The Path of the Scorched Heart
Virtues: Conviction and Self-Control
Bearing: Intellect. Unforgiving are not easily swayed by appeals to emotion. Their bearing modifier affects rolls meant to influence them through Social Attributes.
Basic Beliefs: Emotion is a flaw that sullies perception and clouds judgment. Facts and hard data earned firsthand are what one can trust. The Unforgiving prize the faculty of reason, objectivity, logic, and observation over all else. The Path originates from a True Brujah whose unique perspective on vampiric existence led him to the conclusion that, since the Beast exercises its control through emotion, all emotion must therefore be tainted by the Beast.
With certainty, the actions of any Cainite not in command of their emotions would surely be governed by their emotions, and therefore the Beast. In order to tame the Beast and find respite, one must first eradicate all trace of emotion by cutting off the mind and “scorching the heart.” If a Caintie can resist the Beast, she must resist it, and succumbing to frenzy or Rötschreck is an abject failure on the Path. Few Cainites recall events when in the grips of the Beast, ergo no knowledge, save secondhand, may be gleaned from the experience.
Unforgiving are superb listeners who vigilantly pay close attention to their surroundings, absorbing minutiae and details their peers overlook, which the Unforgiving store away and compartmentalize for later use. Meticulously thorough, they tend to have remarkably long and exact near-perfect memories, bordering on eidetic. As champions of openness and honesty who abhor secrets, the Unforgiving are guaranteed to deliver literal truth, in all things, to any who deal with them.
Though lies are not tolerated, truth itself can be a deceit. Followers of this Path know that perceptions of what constitute wrong or immoral action are not definite. Opinions change with new information — right or wrong conclusions by an observer in a situation are malleable and mutable to the extent of the data used to arrive at a decision. Before undertaking any action that does not require immediate attention, they investigate, learn, and then act on their analysis only when secure enough in the knowledge acquired to do so.
The Unforgiving reveal only what is necessary to achieve their ends; the less an enemy knows, the more likely they are to make a mistake. Threats against oneself, however veiled, must be treated as real until proven otherwise. Loose ends and subtle hints cannot be trusted. The Unforgiving are dauntless and persistent in pursuit of a foe, not because of any petty emotional grudge or fear, but that the simple logic of self-preservation demands that one avoids any opportunity for an enemy to return and exact unexpected harm.
The Ethics of the Path
• Quench all emotion by drowning it in the frigid waters of reason. Emotion is the sole tool of the Beast, its only avenue of control. Lock the door to starve the Beast.
• Reality can be understood and quantified when not clouded by emotion. Right and wrong are atavistic emotional concepts. Morality is merely an impediment, a conduit for emotion. Favor ethics over morality and know the distinction.
• Trust only what you can verify. Assume nothing. Following a siren singing on the rocks only invites the ship to sink. Unless critically urgent for your survival, draw no conclusion, pass no judgment, and do not take any action without proof. When action is required, act decisively.
• Learn all you can; knowledge is never wasted. Simply knowing will help you predict the actions of others and the unfolding of circumstance.
• Define the nature of all your relationships explicitly. Never presume honesty or loyalty from another; intent is not a reliable indicator of outcome and truth to those with emotion is as subjective as ignorance.
• Be honest in all of your dealings to a fault (with preference to the fault of others, over that of your own). Truth is a weapon, so wield it. Let others deceive themselves by the truth in your words.
The True Brujah Rathmonicus first conceived the Path in the 14th century. Rathmonicus sought to catalogue and collect every philosophy and stricture made available to him on the topic of quieting the Beast. He compiled and recorded his findings in a codex called the Book of the Empty Heart. Though Rathmonicus himself fell to the tumult of the Anarch Revolt, copies of his work saw translations from his native Greek into Arabic, French, Latin, and eventually English. Despite only three verifiable copies of the original book surviving to the present age, unconfirmed English copies are somewhat common in scholarly circles. Path adherents diligently search for any texts to destroy inaccurate or inauthentic translations.
Students of Rathmonicus’ work have always been a rare breed, as those on the Path do not actively pursue converts. Teachers prefer to tutor those who discover the work on their own, see the merit in it, and seize the initiative to seek guidance by finding a mentor to direct them. Practitioners are inclined to organization and open communication with each other. Congregations of those on the Path are not unheard of, as they tend to contact one another when a copy of the Book of the Empty Heart appears in a newly opened collection, or on the market. When two or more Unforgiving meet, discourse usually steers to the philosophical and academic observances related to the subject of Rathmonicus’ book.
Description and Followers
Regardless of the Path’s inception with the True Brujah, they tend to be fickle in their disposition when it comes to Paths of Enlightenment. Brujah, Gangrel, Malkavian, and Toreador — those Clans most prone to wild emotion and needing to alleviate themselves of the Beast’s burden — tend to make up the bulk of the Path’s followers. Technology invokes a curiosity in adherents of the Path; even Elders take the time to study and comprehend new devices to serve them. The Unforgiving are unobtrusive, observant, quiet, and passive, but always alert. When they do speak, they ask clarifying questions and give simple, obvious statements on things that others have overlooked.
Path of the Scorched Heart Hierarchy of Sins
|10||Failing to acquire knowledge that is safely and readily available||Knowledge is the wellspring of truth; you can never know enough.|
|9||Committing to any action without purpose||Do not waste effort on what does not enhance you.|
|8||Sacrificing when you gain less||A victory that costs you more than you earn garners no benefit.|
|7||Relying on others||Your actions are the only ones you can predict with absolute certainty.|
|6||Making assumptions||Without clarity, error hides in the fog of unconsidered data.|
|5||Acting rashly||You cannot learn from indiscriminate action. Observe, think, calculate, consider, then act.|
|4||Speaking falsely||Truth is a bullet. Without trust, truth has no gun.|
|3||Falling to frenzy or Rötschreck||Carelessness is dangerous. You cannot control the threats you fail to see when not objective. If you cannot master yourself, you have no defense against others mastering you.|
|2||Making decisions based on emotion||The urges of emotion are the words of the Beast, not your own. Purge them.|
|1||Acknowledging your emotions||The Beast feels. You do not. Deny the Beast and it withers.|
Following the Path
Withdrawn and non-confrontational, the Unforgiving repress emotion utterly and see little benefit in argument — the truth is not up for debate and blatant emotion clouds reasoning. When presented with contrary (false) viewpoints, followers deliver the factual position, ignoring opinion and those who stubbornly refuse to believe otherwise. Killing comes easily and without guilt. They typically have little compunction on the matter; evaluating and analyzing every potential outcome for a situation and striking where and when it proves necessary or advantageous for them to do so.
Common Abilities: Honing a refined command of Alertness, Investigation, Expression, and Academics is both respected and expected by followers of the Path. However, it bears noting that if a follower has the opportunity to learn something, she’s unlikely to decline.
Preferred Disciplines: The more one perceives the more data they gain, so Auspex is nearly universal amongst the Unforgiving. Animalism, by providing a ready means to quell and subdue the Beast, is equally prominent. Dominate as an instrument for coaxing forth the truth is both straightforward and blunt, complementing the Path. Yet, just as with Abilities, those on the Path of the Scorched Heart favor learning, and making any assumptions about their capabilities can prove quite fatal.