Path of Redemption

God has not turned from the Children of Caine. They are his creations, his dark angels, a chalice in which the blood of sin might be transformedi nto the blood of salvation.

Vampiric history began in the settlements of Mesopotamia, ten thousand years ago. The stories of those people, as they warred, farmed and prayed, gave birth to myths that endure into these Final Nights. Over time, the mythology gave way to religion. The human race still remembers Lilith's hunger, Utnapishtim's Ark, Tiamat's Hell. These sagas influenced religions: The Magians, the Zoroastrians, the Jews. And vampires remember these stories, because they were about the First City, the Great Floor, and the land between the two great rivers. If vampires exist, then there must be truths to these stories. If vampires exist, then perhaps God exists.

Yahweh, Allah, Ahura-Mazda… these are three of the thousand names of the Almighty. God is merciful, but He is also a hard master and a distant father. Mankind has disappointed him terribly, with its weaknesses, its lusts and its sins. But mankind also has the tools for salvation and the way to accept God's teachings.

Perhaps there are no angels anymore. Perhaps God needs new messengers. Perhaps vampiress are the new angels under Heaven.

Basic Beliefs

The martyrs hold that vampires are God's punishment on humanity, an instrument of His vengeance and a tool for salvation. Those chosen for the Embrace are not selected by their sires, but by the Curse of Caine itself. Those chosen are punished for their sins - but they are also tested, forced through a purgatory on Earth and can be remade into a new thing: a saintly servant of God.

To be a vampire is to be denied the ideals that are most important to a mortal - the sun, love and God's grace. But that denial serves to make the soul stronger, and a strong soul can be purged of sin and can enter Heaven and God's favor. Those vampires who follow this path seek to explore the limits of their vampirism so that they can know a little of God's plan. He cursed Cainites and that means that God is present in the world. By resisting the compulsions of the Curse, the childer of Caine immerse themselves in the power of God Almighty. They reject the Beast so that they may be made pure, that they may do God's work, and that they may hunt down those who fall to the Beast or the Devil.

This path draws heavily on the ideals and morals of the Jesuit order. The Jesuits hold that they are Christ's soldiers. Martyrs consider themselves Christ's enforcers and destroyers. By purging themselves of sin and bringing terror and death to God's enemies, followers use their undead nature to save themselves and others. The Society of Jesus is a scholarly organization that prizes research and scientific investigation. Martyrs follow suit and use much of their immortal existence to research mysteries and to master as many fields of study as possible. To a vampire, this dedication can mean the practice of Disciplines, the honing of skills or the study of occult or scientific lore.

Some see the Curse of Caine as a challenge, a penance handed down. Others perceiveit as a tool to examine the nature of sin itself. Adherents choose progeny depending on a prospective childe's beliefs. Some Embrace only those who are faithful (and only those who are faithful Catholics), while others select sinners, but those who have some spark of divinity burning inside them. Either way, martyrs believe themselves tested, like Job, by God and His enemy.

Many martyrs espouse that mortal sin is inherent to the vampiric form. To be a vampire is to be a sinner beyond any mortal. The Beast is a temptation to mortal sin, which not even confession can fully purge. Followers, however, strive to deny these sins. God poses a greater challenge to His vampiric servants than He does to his human ones.

All path members agree that Caine was the first sinner, and though worse sins have been committed since his transgression, it was Caine's prideful disobedience that was most grevious to God. Caine did not ask for forgiveness. It's therefore up to Caine's childer to seek redemption for the Dark Father and for themselves.

Cardinal Sins

Of particular concern to followers of this path are the so-called "mortal" or "capital" sins. This list does not appear int he Bible and may have been composed by St. Gregory the Great (AD 540-604). The concept of such "sins beyond sins" has been cheapened in the modern era, but that does not detract from their seriousness.

The Path of Redemption maintains that a vampire is prone to all seven of these sins, that these are part of the essential nature of the Curse. Devotees use the familiar medieval phrasing of the sins, but it is likely that they were identified in antiquity, too.

  • Pride: A Cainite's natural physical talents.
  • Greed: Acting as domitor to a ghoul.
  • Lust: Siring a childe.
  • Envy: The blood bond.
  • Gluttony: The hunger of the Beast.
  • Anger: The Beast.
  • Sloth: The lethargy of daylight hours.

Hierarchy of Sins

Rating Moral Guideline
10 Neglecting your own duty; not following the ethics of the path.
9 Putting physical necessity before spiritual.
8 Refusing the penitence of the Divine Tide.
7 Refusing to heed the words of those beyond you on the path.
6 Refusing to offer others the opportunity for redemption.
5 Refusing to take or give confession.
4 Blasphemous or heretical acts.
3 Allowing a cardinal sin to go unpunished.
2 The murder of innocents.
1 Refusing to acknowledge the necessity of redemption for yourself or others.

Ethics of the Path

  • Caine was placed under God's protection so that no harm would come to him and that he could, in the end, seek forgiveness and redemption from the Creator. Caine has not sought forgiveness yet, so all vampires must seek it for him and for themselves.
  • Mortal and immortal sins dwell in one's heart. Understand them so that they may be put away and one may seek forgiveness.
  • Mortals - the Children of Seth - are truly God's children. Studt them. Drive them to extremes of good and ill and watch them. Reawaken their understanding of their place in creation.
  • Embrace only those who have some faith left. The masses have forgotten God. Choose only those who will use their undead state well. This faith can guide all of the undead.
  • Submit to the ebb and flow of the Divine Tide. By experiencing the controlled cycle between grace and sin, one can learn of God's glory and find personal understanding.
  • The vampiric state is one of God's tools. It challenges a vampire's soul and inflicts judgement on mortal victims. Understand it.
  • Confess sins to those further advanced on the path. Accept confession from those less so. Confession is sacred and secret.
  • Watch those who exult in the curse. They must be destroyed when the time is right.
  • Meditate and pray to God. God shall reveal the way to wisdom.
  • Find those who have faith and teach them the truth.
  • Those who reject God and turn to the powers of Hell must be hunted and destroyed.
  • The word of God is law. Deus vult.

Description of Followers

Followers of this path tend to have been believers in life, from a Christian, Judaic or Muslim faith. Elders promote unity by focusing on the teachings of the commonly accepted Old Testament, with a veneer of Roman Catholic ritualism. The path has also inherited the Jesuit commitment to scholarship and learning. Martyrs attempt to study all potential source materials, including Islamic texts, Mesopotamian carvings, Hebraic rabbinical texts and Kabballistic records. They seek both a clear understanding of God's works and a more complete view of the events surrounding the Flood and the destruction of the city of Enoch.

Less scholarly martyrs simply seek to gain a little respite from the despair and horror of being undead. These adherents may not even have been believers in life, but with the obvious exposure to the supernatural that the Embrace brings, they seek a higher path and deeper answers.

An initiate is baptized with holy water and swears before an altar to reject Satan, control the Beast Within and do God's work. The vampire is then led to her first penitential rite (see "The Divine Tide", below). When the penance is over and the first frenzy has passed, the vampire is said to have set foot on the Path of Redemption.

Sabbat adherents support the work of the Inquisition, rooting out infernalists. Some path followers are Inquisition members.

Redemption is organized in mockery of the Catholic Church. Priests minister to followers and lead the faithful in prayer. Outside of the Sabbat, "ashen priests" are vampires who have progressed roughly to a path rating of 6 or more. Amongst the Sabbat, priests are those who have both progressed on the path and have been appointed by the sect. Some in Europe have even revived the tradition of sanctuary for the faithful. Vampires make their domains in active churches, sleeping by day in the rafters or catacombs. Martyrs claim these churches for their ceremonies. Inside the Church, followers say, politics has no place. Most take this prohibition to apply to sectarian loyalties - Camarilla primogen and Sabbat bishops could sit side by side and pray.

The most important priesthood of the path is the Shepards of Caine in Montreal, although another Montreal-based pack, the Scholars, includes an important philosopher, Father Juan Carlos. In Paris, the Camarilla coterie of the Order of St. Joan conducts the High Mass for Kindred seeking penance.

Nickname: Martyrs.

Following the Path

To answer this calling, a vampire must accept that he is a monster in search of God's grace. God knows liars, fools and dissemblers for what they are. Vampires must accept their nature and admit their sins before Him. They must accept the heavy burden of God's judgement and mercy. If one is found wanting, there is already a place for him in Hell - perhaps a worse place (betrayers are damned more so than murderers, after all).

Followers of this path are nicknamed martyrs and suffer for their sins and for those of the Children of Caine. Temptation lures each of them through the hungers of the Beast. Those who overcome understand that the old saw, "A beast I am lest a beast I become," is meaningless. The Beast must be denied, as Christ denied Satan. Yes, the Beast must be explored and understood and its ways mastered, but ultimately it must be defeated, utterly.

Despite their overtly Christian or holy ways, followers care little for their humanity. Mortals may be God's children, but martyrs suspect humanity has offended and disappointed God far more so than vampires have. The undead are God's curse on humanity, after all. Testing, tormenting and killing people is not merely accepted, it's a martyr's destiny. Some of the High Masses spoken in "cathedrals" such as the tunnels of the Underground City in Montreal or the Catacombs of Paris have been the scene of vast "sinner" bloodlettings, all in the name of God.

Virtues: This path teaches Conscience and Self Control.
Common Abilities: The calling emphasizes proficiency in Leadership and Expression in those who would be priests. Those who follow as initiates are expected to have some knowledge of Linguistics, Law and Occult, with specific focus on "apocryphal" religious texts. Others are effective at Academics and Politics.
Preferred Disciplines: Auspex, Fortitude and Obfuscate are particularly prized Disciplines. Conversely, blood magic is often considered unholy or even infernal.

The Divine Tide

The redeemers of Montreal maintain a ritualistic practice that allows adherents to experience both blasphemy and devoutness. This sacrament, the Divine Tide, traps the Beast in a cycle of indulgence and purging, by which the entity is allowed free reign over time, and then slowly trapped inside and denied. The duration of this cycle varies depending on the vampire in question. Some are based on the lunar month, others the lunar year and still others are based on obsure calculations. Martyrs who wish to advance on the path are expected to experience at least one full cycle.

The Divine Tide is meant to be a daily experience. By carrying out some seemingly arbitrary pattern, martyrs follow timetables of piety and indulgence. This approach has proved too artificial for many vampires, however. Over the years, an alternative version of the Divine Tide has developed. Adherents of this practice are either staked and submerged into a river or chained to the keel of a boat on the open sea and left floating below the waves, where sunlight cannot reach them. The subject is left there for three nights. In this time of isolation and darkness, the beast is indulged and purged, and its limits are explored. As the Beast rages, driven by fear, loneliness and despair, the martyr prays and struggles with the darkness inside. When released, he is allowed to frenzy, releasing his pent up anger and violence. The fury eventually subsides, the Beast is lulled to sleep and the follower can proceed about his nightly existence. But this alternative cycle of penance must be repeated, be it in a cellar, the sea or some other place, and must occur frequently.

Many vampires have been lost in the Divine Tide and have moved to other paths or been destroyed.