The Path of Cathari
Virtues: Conviction and Instinct
Bearing: Seduction. The Cathari are temptation incarnate, and they have an uncanny knack for knowing the desires of others. The bearing modifier affects rolls to tempt and seduce others.
Basic Beliefs: The Path of Cathari sprang from the Catharist heresy of the Middle Ages. A dualistic philosophy, Cathar doctrine holds that the world was created in equal parts by a good (“light”) creator responsible for virtue and spirit, and an evil (“dark”) creator who fashioned the material world and its vices. The original Cathars believed the soul to be the root of all that is pure in humanity, while the material body was a shell in the corrupt physical world. Cathars pointed to the noble aspects of the spirit — compassion, sacrifice, honesty, and the like — as proof that the only true good lay in the ephemeral. The material world, with its suffering and misery, bore obvious flaws and imperfections. After much persecution, this dualistic doctrine vanished from the mortal world, crushed by papal declarations of heresy. Over the years, the vampires who favored tenets of the philosophy adopted it as their own.
According to the vampires who follow this Path, the undead are minions of the evil creator, given eternal existence to tempt others with the lures of the material world. Followers of the Path believe that they fulfill a destiny as creatures tied to the physical world through vampiric immortality. Because vampires have been denied the spiritual realms of death, the Albigensians reason that they must serve the vices of the physical realm. Therefore, they seek to spread evil and corruption, seeing iniquity as their natural state.
The Albigensians have perfected a code of evils in which to indulge, however. Theirs is not a Path of pointless amorality. Taking the beliefs of the original Cathar priests and twisting them, these vampires deliberately search for means of spreading evil. They pursue sins of greed, lust, and pride avidly. Cathars seek material wealth and comforts, and they encourage others to do the same. A vampire can serve his proper purpose only by embracing the flaws inherent to his form and to the world, and accepting his duties as a purveyor of vice. Followers of the Path of Cathari thus ironically find spirituality in depravity.
The Ethics of the Path
• Indulge in vice. Wealth, sensuality, and material power are hallmarks of the physical world.
• Lead others to temptation. It is your role to promote the depravity of the world.
• Grant the Curse of Caine to those with great passion. Undeath is an evil curse, but those with great conviction can use it well.
• The entire material world and its denizens are corrupt. Expect betrayal and wickedness.
• Your role as a creature of evil is predestined. Accept it and fulfill your purpose.
• Death simply leads to reincarnation. Mortals return after you kill them. However, you should avoid Final Death, since you will return as a mortal if you die.
The Path of Cathari grew out of the aftermath of the Albigensian Crusade in the 13th century. The Manicheanist beliefs in dualism influenced some members of the Church, leading to a 30-year war that many believe led to the creation of the mortal Inquisition. After Albigensian vampires resurfaced following the crusade, they developed this moral system out of the logical consequences of their philosophy, seeing vampires as tied to the mortal world and therefore purveyors of evil, while the spirits of humans possessed the only potential for good. Soon, many vampires took it upon themselves to fulfill their “duty” as providers of the mortal world’s corruption. Over the intervening years, the Path changed to include broader philosophies and less formal religious overtones. The Path continued to prove adaptable, keeping the core belief of vampires as traffickers in the vices of the material world. Quite a few vampires find purpose in the business of pleasure — and damnation.
The Albigensians lead others to temptation, despoiling the purity of the spirit. Neonates and elders alike can be found among the Albigensians. Many practitioners see the fast-paced, decaying modern world as a sign of success for the forces of the evil creator, and they seek out ever more challenging converts among mortals and vampires alike.
Description of Followers
Albigensians are hedonistic and impulsive, but they believe that they serve a purpose. The followers of this Path are not lazy; rather, they undertake their duties with fanatical abandon. Each Albigensian considers it his duty to embody the vices of the material world and to share those comforts and pleasures with others. The Cathari encourage others to explore their monstrous natures and to spread hedonism among mortals.
Path of Cathari Hierarchy of Sins
|10||Exercising restraint||One’s purpose is excess, not moderation.|
|9||Showing trust||Use or be used.|
|8||Failing to pass on the Curse to the passionately wicked or virtuous||The depraved can serve evil better as vampires; the virtuous can be overcome by the Curse.|
|7||Failing to ride the wave in frenzy||The Beast, as well as the higher self, must be indulged.|
|6||Acting against another Albigensian||Those of like purpose should fulfill that purpose, not quarrel among themselves.|
|5||Impassioned killing||Murder achieves no greater end; dead men cannot sully their souls.|
|4||Sacrificing gratification for someone else’s convenience||Promote physical pleasures, not altruistic achievements.|
|3||Refraining from indulgence||The material world is a place for the gratification of the flesh.|
|2||Arbitrary killing||Killing a mortal prevents his bringing about his own damnation.|
|1||Encouraging others to exercise restraint||Vampires are creatures of evil; the vampire’s purpose is to corrupt, not save.|
Following the Path
Cathari are usually quite passionate, devoted to vulgarity and pleasure. They see the mortal world as a vast playground wherein they may satiate their base urges and encourage others to do likewise. Believing themselves to be agents of immorality, the followers of this Path are often highly social, befriending and using others to serve their sinful purposes.
Common Abilities: Followers of the Path of Cathari indulge freely in vices and materialism, and they seek to spread these excesses. Thus, Social Abilities like Subterfuge and Streetwise are most useful. Some Albigensians also use Finance and Bureaucracy to earn money, making their unlives more luxurious. A few of the more studious followers of the Path indulge in occult knowledge and Academics in order to study the roots of the Path.
Preferred Disciplines: Albigensians prefer Disciplines that allow them to fulfill their grim purpose. Dominate and Presence are most valued for the ability to coerce mortals into cooperation. They regard the Discipline of Animalism highly as well, due to its reflection in Biblical powers, from which the followers of this Path take some of their beliefs.