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Paths of Enlightenment

“It is these secrets which warp our souls, these very enigmas which mark us with our master’s venom.
Typhon is not a loving father.”
– Khamala Bey, ‘The Thousand Nights of Sutekh’


The Path of Ecstasy | The Path of the Warrior
The Path of Typhon / Via Typhonis : The Road of Typhon
The Path of Typhon Revised
Via Serpentis : The Road of Typhon

The Path of Typhon / Via Typhonis : The Road of Typhon

Vampire Player’s Guide 2nd Edition (pg 25) / Vampire: The Dark Ages (pg 116)

Italics detail passages found in V:tM only / (italics) detail passages found in V:tDA only

Although the Camarilla does not revile the Followers of Set as much as it does the Sabbat, this is largely because the Setites take a less active stance against the goals of the Camarilla. The Camarilla is too busy worrying about the blood-crazed berserkers of the Black Hand to notice the snakes softly hissing in the shadows. This ignorance is a terrible mistake, and one that may well reap a bitter harvest in the nights to come.

Certainly no Setites are more sinister than those who follow the shadowy Path of Typhon. The tenets of the Path are anathema to all that most mortals, and many Kindred, hold dear. To those on this Path, corruption, pain, lies and sin are things to be cherished and spread throughout existence. Misery is not a means to an end, but an end in and of itself.

(The Followers of Set teach a moral code that has been handed down from sire to childe from the time of great Set Himself. Although some Setites choose different philosophies to maintain, the most sinister are those who follow the shadowy Road of Typhon. To those on this Path, corruption, pain, lies and sin are things to be cherished and spread throughout existence. Misery is not a means to an end, but an end in and of itself.)

As far as the followers of Typhon are concerned, everyone is missing the point. Most systems of belief espouse rigid control over one’s bestial nature in order to overcome and purge oneself of the world’s horrors. The Typhonists instead espouse the opposite: a complete immersion in one’s weakness and an active embrace of the world’s misery. Only through such can evil be understood, and only though understanding can it truly be purged – or assimilated. The world is not some pristine, sanitised Raphaelite heaven, the Typhonists argue, but a filthy cesspool of agony, struggle and turmoil. True happiness – fleeting as it is – is only gained through succumbing to one’s carnal desires. One had best understand and accept where one is before attempting to move on to some vaguely conceived afterlife.

Of all the Paths, the Path of Typhon is most like a religion, as opposed to a philosophy. Its practitioners are rumored to worship various entities – perhaps personifications of various sins, perhaps otherwise – through blood libations and sacrifice. Through such worship, the Typhonists believe, mystic understanding may be gleaned.

In order to achieve enlightenment, the followers of this Path continually seek to spread war, plague, poverty, filth, stagnation and fear through the world. Through the creation and study of such phenomena, the Typhonists hope to discover the truths about, and behind, earthly existence. (In the Dark Medieval world, it is obvious that they are doing quite well indeed.)

The followers of the Path first practice their tenets upon others. As they advance in mystic understanding, however, they even begin to practice their principles upon themselves; self-flagellation, self-mutilation and other masochistic depredations are commonplace among the enlightened. Only through a complete mortification of their flesh may they transcend their earthly limitations – and dead flesh is difficult indeed to mortify.

There are rumors that those Setites who progress to the highest (lowest?) levels of the Path of Typhon becomes so riddled with external and internal foulness that they divorce themselves from any connection to the natural world whatsoever. Such transcendents devolve into quasi-organic embodiments of corruption. These stinking, bloated masses are housed in the depths of the most secret Setite temples, where they perpetually rot and wail blasphemies in the dark.

Hierarchy of Sins
  1. Not attempting to awaken Set at the earliest opportunity
  2. Refusing to corrupt a vampire for the Setites
  3. Allowing one’s feelings for a mortal to override the need to corrupt said mortal
  4. Failing to exploit another’s weaknesses
  5. Failing to replace faith with cynicism and despair
  6. Failing to undermine the current social order in favour of the Setites
  7. Destroying a foe expediently and mercifully rather than “poetically”
  8. Failing to destroy a vampire in Golconda
  9. Refusing to succumb to one’s own weaknesses (this includes attempting to avoid frenzy or Rötschreck)
  10. Attempting to maintain any sense of self-control, purity or worth
Ethics
  • The ideals of purity and spiritual progress espoused by the mortals are lies designed to keep one from one’s destiny.
  • Only in corruption – by succumbing to all that is considered impure, vile and weak – may true enlightenment be found. In weakness lies the greatest strength of all.
  • Decay is inevitable; struggle against such is futile.
  • Force others to see themselves as they are, and to accept what they see.
  • Mortals are suitable subjects for physiological and psychological experimentation to advance the arts of depravity and deformity. Practice such experiments whenever possible.
  • Golconda is the ultimate truth, and thus the ultimate lie. Corrupt its practitioners over all others. If this cannot be accomplished, destroy them by the most horrific methods imaginable.
  • (Attempt to keep redemption from as many as possible, lying and destroying to keep others from bettering themselves)

(The Serpent’s Road prizes misery and excess; therefore, Typhonists hold to the Virtues of Conviction and Instinct.)

History

This is one of the oldest of the Paths, and is believed to have been developed by Set Himself. If this is true, the implications are frightening; what could inspire an Antediluvian, Himself a virtual god, to formulate a code of belief and worship?

The Path, and its followers, have long inspired revulsion and terror among Kindred and kine alike. Even the mortals, who have never fully comprehended the nature of the Path or its followers, have for millennia whispered dark tales of demonic cults.

The Path of Typhon Revised

Nickname

Theophidians (only among themselves; the outside world knows them as Corrupters or by the Followers of Set nickname, Serpents).

Basic Beliefs

Vampires who follow the Path of Typhon have a truly sinister purpose in mind. Theophidians seek the resurrection of their patron and father, Set. Though most vampires view Set simply as a mythical member of the Third Generation, Theophidian doctrine teaches that Set was, in fact, a divine being even before his Embrace. Indeed, Theophidians view Caine as a lesser being than Set, and claim that Set in fact allowed Caine to Embrace him so that he might use the descendants of Caine to strike at his divine counterparts, such as the mythical Gaia and Lilith. In this manner does Set, and through him the Setites themselves, fulfil their place in the universe, acting as agents of entropy and breaking down the old so that the new may blossom.

Accordingly, this Path preaches the importance of influence and control. Many Setites on the surface appear to be little more than pimps, pushers and fixers; in truth, they are much more. Setites commonly view other individuals as tools or founts of information – they are resources for the Setites either way. By gaining control over others, the Setites may use them to fulfil their own ends. Thus, rather than owing those who provide them with information or services, the Setites reverse the role, and instead have their marks come to them first.

Followers of this Path revere Set as something more than a vampire – Set is attributed a deified status, almost a literal translation of the Egyptian god of the underworld. Ways and means for achieving this reincarnation differ, and for this reason, the Followers of Set extend their influence far and wide in hopes of finding information wherever it resides.

Virtues

Vampires on the Path of Typhon uphold the virtues of Conviction and Self-Control.

Current Practices

Theophidians support no sect other than their own clan, though some members have forsaken the resurrection of Set and actually oppose his quest from the ranks of the Sabbat. Many followers of this Path cultivate blood cults of devout followers and indenture legions of desperate individuals to themselves. While the Theophidians are no averse to doing “dirty work” themselves – quite the contrary – they reason that with others serving their purposes, they can accomplish much more than they would ever be able to by themselves. Thus, followers of this Path play many roles: seekers, fixers, scholars, courtesans and harvesters of souls.

Description of Followers

The Theophidians are frequently social chameleons, given their need to move trough many different circles. They are smooth, ingratiating and wholly inspired by their greater cause. Followers of this Path rarely ask favours of others – they prefer to help satisfy the desires of others, and then call in favours based on what they have already done for those others. It is this side that non-Setite Kindred see most frequently and despise; they publicly decry the vice-peddling and corruption of the Followers of Set as breaches of the Masquerade or the puppetry of the Ancients. The Setites know the truth, however: Other Kindred are loath to acknowledge the desires in themselves that a canny Theophidian can satisfy. Clever Setites have even managed to convince non-Setite Kindred to follow this Path after long periods of corruption, dependency and debasement.

Hierarchy of Sins Moral / Rationale
  1. Refusing to aid in Set’s resurrection / This is the purview of unbelievers
  2. Failing to take advantage of another’s weakness / Compassion has no place in Set’s greater plans
  3. Obstructing another Setite’s efforts / The ranks of the righteous are no place for petty power plays
  4. Failing to pursue arcane knowledge / The mysteries of Set’s resurrection may be hidden anywhere
  5. Failing to do whatever is necessary to corrupt another / The more individuals in the Setites’ debt, the better
  6. Failing to undermine the current social order in favour of the Setites / Other Kindred are purposeless or misled, and this indolence delays Set’s revival
  7. Failing to observe Setite religious ritual / This is akin to denying Set
  8. Failing to destroy a vampire in Golconda / Those who have transcended their desires cannot be brought under sway
  9. Refusing to aid another follower of the Path / Teams work efficiently to raise Set
  10. Pursuing one’s own indulgences instead of another’s / The slide into vice is a tool, not a recreation
Ethics
  • Gather information, secret or otherwise, and learn how it applies to the resurrection of Set.
  • Contribute to the clan’s greater goal of reviving its slumbering master.
  • Bring others under your sway, thereby increasing your influence and capability.
  • Subjugate the Beast, as its reckless wiles serve only itself.
  • Maintain a veil of secrecy, for others look ill upon our Path’s means and ends.
  • Look for Set’s hidden signs and act upon them.
History

Theophidians claim a history dating back to nights before the First City. Whether or not this is true is a matter of much debate, especially among detractors, but the widespread presence of human myths that mimic the relationship between Set and Osiris lends credence to its longevity. For millennia, the Theophidians have plied their degenerate trade from ill-lit alleys to holy temples and everywhere in between. Many leaders among the Kindred and kine alike owe their acquisition of power to the followers of this Path, though the prices they have paid are surely high.

Following the Path

Followers of the Path of Typhon are first and foremost seekers of arcane lore, though their keen social graces also make them silver-tongued diplomats. These Kindred are also insidious, working their way into existing vampire societies with serpentine facades of false identities and cadres of loyal followers. The eldest Theophidian in a given locale often erects a temple to Set in some out-of-the-way place, to better serve the slumbering god.

Common Abilities

Any Ability that helps the Kindred achieve her end is prized. As such, the Theophidians have very diverse and capable members. Abilities of particular favour among the Setites include Empathy, Intimidation, Streetwise, Subterfuge, Performance, Academics, Investigation and Politics.

Preferred Disciplines

Theophidians are masters of the reptilian Discipline of Serpentis, though their dealings with others inspire them to pursue the Setite clan Disciplines of Presence and Obfuscate.

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