Path Of Orion

Vampires, at their core, are hunters. Predators. But in the modern nights, they often accept the roles of scavengers, preying on mortal society's castoffs. Rather than relishing in their glorious destiny at the apex of the food chain, they can cling to the tatters of their former lives or lose themselves to frenzy.

Most Sabbat vampires consider such debasement pathetic. They loathe their own kind who do not stand up and seize their deathright. For vampires on the Path of Orion, Humanity and Beast alike are the greatest offenses to the Children of Caine. Both are impediments to a Cainite's understanding of her destiny and place in the natural order. The species as a whole will progress, they say, only when those who lose their intellect to passion are wiped from the ranks of the undead. It is the stalkers' holy crusade to be the instrument of purification, and to test the extremes of their own capabilities.

Followers of Orion are the hunters of hunters, the kings of predators. For them, unlife itself is a great safari, a mythic journey into the wilds of the unknown. By confronting and destroying the Beast in other Cainites, stalkers hope to confront and quell the creature within themselves. By facing and destroying vampires who cling to the weakness of their Humanity, they seek to overcome their distractions of nostalgia and sympathy.

Sometimes acting in packs, sometimes alone, stalkers stand slightly apart from the ranks of the Sabbat, even as they protect the sect. They must be ever vigilant against the human or Bestial taint that can being down the most perfectly evolved predatory species on Earth. It is not only the Beast within that must be overcome, but the Beasts that reside in the souls of all vampires.

Description of Followers

A marginal calling among the Sabbat, the Path of Orion appeals to vampires who are alienated loners, even for that sect. Members find a camaraderie (and Vaulderie) with similarly minded undead. While both the Path of Honorable Accord and the Path of Orion seek to better the Children of Caine, stalkers see themselves as lonely outsiders, grim vigilantes who protect the vampiric race from itself.

Followers come from any clan, but the path has a natural appeal to Brujah, Nosferatu and Gangrel. Few Lasombra and Tzimisce assume it, but a fair number of Panders see the duties ofthe path as a means to glory and control. In any event, adherents must be capable fighters and hunters, capable of acting both alone and in a pack.

The calling is answered primarily by paladins and templars - path founder Lord Wilkshire is himself a templar. Few bishops and no archbishops or cardinals practice it, although some respect its tenents. While a few stalkers have joined the Black Hand, the Hand considers them less than reliable - devotees are prone to make "executive decisions" about choice targets rather than obeying orders.

Alternatively, the path has gained status in the Sabbat Inquisition. To the stalkers, demons are merely another manifestation of the Beast, or perhaps something even worse. Lord Wilkshire has ass yet to release an official doctrine regarding demons, but has acknowledged them as legitimate targets. Thus, many stalkers serve the Inquisition willingly, clashing with supporters of Evil Reveelations in the process.

While the path followers seek to correct the behavior of the mot extreme "deviants" among vampires, they do not do much to recruit new members. Most Sabbat paths are recognized as legitimate expressions of the vampiric condition so shoudl not be winnowed, and it's understood that not all vampires are cut out for a stalkers' existence. A sire whose childe displays aptitude for another path should let the neonate go with her blessing.

Stalkers are viewed with suspicion by many Sabbat, particularly by young or degenerate ones (those with low path scores). Stalkers act as "white blodo cells" against other vampires who have succumbed to the Beast, and those weaklings can take steps to discredit or harm the judges.

Nickname: Stalkers.

Following the Path

The hunt is everything for those on the Path of Orion. Their unlives focus on tracking the most dangerous game - vampires of either very low or very high Humanity, Lupines and similar prey. The hunt is not always a physical challenge, however. It can involved decades of subterfuge and infiltration as easily as a crazed chase down back alleys. No matter its form, a pursuit must be maintained single-mindedly. By focusing on the task at hand, a follower can drown out the call of both the Beast and memories of life.

While most stalkers are Sabbat, the path is very selective about siring. In this sense, adherents employ something akin to the traditional Camarilla model of pursuing, Embracing and nurturing a Childe. It is important that a creation be a credit to the vampiric race, and a path follower who sires poorly loses respect among peers. Lord Wilkshire himself spent three decades tracking and eliminating one of his own childer who'd dared to stray from the path in favor of Golconda.

Some Sabbat simply come to the path. Those who do are typically targets of suspicion among their old packmates. The path is relatively new, poorly understood, and its followers are sometimes branded fanatics more interested in personal visionquests than in the good of the sect. Orion is therefore more popular among loner and nomadic Sabbat.

To progress as a stalker, one must understand the hunt not only in the physical sense, but in the emotional and spiritual sense. Predation is a metaphor for all of existence. As one enters the unknown night in search of victims, he undergoes the hero's journey for spiritual purity. He leaves the boundaries of the known world behind.

All features of a hunt have mythic resonance. A vampire must stay alert for the smallest signs, portents or chance meetings. Each outing has a lesson to teach, and as a follower accepts increasingly challenging quests, deeper insights are gained.

Beyond hunting, a vampire must remain alert for dangerous lapses among his own sectmates. Wilkshire warns disciples to be cautious and subtle in dealing with others. Stalkers are not, nor do they wish to be, perceived as crazed cultists or Inquisitors who accuse everyone of "sin." Only when they're sure a vampire has degenerated to the point that the sect and species is in danger to they act - swiftly, surely and mercilessly. They've proved correct frequently enough that most archbishops grudgingly give them leeway to conduct such purges.

Virtues: Followers of the Path of Orion practice Conviction and Instinct.
Common Abilities: Nearly every Ability in the Talent column is of some use to a follower of this path. In the modern nights, Firearms, Stealth and Survival also rank up there. Those rare modernist stalkers who track their quarries electronically might get more use out of Computer, Finance and Investigation than Wilkshire and his cronies do.
Preferred Disciplines: Animalism is of paramount importance to stalkers who participate in Sabbat war parties. Auspex and Protean rank similarly. And although most followers of the Path of orion would prefer that they never get into an actual fight (making a perfect kill, instead), Celerity is valuable when things go wrong.

Hierarchy of Sins

Rating Moral Guideline
10 Failing to hunt an overwhelmingly powerful foe
9 Failing to hunt Lupines
8 Siring an unworthy Childe
7 Failing to hunt a more powerful foe
6 Failing to hunt a high Humanity (8+) Cainite
5 Failing to hunt a Beast-ridden Cainite
4 Failing to hunt a vampire in Golconda
3 Allowing frenzy to lead you astray
2 Showing cowardice
1 Hunting only beings weaker than yourself

Ethics of the Path

  • The vampiric species is the height of evolution - it should always be strengthened, never weakened. While stalkers accept that vampires have weaknesses and penchants, qualities such as compassion and the Beast are akin to an appendix - parts of one's self that should atrophy from disuse. Their urges must be suppressed in one's self and others. Vampires who have been poisoned by their "humor" must be corrected or destroyed for the good of all. Likewise, vampires who display weakness (not cunning or the ability to dissemble, but genuine failing) should meet Final Death.
  • Those who have fallen to the Beast are atavisms and must be eliminated. These undead are threats to Cainites as a whole. They are as feral and dangerous as any predator, but they are out of control, like rabid dogs. They must be put down for the good of the species.
  • The mark of the ideal predator is its capacity to conduct the perfect hunt. Vampires are much more than killers, but hunters first and foremost. One's skills can be honed on the streets, in clubs or in high society, and are always foremost on the mind of the perfect stalker.
  • The Beast is a guide and tool, not a master. It is useful to a point; it would not be a part of vampiric makeup if it weren't. The mark of a true vampire is one's capacity to leash the Beast, drawing on its strength without letting it run rampant. The Animalism Discipline is therefore prized among path followers.
  • Vampires who seek to retain ties to their past morality - or worse, Golconda - are deluded and must be shown the error of their ways or be destroyed. Golconda is not only a myth, it is a fatal distraction. It keeps a vampire focused on ideals directly counter to those in his best interests - survival, strength and power.
  • Do not sire needlessly. Vampires are a species in transition. Best not to Embrace before the Beast has been thoroughly purged.