The moment you’ve been waiting for ! Read on for the background history behind our newest Human character class – The Lost Seers of Avernus’ Prophet...
Hunted down and preyed-upon in the wild, or imprisoned and bled dry in a Vampire blood farm, Humanity is an endangered species and will use any weapon at their disposal – even if it turns out to be a double-edged sword.
When Kain himself was only newly made a Vampire, the great Human city of Avernus changed from being a place of peaceful worship to a hell on earth. Azimuth the Matriarch of Avernus went insane, ordering her followers – the Cenobites – to gather sacrificial victims while summoning demons to decimate the city. With Azimuth radiating supernatural power and threatening to destroy any who stood against her, some orders of her priests turned from protecting and healing the population to being their tormentors and oppressors, becoming the Acolytes and Summoners.
The divinatory order of the Prophets, however, was appalled at what they saw and – seizing rare treasures from the catacombs of the Cathedral – fled from the burning city. An enraged Azimuth dispatched demonic servitors to hunt these traitors down, but in the chaos many escaped thanks to their own magical prowess, hiding in remote locations scattered across Nosgoth.
Even after Azimuth herself was slain by Kain, the surviving Prophets remained hidden. Shocked by how easily the Circle of Nine had been torn apart, they decided that secrecy would be one of the most powerful ways to ensure their survival. Another would be the artefacts that would help balance the scales against inhuman adversaries, be they Vampire or Demon, and so the Prophets became scavengers and treasure-seekers, using their abilities of augury and scrying to new effect. Soon tales of mysterious covens of Witches started to spring up among the Humans of Nosgoth – ironically often referring to them as demon-worshippers.
The relics rescued from Avernus became the first of many treasures that the Prophets would discover in the hidden places of the world, and gather in their own secret treasure vaults. They were determined to remain an elusive target and so maintained a scattered organisation, with isolated communities often only aware of a few others of their kind, meeting rarely and communicating instead using their mystical powers. New recruits were identified by divination, kidnapped and indoctrinated into the mysteries of the Prophets, to form new generations of scholars, explorers and artificers.
Two particular events of note would shape the future of the Prophets. Compelled by otherworldly hallucinations, the Prophet Roxen wrought ballistic equipment that her sisters would come to favour over the centuries, including technologies previously unseen in Nosgoth. In time, multiple-barrelled pistols emerged as their signature weapons. Though some whispered tales of a connection between the new armaments and a great Oracle whom Roxen suspected might be another of her own kind, the truth remained ambiguous.
The second discovery was to prove even more momentous. Following a series of shared visionary dreams to the long-abandoned mines east of Willendorf a band of Prophets discovered an ornate fountain of red blood deep underground. The youngest – a new recruit named Malus – was seized by an irresistible compulsion to drink from the fountain, and immediately fell into a coma that lasted for a whole year. When she awoke she spoke of the visions she had received, that the blood fountain was capable of killing any Vampire who drank from it.
Research devoted to employing the fountain’s full potency became Malus’ life, and after her premature death, a like-minded group of companions continued the quest. Once harnessed however, the blood fountain proved an unwieldy weapon since removing the now-blackened blood from its source rendered it inert.
Frustrated but sure that one day Humanity would find a way to harness this lethal power, over the centuries the explorers instead became a sect of guardians, protecting the cavern and praying for enlightenment. When it was discovered that after decades the black blood turned red again, a tradition sprang up of volunteers drinking from it again to maintain its unhallowed state for further tens of years.
The zeal of the Prophets endured while Kain rose to power and the Human race fell into decline. His sudden disappearance from Nosgoth changed many things: it not only led to his Lieutenants turning on each other in civil war, but over the centuries led to a weakening of certain enchantments he had laid throughout the Heartlands. Sensitive to these disturbances, the Prophets sought out these newly exposed sites and were stunned to discover each one housed another of the blood fountains, primed for their use. These new sacred places were swiftly occupied and warded again by the Prophets, and they re-doubled their explorations in the hope of finding yet more of such secrets. Yet despite all their new activity, the Prophets were no closer to being able to take the fight to the age-old enemy.
Now however, with the once-warring Vampire Clans united in a war of final conquest, this reclusive order has been driven by desperation to the brink of madness. In hidden shrines across the land of Nosgoth, terrible rituals are coordinated. Imbibing potentially lethal doses of the black blood, the ranks of the Prophets put their bodies into a state of toxic shock from which barely half emerged alive. Those who do are permanently altered – blinded, their lips stained and their own blood tainted for as long as their hearts continue to beat.
Now the Prophets turn the source of their enemies’ very existence against them – the blood is no longer of life, but instead has become a weapon. Experimenting with the powers unlocked within their own bodies was the first step, followed by extracting a blood-tithe from any Human settlement that wanted their protection.
Prophets use tainted blood – their own and that of others which they ‘bless’ – as weapons. Bullets dipped in the fluid carry wicked hexes. Dark blood can be spilled upon the ground to temporarily repel or weaken attackers. Their mutated bodies have an unhealthy attraction to other sources of stolen blood, giving them the ability to literally steal the life from nearby Vampires.
Some members of the other factions, raised on child-hood tales of demon-worshipping witches, might look askance at their new allies and mutter darkly about demons and black magic, but for now the Prophets are welcomed as a powerful new force in the war against their common foe.