Road, or Viae in Latin, are terms used by vampires to describe the philosophies that serve as artificial codes of honor and morality for their kind.
A Road's primary purpose is to suppress or control the Beast within the vampire (and, as with many other aspects of the game, the Roads show signs of being influenced by the Roman Catholic Church of the Dark Medieval). Every character is given a Road during character creation. While the Road of Humanity is one of the most widely practiced philosophies, it is not nearly as universal as the Humanity trait in VTM.
Every Road has ten ranks, with 10 being near-perfectly attuned to the path and 1 being barely in control. These ratings tend to vary throughout a character's unlife. Each Road has a different Hierarchy of Sins, which lists what actions mandate a degeneration role for a character with a given path rating.
In addition, Dark Ages: Vampire added optional Paths to each Road which allowed a character to focus on a particular aspect of the Road's beliefs. Each Path adds an additional set of Sins to the Road it stems from. The Revised edition of the rules also introduced Auras which gave those near a follower of the road a particular feeling about that person, as well as expanded the Roads to complete religions, so much so a Road socially became about as important as Clan.
The Roads are treated as more than just a statistic or even a philosophy. While they are not as strictly organized as some other groups, such as the sects of the V:TM era, individuals known as ashen priests supervise the growth and maintenance of their Roads. The Priests are responsible for instructing initiates to the Road, conducting rituals, overseeing festivals and researching ancient writings on their Road and the Beast. Essentially, they share the duties of their mortal equivalents in the Church.
One of the most interesting aspects of the Roads is their diversity. While several (Viae Humanitatis, Caeli and Regalis, for example) are easy for mortal players to relate to, others offer a wide range of very inhuman thought processes for characters to embrace. Some clans such as the Cappadocians are united by a favored Road as much as their Disciplines and blood.
|Dark Ages: Vampire Roads and Paths|
|Road of the Beast||Path of the Grey Hunter · Path of the Hunter · Path of the Nomad · Path of the Savage · Road of the Slain · Road of the Yasa|
|Road of Heaven||Path of the Archangel · Path of Christ · Path of Divinity · Path of Life · Path of Penitence · Path of the Prophet · Path of the Pure · Path of Retribution · Path of Tears · Road of Aesirgard|
|Road of Humanity||Path of Breath · Path of Community · Path of Illumination · Path of Vigor|
|Road of Kings||Path of Chivalry · Path of Daena · Path of Devaraja · Path of the Merchant · Path of the Tyrant · Path of the Vizier|
|Road of Lilith||Path of Making · Path of Thorns · Path of Veils|
|Road of Sin||Path of Cruelty · Path of Pleasure · Path of Screams · Path of the Devil · Path of the Eightfold Wheel · Path of Watchful Gods|
|Other Roads||Code of Samiel · Road of Blood · Road of Bones · Road of Metamorphosis · Road of Night · Road of Paradox · Road of Service · Road of Set (Path of Apep) · Road of the Abyss · Road of the Hive · Road of the Serpent|
The basic reason to preserve your character's Via rating is Multiple: if his
Via ever falls to zero, he becomes a monster under the Storyteller's control.
Permanently. Of course, there are other reasons. For instance, you cannot roll
more dice in any Empathy roll than you have in your Via score. The fewer Via
points you have, the deeper you sleep, and the more difficult it is for you to
wake up in an emergency. You also tend to go into a frenzy more often in
stressful situations, as you find it difficult to control your primal instincts
when you are in danger. The actions you take when in frenzy could lead you to
lose even more Via points.
This Trait can be seen as what separates a vampire from a human. Vampires with
high Via ratings are closest to human (as distinct from humane). Those far
behind on their Road are bestial and monstrous, and not by choice.
Effects of the Roads:
To a large extent, a Via rating determines how human a vampire appears and how
easily she can pass for human in the general populace. The farther back along a
Road a character is, the more bestial she appears.
Vampires tend to sleep very deeply and, even if there is danger, can be
difficult to wake up. During the day, especially after being awakened, you
cannot roll more dice on any roll for any action than your character's Via
rating. See the Awakenings section for more information on how the Roads affect
activities during the day.
Roads directly affect Virtue rolls when you attempt to resist going into
frenzy. You cannot roll more dice than your character's Via rating. Therefore,
as you sink into the abyss of bestiality, you cannot long resist the call of
the wild. As the Road is lost, the character comes slowly closer to the day
when he loses all self-control.
The length of time spent in torpor is also directly affected by the Via rating.
The fewer the character's Via points, the longer he remains in torpor.
The Forking Path: (Changing Paths)
Sometimes, a character's philosophy evolves enough during play to warrant a
change of Road. If the Storyteller and player agree that such a change is
appropriate, the Cainite may move to a different Road. (For obvious reasons, a
vampire cannot spend am real time "between" Roads. Such indecisiveness is
fodder for the Beast.) If the new Road uses the same Virtues as the previous
one, the character's new Via score is worked out as if the character was newly
created (i.e., all dots gained from experience or freebie points are lost). If
a Virtue changes, then the new Virtue starts with one dot and cannot be raised
higher for at least three sessions. Such a dramatic change in philosophy takes
some getting used to.