The Path of Caine
Virtues: Conviction and Instinct
Bearing: Faith. The righteousness of the Cainite is apparent to all. The bearing modifier affects all rolls that rely on the vampire’s image as a devout Kindred and scholar of Caine’s teachings.
Basic Beliefs: Scholars of nights long past, in seeking keys to the nature of vampiric existence, pursued fragments of knowledge from the Book of Nod. Drawing upon the history from that book as well as other esoteric sources, Cainite scholars concluded that only Caine, as the first vampire, is the paragon of vampiric nature. The Noddists seek to become more like Caine, in order to discover the limits and powers of the undead form. By learning from Caine’s example, the Noddists claim, one can understand the true nature of vampirism and how vampiric existence differs from one’s mortal life.
Noddists seek knowledge and history, recording the experiences of Caine, so that they may learn from his example. To them, Caine’s life reveals the mystery of the vampiric curse; by understanding the undead form, they transcend their mortal weaknesses. They prize any knowledge about the vampiric condition, but the writings and stories of the First Vampire form the core of Noddist lore. As Caine was marked and cast out from mortal society, the Noddists believe that he exemplifies most keenly the differences between vampires and humans. Therefore, this Path‘s adherents cast aside their humanity as inadequate and useless, emulating Caine’s exile and seeking new rules to govern their predatory drives.
The heart of the Path of Caine lies in the exemplification of vampiric nature: The questions of existence, the limits of the vampiric form and the changes wrought by the Embrace all drive the Noddists into endless speculation, debate, and research. Scholarship and historical insight are valuable, but the vampire must simultaneously develop spiritually and physically, to explore the limits of his undead form. Diablerie serves as more than a simple theft of power; it allows the practitioner to learn from the experiences of other undead, thereby developing greater understanding. Other vampires lose themselves in attempts to save lost humanity or find meaning in obscure philosophy. The Path of Caine, instead, finds meaning in the fundamentals of vampirism.
The Path of Caine is demanding and rigorous; few vampires follow its tenets in the modern nights. This Path places a high emphasis on scholarship, insight, and personal discipline. With the eternal patience attributed to Caine, say the followers of the Path, comes the opportunity to slowly refine oneself.
The Ethics of the Path
• Search for the history of Caine. Learn from his actions.
• Develop your willpower and predatory instinct. The Beast, like the rest of the vampiric form, may be mastered.
• Take the vitae of the unworthy so that you may become closer to Caine. Temper this accrual with an understanding of your own potential so that you do not take the Curse for granted.
• Adapt to the needs of your new condition; cast aside your lost humanity.
• Study your abilities and the abilities of Caine to discover what belongs within you. Examine the limits and meanings of vampirism.
The Path of Caine developed in the early 16th century as vampires sought new insights into personal enlightenment during the Renaissance. Many vampires felt the need for a system of self-improvement that circumvented the limitations of humanistic beliefs, as human morality conflicted with vampiric nature. This Path gained a great following over the next 200 years, as many vampires viewed Caine as an ideal figure. Following the Enlightenment, this Path began to decline in favor of newer Paths. Few vampires maintained the discipline and studiousness necessary to uphold this Path, so it dwindled to a small but devoted following.
The remaining Noddists maintained a respected place in the Sabbat and continued to recruit from the most intellectual and insightful prospects. As the modern Sabbat selects more fledglings based on their individual potential and achievement, this Path has experienced an influx of new followers.
This Path appeals to some of the most introspective and reflective of vampires, but all Sabbat subscribe to parts of the theory (if not the practice) of this Path. Followers focus on personal growth, but also lead missions to garner hidden knowledge and powerful elder vitae. Additionally, many of this Path‘s students often oversee and participate in rituals and plays celebrating the history of vampirism. Noddists are loath to Embrace randomly, instead choosing recruits from promising mortals. Recently, many Noddists have eschewed scholarship in favor of traveling, experiencing the world and emulating Caine’s wanderings. Many of these “adventurous” Noddists travel the globe to chase bits of information and experience the variety of vampiric existence.
Description of Followers
Noddists are often reserved and educated, with a strong knowledge of history and a drive for self-awareness. Followers of the Path are not inquisitive in the sense of seeking deductive answers to problems; rather, they study traditions and historical events in hopes of finding solutions for their questions. Cainites who espouse this Path often display a great deal of self-mastery. Additionally, Noddists tend to engage in debate with other vampires, to discern how other Cainites experience the Curse. Noddists tend to assume positions of spiritual authority in the Sabbat, as Pack Priests or Bishops. Many other Cainites find followers of this Path haughty and vain.
Path of Caine Hierarchy of Sins
|10||Failing to engage in research or study each night, regardless of circumstances||The search for truth requires dedication.|
|9||Failing to instruct other vampires in the Path of Caine||All vampires must have the opportunity to explore their potential.|
|8||Befriending or co-existing with mortals||Caine was separated from mortals, as all vampires should be.|
|7||Showing disrespect to other students of Caine||All of the Children of Caine deserve the respect due their heritage, as long as they strive to understand themselves.|
|6||Failing to ride the wave in frenzy||Direct the Beast; do not be directed by it.|
|5||Succumbing to Rötschreck||Master your fear. Terror is for lesser beings.|
|4||Failing to diablerize a “humane”||Those who do not explore their potential forfeit that vampire potential.|
|3||Failing to regularly test the limits of abilities and Disciplines||Develop your capabilities to their limits in order to discern your true nature.|
|2||Failing to pursue lore about vampirism when the opportunity arises||Every scrap of knowledge adds a piece to the puzzle of undead existence.|
|1||Denying vampiric needs (by refusing to feed, showing compassion, or failing to learn about one’s vampiric abilities)||To be a vampire, one must satisfy a vampire’s needs.|
Following the Path
Sons and Daughters of Caine should always seek information regarding the vampiric condition, through experience, personal growth, and the pursuit of occult lore. Diablerie, development of Disciplines, and self-mastery are all valid means of refining the vampiric form. Noddists rarely engage in politics, choosing instead to acquire new information and experiences.
They also serve as priests who lead vampires to seek awareness — and development — of their undead condition. Those on this Path lead by example, embracing their monstrous natures and striving to attune themselves to their differences from humans, then helping other vampires do the same. Noddists do not hesitate to share their insights, so that all vampires have the opportunity to become closer to Caine, though they hoard dangerous secrets to prevent misuse.
Common Abilities: Vampires who adhere to the Path of Caine are studious and philosophical. Followers primarily favor Knowledges — especially Occult — but Noddists are expected to be capable of developing the vampiric form to its greatest potential, so Survival, Melee, and Athletics are encouraged. Additionally, those who would engage in debate prefer Expression, Subterfuge, and Leadership.
Preferred Disciplines: Followers of the Path of Caine prefer those Disciplines considered “natural” to vampires, such as Auspex and Presence. Disciplines that augment the physical form — Celerity, Fortitude, and Potence — are particularly valuable. Some Noddists dislike the use of Disciplines that are not expressly noted in the Book of Nod, such as Thaumaturgy and Serpentis, claiming that these Disciplines do not conform to Caine’s development. Other followers of the Path claim that such Disciplines simply represent a heightened mastery of the vampiric condition. Most Cainites of this Path learn only the Disciplines listed by Caine in the early fragments of the Book of Nod.