trivial Boon without considering there to be anything owed. There is no mechanical effect.
- If you have participated in the Vaulderie together more than once in the past year, you have a vinculum rating of 2 to each other. You feel a sense of empathy towards one another, and are friends. You will happily exchange Minor Boons without feeling the need to consider them as favours owed. A character must spend a point of Willpower to kill a person to whom they have a vinculum of 2. They can plot against, harm, or embarrass one another, but they do not want to end each other’s unlives.
- If you have participated in the Vaulderie together approximately monthly over the past year, you have a vinculum rating of 3 to each other (you can miss a month or two in total, but never two consecutive months). You feel a close connection and deep friendship towards this individual, as though you had been friends for a very long time. You will perform favours equivalent to a Major Boon without wanting repayment, and must spend a Willpower to attack them with the intent to do harm (so you can spar, train, and so on without expending Willpower). If you spend this Willpower, you can attack them for the rest of the scene. You can disagree with them or cause them troubles, but you actively do not wish to cause them harm
- If you have participated in the Vaulderie together approximately weekly for the past three months, you have a vinculum rating of 4 to each other (you can miss a week here and there, but never more than two weeks in a row). You feel as though the other person is an integral part of your life, like a lover or trusted companion. You will instinctively aid them, up to the equivalent of Blood Boons, and always give them the benefit of the doubt. To work against their best interest, you must spend a Willpower per scene; to attack them with the intent to do harm, you must spend a Willpower per round; to kill them or knowingly allow them to be killed also requires you to spend a Willpower, or else you will stop what you are doing and intervene to save them.
- If you have participated in the Vaulderie together every few days for the last three months, you have a vinculum rating of 5 to each other. You are completely infatuated with them, believing anything they say and instinctively aiding them whenever possible, even to your own detriment – you will freely do anything up to and including the equivalent of a Life Boon for them. To work against their best interest, you must spend 2 Willpower per scene; to attack them, you must spend 2 Willpower each round. You are incapable of killing them, and of knowingly allowing them to be killed. Many Anarchs consider this level of vinculum functionally identical to the Blood Bond.
If you have the Unbondable Merit, others may develop vinculum ratings towards you, but you cannot develop vinculum ratings towards them.
Members of the Ádísur develop vinculum ratings towards others as normal, but other vampires cannot develop vinculum ratings towards them.
Tremere of House Goratrix always have vinculum ratings one higher than would otherwise be the case; they permanently have a vinculum rating of 2 towards every single vampire they have ever shared the Vaulderie with, and are capable of developing an effective vinculum rating of 6 towards other vampires. A vinculum rating of 6 makes the object the centre of a House Goratrix Tremere’s worldview, someone who they will gladly commit the gravest of Road sins for if it will help them. They cannot work against the best interest of such a person, and nor can they attack or kill them, or knowingly allow them to be killed. To knowingly allow them to be harmed, the Tremere must spend 2 Willpower, or else they will stop what they are doing and intervene to save the centre of their world .