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Salubri - Watcher Caste - [Bloodline]

on Sat Oct 14 2017, 17:27

Remember the lessons of Zao-zei and Zao-xue: knowledge is the greatest treasure,
and there is no treasure you do not deserve by right of wisdom.

Scholars. Thieves. Breathstealers. Since Enoch, the Watchers have safeguarded the race of Caine, sabotaging all supernatural rivals who might threaten their dominance. Legend holds that Zao-lat, a trickster from the West, came to the Middle Kingdom to steal enlightenment from the greatest philosopher amongst Ten Thousand Demons. Once the Ten Thousand Immortals in ages past, the demons fell into sin during what they believed to be a mere turn along an eternal wheel of the cosmos. For his arrogance, he was expelled. He left a hated legacy behind: Zao-zei, a temple thief, and Zao-xue, a monkish scholar.

Their descendants — collectively known as the Wu Zao, along with the few Healers and Warriors east of the Yangtze River — say that Zao-lat foresaw the dark times ahead and sought to learn every aspect of the night’s dangers, only to be treated with distrust and hatred. He left the Wu Zao to remain hidden, continue his search for knowledge, and safeguard the clans from those who would challenge their right to exist and seek redemption.

Since then, the Watchers — the caste moniker they adopted when they first established contact with the main clan during the era of the Roman Silk Road — have remained a splinter of an already small clan, all but unknown to their cousin castes, standing sentinel against the monsters who encroach upon Caine’s midnight hegemony. They commune with Lupines and spirits of blood and murder, hold court with the hungry dead, and steal treasures from the chantries of wizards so that the night may be Zao-lat’s to own. They pursue their vigil in these troubled nights, stalking the streets of cities such as Kashi while remaining hidden under the noses of Wan Kuei and Tremere alike. The Watchers masquerade as members of other clans, stride as outsiders in the strange places of the world, and whisper warnings to princes of threats that none others could consider or conceive. As the Golden Horde crawls across the world, the Watchers and Wu Zao unite once more. But Zao-lat’s commandments remain unchanged, and so Watchers raid tombs in search of heretical lore, storm the citadels of knightly orders who possess knowledge of Cainite existence, and clasp jade amulets close to their dead hearts. They watch, and they act.

Even long exposure to the Salubri mandate hasn’t caused the Watchers to adopt the Caine mythos as fact. If questioned directly, they remain mirthfully secular and pragmatic, just as Zao-lat taught them. Even in death — they too felt him perish — Zao-lat is their progenitor not by blood right, but by wisdom. Zao-lat’s teachings are immortal; they will not lose themselves as the other castes have. They know that darkness comes, and that change lies in the fires. If they cannot stop the turning of the wheel, they will ensure Caine’s brood survives it.

Sobriquet: If enough is known about them for a nickname to be passed around, the Watchers have failed as a caste.Appearance: Watchers blend with the other castes, and thus tend to strike a balance between the two styles, scholarly yet martial. While the Wu Zao themselves are often Embraced from Han or Uyghur stock, Western Watchers may come from virtually any culture in the known world.

Havens: When they’re not emulating the habits of other castes or clans, Watchers prefer tombs and monasteries to all else. Even their greatest thieves are scholarly at heart, and even the most scholarly among them knows it’s not stealing if you need it.

Character Creation: Watchers emulate the twins, thieves and scholars cooperating to uncover the necessary knowledge to survive the Fifth Age. Social Attributes are often primary, with Physical or Mental being secondary, depending on which twin they hold dear. Academics, Legerdemain, Stealth, and Subterfuge are all useful to the caste. Like their cousins, Watchers are often of Tenth Generation or lower, and thus possess commensurate Backgrounds. Contacts are also common. As a whole, the bloodline clings to the Road of Humanity, but no few walk the Road of Paradox, which suits their duties well.

Clan Disciplines: Auspex, Obfuscate, Valeren.
Watchers keep to the shadows, scrutinizing every detail from hidden safety. Their Valeren allows them to instantly defuse tense situations and travel far without fearing discomfort, but they often learn the other two Paths in their duties.

Weakness: If a Salubri learns but one dot of Valeren, they manifest the Discipline’s signature third eye. Ironically, Watchers can be remarkably short-sighted, having a tendency to fixate on their preferred small details and ignore the larger conceptual picture. Watchers must choose a field of study narrow enough for a Knowledge specialty, such as the Ten Thousand Demons, a specific mortal culture, or the esoterics of Necromancy. Watchers must succeed on a Willpower roll (difficulty 6) to pass up an opportunity (as defined by the Storyteller) to acquire or study knowledge of their field, or lose two dice from all pools for the remainder of the night.

Organization: Watchers work in pairs. Often, this is with another of their caste, Embraced from the same sire. The majority of the caste lies east of the Yangtze River, where they’re known as the Wu Zao, cursed by the Wan Kuei as thieves of treasure and mockeries of enlightenment. The Western Watchers keep to the sire-childe mentor relationship as the rest of the clan, even if they’re pretending to be something they’re not.

High Clans: They know better than most the price of power and the necessity of doing what needs to be done, but never forget how they forsook us.
Low Clans: Neglected and abused, yet they of ten jockey for power and yearn to be on High. Hope makes them strong, yet renders them exploitable.
Anda: They style themselves as a Golden Horde. We name them Dark Harbingers. Still, they stir up so  many fascinating things in their wake.
Assamite: We’re two sides of the same three coins. Together, we are the wages of sin.
Giovani: Can the Cappadocians truly be so blind? Did they not pay heed to what happened to us?
Ravnos: There’s honor among thieves, and glory amongst rakshasha. Strive to win both.
Tremere: We must never tell the others we foresaw this. If they learn that, they might discover the other secrets Zao-lat wished us to hide.
Wan Kuei: Our greatest rivals and our greatest challenge. Destiny lies in crushing them beneath the wheel.
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