Two covenants that will probably never get along are the Lancea et Sanctum and Circle of the Crone. Their religious rivalry has been canon since their appearances in the original Requiem book published by White Wolf years ago, and it hasn’t changed in the system’s current iteration.
The Crone have a pagan, devil-may-care culture with ever-shifting beliefs centered around a mother-goddess. They accept that they’re monsters and feel no remorse about doing monstrous things. The Lancea Sanctum are militant, structured, and with a set dogma that must be maintained. And… well, they’re always in a sort of war with another as these two faiths have a hard time of getting along.
The 2nd Edition Requiem core book makes a statement early on about the Crone:
A number of coteries were pushed close to extinction, and sick of watching their friends and allies forcibly converted to the creed of the Lancea et Sanctum through the viniculum and mind control.
After that, the Crone actually became a covenant, fighting back against this aggressor with pernicious speed. They turned princes to ash and assaulted both the Invictus and Lancea Sanctum. But did they stop because the Lancea made them feel bad about it all, the Invictus bribed them bars of gold, or was it force that stopped them?
Looking over the available books and the mechanics the Invictus have, I can understand how they are able to survive. Oath of the True Knight, anyone? Oath of Matrimony? Attache? That fighting style as well?
But why are the Lancea still here if the Crone are so capable?
Unique to the Crone are rituals which are arguably superior in destroying enemies (relative to Theban) if for no other reason than their “Feeding the Crone” and “Blood Blight” rites at the height of Cruac prowess. Some devastating Cruac rites also have no limitation on distance, meaning one could cause a kindred half-a-world away to bleed until starving.
The Lance, on the other hand, have indirect strength through Theban sorcery, flirting with ideas of supporting others, giving them incredible amounts of blood, the ability to reduce damage, and similar. Their two “damaigng” rituals involve a snake that requires high blood potency to be worthwhile, while the other gives a 2L whip of blood.
Many Lance rituals require their target be within 1 mile of the casting, and there are incredibly few rituals to even use in a combat situation or to defend one-self with. What might be truly crippling is that Crone require lower humanity to cast their rituals (max of humanity 5 at 5 dots of Cruac) while the Lancea require it to be high.
How is it that the more humane Lance still survive in this world with monstrous Cruac users able to kill their religious opponents on a whim? Do the Crone just not care? Is it really a numbers game and there are too few to succeed against the Lance or other covenants? Is it really the Invictus that are supposed to be the powerhouses of combat, supported by all these support Lance rituals? I just don’t know.
What I do know is that the Lancea need a justification for how they are able to defeat the Crone from destroying them so easily or how they are able to maintain a threat such that the Crone don’t wage open war against their religious opponents. Could it be that the 5-dot “Judgement Feast” Theban Miracle, limiting a kindred’s max blood equal to their humanity, is sufficient to keep Crone in check?
For Crone, this is a big deal. But is it enough? And what can the Lance do mid-combat against the Crone with gnashing, agg. damage teeth? What’s the direct mitigation for that?
There used to be a lot of Theban Sorcery rituals both in the original White Wolf Requiem and in Blood and Stryx (1st edition of Onyx Path’s Requiem). Many of which are now gone, which is largely a good thing, except I don’t know how the Lancea keeps getting members (or surviving), since the covenant seems weak without a few of them.
This weakness is directly obvious in a meta-level of the game, as well. I’m not sure if folks at the table see the same thing, but in the LARPs I’m part of, there are few-to-no Lance. For LARP, the game can be all about having a plan to murder every player in the room, and it’s obvious that people are avoiding the “easy-to-kill Lance.” (The number of Ordo Dracul Gangrels, on the other hand, is usually large, because of how mechanically good they are.)
What follows are a series of Theban Sorcery Miracles based on those older ones that have disappeared from the 2nd edition of Requiem. They play with humanity and aim at a mechanical explanation of why Crone are more wary in starting a war with the Lance.
I recreate these bearing mind that blood sorcery in Requiem is ostensibly not about having direct combat prowess. This rule is arguably violated in the case of either “Feeding the Crone” or “Blood Blight,” and so having something on par with that at least feels necessary. (My answer was spear of faith, and while I’m fond of its treatment here, I do bend the normal expectation of ties in an attack.) The rest are additional miracles that keep in line with themes of the Lance.
Buttress the Soul (•)
Target number of successes: 6
This ritual protects the mind from compulsory powers that might cause a reduction of humanity.
Effect: Until sunrise, the caster may attempt to disobey any compulsory power that would be a breaking point. Make the contested or resisted roll again as per the compulsion the target is under, adding a number of dice equal to the caster’s dots in Theban as a bonus on this roll. If successful, the power persists, but may not be used in a way that would cause that breaking point again on the caster until the next sunset.
Paladin’s Absolution (•)
Target number of successes: 6
Sacrament: A few drops of holy water, sprinkled over the targets’ flesh
Effect: The ritualist names a target and a single breaking point, granting the target protection against detachment rolls.
At any point until sunrise, the target may activate this miracle. While defending the Lance or it’s members in some way, detachment rolls in the scene associated with the named breaking point are made using the ritual caster’s humanity level rather than what the breaking point dice pool would normally consist of.
The protection fades at the end of the scene or sunrise.
Sanctified Haven (••)
Target number of successes: 6
Sacrament: The ritualist’s own blood – at least one Vitae
Effect: The caster spreads their own blood to ward an area whose size depends on the amount of blood shed. With 1 blood, a room can be covered; with 5, the borders of a large home.
While warded by this miracle, the caster is awoken to the presence of trespassers crossing the barrier whose humanity is equal to or lower than the caster’s. This ritual lasts for one day per blood spent.
A 4-dot version of this merit associates crossing the barrier as a trespasser with a breaking point level equal to 10-the caster’s humanity (minimum 1).
Curse of Isolation (•••)
Target number of successes: 8
Sacrament: Something of great significance from the touchstone and the caster’s own humanity (see below).
Effect: This ritual seals the touchstone away from those it is intended to assist.
Make an opposed humanity check against the touchstone’s owner (if the touchstone is attached to multiple individuals, use the humanity of the highest attached). If the caster succeeds, the touchstone’s attached characters no longer gain the benefit of that touchstone, and the caster loses one humanity.
This ritual’s effect lasts one lunar month. At the end of this lunar month, the caster regains the lost humanity from this ritual if the touchstone was not destroyed.
The Vigil (••••)
Target number of successes: 10
Requirement: An individual who cannot be Kindred
Sacrament: A permanent willpower dot from the caster and target (see below)
Set a spiritual watch on a someone that will alert you to anything endangering them.
Effect: Name a target that must be within 1 mile of the caster while performing the ritual. Both the caster and target give up one dot of permanent willpower while this ritual persists. (The caster gives up the willpower used for the initial casting of this ritual.)
Whenever your charge (the target) is in grave danger, you are alerted to it, know the direction of your charge, and if you are within 1 mile of the charge, know what the cause of that danger is. These alerts are received like whispers from an angel – or devil – on your shoulder. Indeed, users of auspex might even suspect there’s a passenger riding the target of this miracle, as any person’s aura under the vigil has a thin and weakly shining halo of silver.
The caster may only have one charge at a time and recasting the vigil on another target has no effect while the first vigil persists.
The vigil lasts for one lunar month or until the caster chooses to reclaim the willpower point (which cannot be reclaimed on the same night the ritual was cast).
Spear of Faith (••••)
Target number of successes: 8
Contested by: Humanity (Ties are special; See below)
Sacrament: A pin of solid gold (costing resources ••••)
You call upon God’s divine fury to smite souls that have committed great evil. His answer is a lance of pure light, seeking out the kindred closest to their beast.
Effect: After casting the ritual, at any time before sunrise, the caster may speak a holy word, and a luminous spear appears in the air. The target and caster then make contested, unmodified Humanity rolls, pitting the purity of their souls against one another before the spear pierces the most wicked.
Dramatic Failure: As a regular failure, except the spear ripples with the righteous fire of god, upgrading the damage to aggravated.
Failure: The spear is turned back on the caster by the target’s superior humanity, and for the caster’s arrogance, takes lethal damage equal to a roll of the caster’s Humanity + Theban.
On a Tie: The miracle is wasted, and the spear vanishes into nothingness.
Success: The target of the attack takes lethal damage equal to the caster’s roll of Humanity + Theban.
Exceptional Success: As a normal success, but damage is upgraded to aggravated.
Once used, the golden pin is consumed.
Martyr’s Grace (•••••)
Target number of successes: 12
Sacrament: Religious artifact costing resources (• to •••••)
Like martyr’s of old, you prevent others’ pain at the cost of your own suffering.
Effect: Name a number of targets up to the resource cost of the sacrament who must be within 1 mile of the ritual.
The caster calls upon God’s judgement to immolate himself in righteous fire. For as many rounds as the caster wishes – until either extinguishing the flames (which happens on the caster’s whim) or turning to ash – the flames begin consuming the caster’s unholy flesh.
Each round the caster remains in flame requires an unmodified humanity roll. If the successes on the roll are less than 5, the caster takes the difference in aggravated damage. This damage cannot be downgraded or prevented in any way, and once the fire has been extinguished or the caster perishes in flame, the religious artifact bursts into flame as well, turning to ash.
Once during the next week, the specified targets may spend one willpower and activate the effects of this miracle. Every round the caster stood in the fire, a target activating the miracle takes only lethal damage from fire and sunlight for one minute. These minutes must be consecutive.
Nothing else to say, except that I’d love to make some fluffy lore for each of these (some already have lore from older editions). Leave a comment and let me know if you’d like that as well!