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Rites of the Male Face

Overview

Do not be afraid of your fear-
Your fear is a signal, a sign,
The universe telling you to pay attention,
So that you can better find something worth fighting for.

Nature, at its core, yields and sustains life through corresponding and sympathetic union. The roots below mirror the branches above. Life must die to create life anew. Night follows day. Male and female essences exist in harmony to sustain life throughout the natural world. While Vecatra in many ways exists beyond the understanding of mortal men, the faces humanity ascribes to Vecatra allow them to grasp some understanding of the divinity in the world around them. The male face of Vecatra symbolizes another part of the whole. It is the aspect that signifies vigor, war, creation, and necessary violence, the warmth of the sun and the light that pierces illusions. It is the face of passion and thunder, of mountains and the open sky and horns locked in competition.

Just so, this is the face associated with warfare and facing outward, rising to meet external challenges. This is often honored and exemplified by activities such as hunting monsters and Malefic or aberrant creatures, defending territory, and venturing into the unknown. It is the first face of the triad of Vecatra: Creation, followed by Growth with the Female face, and then Death with the Other face. It is closely associated with the warrior arts, and those who follow this aspect are often called to make their mark on the people and world around them, to claim and strive and push beyond that which has been done before.

This aspect is as to a flame that drives off the darkness. The male face exists in direct opposition to the Other face, the aspect of darkness, enigma, and death; and the two rely on the bridge of the female face if ever there needs to be interaction. For without that mediation, they would be locked in eternal conflict rather than exist as a cycle. Many adherents of the male aspect of Vecatra believe that one of the reasons the world exists out of balance and that evil runs rampant is that generations of humanity have been too lenient in dealings with the other face, and now death is so commonplace that it has lost much of its meaning. Thus, while what is dear must be protected, many Vecatrans with this belief take it upon themselves to hunt and resolve Malefic creatures – the denizens of the Night and children of the Other – and push to expand their spheres of influence ever outward. Death must still occur, of course, but balance must also be restored, and there is a distinct difference between the clean death of a life well-lived and an end well-earned and the vile and wrongful actions and deaths that create Malefic. As such, blades, sweat, the hunt, virility, and combat are featured in the rites which honor Vecatra’s male face

Vow: Never speak to a Malefic, lest ye be corrupted.

Rank 1 

Dedicate Shrine to the Male Face

A ritual to create a space sacred to the Male Face.
Listen to what your heart speaks, for your instincts are sharp, and your intuition knows what your senses do not. Ensure your heart is not walled off; ensure it is not cut off from this warrior’s input.
Constellation: Ramah
Orthodoxy: 3
Observances:

Act – The Cultist makes their way to an open field, free of trees and large rocks.
Offering – The skull of a deer buck is placed in the center of the field and surrounded with fist sized stones.
Offering – A handful of cloudberries is placed in the mouth of the skull.
Focus – An iron dagger is stabbed into the ground in front of the nose of the skull.
Liturgy“Father of victory, might, and provision, we consecrate this ground in your honor. A place where we might let out a war cry, true and clear, to rally our allies. Your hunter’s guidance keeps us safe, lets us return to our kin. You lead us to expand, to seek new places so that we might grow and flourish. May you bolster our strength and prowess. In return, we bring you what you seek, forever and always.”

Mechanical Effect
The Cultist will now be able to conduct rituals that require a shrine of the Male Face to complete.

Additionally, when anyone uses the Prayer ability at the shrine, while giving an offering of Obsidian, a Crow’s Beak, Veal, Mantis Claw, a Blade that has Killed two people, or a Troll’s Tongue presented with prayer the following effect is gifted to them:

If downed, Pain is inflicted upon the person who downed you. This power is expended upon use, or when the Hopeful condition gained by this prayer is expended.

Grip of War

Bless warriors of Vecatra before they enter battle
No matter how long the day, the evening comes.
Constellation: Ghazal
Orthodoxy: 2
Observances:

Act – The Cultist gathers all warriors who are to participate in the battle, numbering no more than five, at a Shrine of the Male Face.
Act – The Cultist gives a speech of approximately ten to fifteen minutes about bravery, honor, and honoring Vecatra.
Offering – An Emerald Dragonfly is crushed into a paste in the Bowl.
Act – The Cultist smears a line of the paste between the brows of each warrior from the middle of their forehead to the tip of their nose.

Mechanical Effect
Warriors painted with this will ignore Disarm for the duration of the battle by calling Divine Resist: Disarm.

This ritual can be used to affect up to a maximum of five people, and the cultist may include themselves in this number.

Hunter’s Path

Create a trail that only allies can see, no matter the terrain.
I will find you on the top of the mountain. I will find you out on the beach. There is no place under the eyes of the gods you can go that I will not follow.
Constellation: Jabal
Orthodoxy: 3
Observances:

Offering5 Firefly Thoraxes (one for every two trail markers created) are obtained to mark the path
Act – The Cultist spits upon each Thorax.
Act – The Cultist speaks the name of each individual who can see this path
Act – The Cultist lays a Thorax (represented by trail marking tape of a particular color and with the named individuals upon it) down every ten strides along the path the Cultist wants their comrades to follow.
Liturgy – The Cultist speaks over the thoraxes, once for each trail marker. “Through the woods, I lead them to my prey. With this light, I’ll guide them through the way. For their eyes only, let them see, so they can make it safe to me.”

Mechanical Effect
This rite creates up to 10 trail markers that can be read only by the people who are named on the marker.

This path can be seen in the dark or the light, but it will fade at dawn.

The Cultist may use their own preferred color of trail marking tape to mark a path (provided it is not the same color as staff’s markers for resources).
No one but the people named on the trail marker tags may notice the path.

Malefic Stalker

Discover the originating point of a single Malefic creature.
The world is full of truth that one can only see the whole of from different vantage points.
Constellation: Jabal
Orthodoxy: 4
Observances:

Act – The Cultist finds a secluded area in the woods with settlements in sight.
Offering – a Candle with a rune carved into it is lit.
Act – Place the Candle where the rite will be conducted.
Focus – Set a Cauldron filled with water above a fire until the water boils.
Offering – Toss a sprig of herb with the depressant effect into the Cauldron and boil for five minutes.
Act – Once the water has cooled, the Cultist dips their hands into the potion and splashes some onto their closed eyes.

Mechanical Effect
Once applied to the eyes, this ritual brew allows the Cultist to follow and determine the originating point of one Malefic creature (den, nest, grave, etc.)

Rite of Rage

Enrage oneself before battle in order to enhance martial prowess.
Better a night full of rage than a night full of regret.

Constellation: Aldhiyib
Orthodoxy: 3
Observances:

Offering – A rabbit corpse is brought to the shrine of the Male Face
Focus – The carcass is cut open and the heart, lungs, and liver are removed at a shrine of the Male Face.
Offering – The organs are consumed by the Cultist in their entirety.
Focus – The Cultist drains the blood of the animal into a bowl.
Act – The entire bowl of blood is drank by the Cultist

Mechanical Effect
The Cultist can call Stun Defense on the target of their choice after issuing a scream of rage once per rest for a combat scene. The opponent target and the Cultist must be facing each other and be within hearing distance.

Eyes of the Forest

Find that which is hidden
See there- how the grass sways out of tune with the rest of the wind? How the moths swing in a larger arc around that plot of ground? That is what you should look for.
Constellation: Nahr
Orthodoxy: 2
Observances:

Offering –  A measure of clay is rolled out on a sunwarmed stone
Offering – Into the clay, an herb with the focus aid effect is mixed
Act – The target spits into the clay and the Cultist mixes it in, shaping it into a small flat disk and engraving the rune to the left into its surface.
Liturgy – “Hawk and cat- spirits of sight; protect me from the tools of might. Let me see that which would harm; and signal me with your alarm.”

Mechanical Effect
When the ritual is complete it creates a Charm of Spotting traps that allows the target to see a trap before it is triggered. If the target of the ritual triggers a trap due to a lack of notice, the charm breaks, and the trap is reset- as the charm allowed the target to see it in the moment before triggering it.

Animal Scout

Summon a familiar to provide information
Fur and claws, sinew and spirit; we are the same in all but perceptions.
Constellation: Jabal
Orthodoxy: 3
Observances:

Offering: One unit of tallow is placed in a bowl in front of the Cultist, who sits in the center of a large clearing in the middle of the woods, listening to the sounds of the woods and the creatures within it.
Offering: One gram of salt is mixed into the tallow.
Act: The Cultist carve a rune into an animal bone with a sharp implement
Offering: The animal bone is held aloft in the Cultist’s open hands and broken while speaking the liturgy.
Liturgy: “Oh great Vecatra, spirit of the world, I call to the beasts of the woods so that they may call to me. I offer up this gift of earth and sea, of life and death, to bring my will manifest into form. Come to me, guide me, and I shall care for and honor you.”

Mechanics:
If the ritual is successful, a small carnivorous animal will appear and eat the tallow before making eye contact with the Cultist and scurrying away. This animal is now tied to the carved bone, and can be summoned by the Cultist at the start of a module to scout ahead and return to give information about what the module contains. To summon the animal scout the Cultist must break the bone and give it to the animal as a reward for its information.

Rank 2

Talons of the Owl

It is senseless to rejoice in the death of an enemy, for neither are you immortal.
Constellation: Sahm
Orthodoxy: 3
Observances:

OfferingCoal is crushed into a bowl.
OfferingBeeswax is mixed into the coal until they are well combined.
Focus – A weapon the Cultist wishes to be blessed is gathered to be given power.
Offering – The weapon is laid down on a swath of Fine Furs.
Act – The Cultist coats the blade, barrel, or attacking end of the weapon with the wax mixture and carves a rune into the coating.

Mechanical Effect:
The weapon may now bypass any defensive calls with the Malefic quality once per rest until the next dawn. The calls are: Divine Quick or Divine Driving.

One with the Wild

Imbue charms from the Talisman Crafting ritual with mechanical effects. Each charm is consumed upon use.
Constellation: Tanin
Orthodoxy: 2
Observances:

Liturgy“Father, bless this charm with the gifts of your children.” The Cultist should then speak aloud the name of the desired animal.
Focus – The likeness of the animal is carved into a Talisman with a Dagger.
Offering – An animal corpse matching the likeness is cut open and its blood rubbed into the talisman
Focus– A drop of blood is taken from the Cultist by cutting a slit in their thumb with a Dagger and pressed onto the charm.

Mechanical Effect:
Each charm is consumed upon a single use by using the call of Divine Effect
Animals:

  • Rabbit: Gain escape while unseen or 30′ distance from enemies.
  • Wolf: Gain fear call on one target per combat.
  • Turtle: You may call armor when struck from behind.
  • Badger: You may retain use of struck or stunned limbs (unless you take enough damage to be downed.).
  • Sturgeon: Reflects one fear call onto the attacker.
  • Bear: Gains enough strength to carry someone out of danger.

Leap of the Stag

Embody the speed and stealth of a prey animal.
In every sound the hidden silence sleeps.
Constellation: Ghazal
Orthodoxy: 4
Observances:

Offering– The carcass of a deer is brought to the place of the Rite.
Act – The deer is cut open down its belly and the ribcage is cracked open.
Offering – The heart is cut out of the deer and covered with tallow
OfferingThorncrown is rubbed atop the heart, and then the Cultist rubs the anointed heart all over their body
Act – The Cultist kneels beside the corpse, heart in hand, and meditates for ten minutes on the sacrifice of the animal, its qualities, and the melding of soul and spirit between the animal and the Cultist.
Liturgy
“Slowly, swiftly, through the night.
I ask for aid to quiet my plight.
Let my footfalls make no sound
As I walk this blessed ground.”

Mechanical Effect:
For a combat scene, the Cultist may refresh a dodge once per rest. The effect fades after the combat scene ends. If not used, the effects of the Rite fade by the following dawn.

Rank 3

Critheagla (CREE-ha-gluh)

Become a terrifying sight to behold that inspires fear and unrest.
The magic of vengeance is not a clean thing. It is a blunt instrument that attacks bystanders just as often as the intended target.
Constellation: Jamus
Orthodoxy: 3
Observances:

Offering – The back of an Elk Skull is cut open so that it fits onto the head like a mask.
Offering – Leather is cut into strips and used to attach a human jawbone to the Skull.
Act – The Cultist places the skull upon their head.
Act – The Cultist walks to a populated area and kneels in the middle of the space.
Liturgy“See me now, in my rawest form. I am the warrior, and I am revealed.”

Mechanical Effect:
When wearing the mask, the Cultist gains one Terror call that refreshes on rest, a maximum of five times.

The Cultist gains one use of push because of their horns. (NOTE: Do not come into contact with another player using your horns.)

This must be costumed.

Anoint the Male

Create a Cultist under the male face of Vecatra
Transformation is a form of shape shifting, and is not for the faint of heart.
Constellation: Ramah
Orthodoxy: 6
Observances:

Act – The Initiate prepares themselves by working into a sweat with combat training.
Offering – A raw piece of meat is fed to the Initiate
Act – The Cultist cuts a slice with a Dagger lengthwise down the tongue of the Initiate so that blood begins to flow.
Act – The Cultist presses a piece of Lightning Struck Wood against the slice on the follower’s tongue so that it is fully coated in blood.
Act – The Cultist buries the wood in the ground at the Shrine of the Male face
Liturgy“With your blood, rise up. Show our father you are worthy. You are a leader, a fighter, a warrior. Stand proud, so that all that lay their eyes upon you will know that you are a protector of Vecatra’s creation.”
Liturgy – The Initiate must repeat the following liturgy:
“I am here for the father, that he may use me to stop the night from bleeding into the day, that I may stop the creeping taint from corrupting us all.”
Focus – A copy of the holy writ of the Male Face is provided to the Initiate after the completed ritual. It takes a downtime and a Blank Book for the Cultist leading the rite to copy their own writ.

Mechanical Effect:
The follower is now a Cultist of the Male Face.

The new Cultist is now bound by the vow of the Male Face.

The new Cultist is now Rank 1.

Pierce the Veil

Attack that which is beyond the flesh.
There is something that lies beyond the body, beyond this form we find ourselves in. This too is a part of ourselves, and must be mastered just as we master our corporeal wants and desires.
Constellation: Jamus
Orthodoxy: 3
Observances:

Offering: Charcoal is added to a bowl as the Cultist brings the target to a place of nature, asking them to describe what makes the target strong.
Offering: A human essence is added to the charcoal as the Cultist asks the target to describe that which frightens them.
Offering: A rare herb is added to the mixture as the Cultist asks the target to describe that which they fight for.
Liturgy: “As the moon shines through the night, so too might this weapon cut through the shades of the darkness beyond death and shake those who encounter it to their very core.”
Focus: Using the mixture in the bowl, the Cultist marks the melee weapon with the rune.

Mechanical Effect:
For the next combat scene the target may choose one of two effects to use. Either:

  • The weapon so marked with a rune may interact with incorporeal creatures as if they were corporeal by answering an “Incorporeal” call with an “Incorporeal Weapon” call. Or:
  • After a successful hit with the weapon so marked with a rune the target may call: Weaken Faith.

Once the target has used either of the calls they may not use the other. At the end of the combat the weapon loses its power and the rite must be recast. The cultist may count themselves as the target of the ritual, provided they clearly announce the descriptions in the Offerings.

Rank 4

Wicker Man

A display of power and zeal, and a punishment for an unforgivable transgression. (OOC set up: Have a stable block between two trees that the PC/NPC can stand on, make a wall of sticks jutting up in front of them, and have a fire pit A SAFE distance away from the target, but still in front of them. The target’s arms should be “bound” to the two trees, and then they can “burn”)
The tears of the world are a constant quality. For each one who begins to weep, somewhere else another stops.
Constellation: Tanin
Orthodoxy: 5
Observances:

Focus – A Wicker Man is crafted by a willing witness capable of wood working (capable of Wyrd Crafting) using the Wicker Man wyrd schematic and then set up between two trees in the forest.
Act – At least five witnesses who have undergone Saining create a semi-circle around the front of the Wicker Man, each of them five feet away from the structure. This number can include the Cultist, but not the cursed target.
Act – The target is restrained inside of the structure, and the target must be either a Triumverati, a follower of the Grey Ones, or Blight.
Act – The Cultist lights the Wicker Man on fire.
Liturgy – “To cast out the abuse from this being, we must strip away all that stands in the way. Fire for the Father, as his prowess rends and tears. Ash for the Mother, as an offering for new life. Death for the Other, so we remember fear.”
OfferingThree branches of holly are thrown into the fire.
Liturgy – Every witness, including the Cultist, will chat this in unison five times:
“The wheel is spinning round and round,
What is alive goes back to ground.”

Mechanical Effect:
The target immediately dies, becomes Cursed, and any vow or covenant with a Higher Power is broken as if they had broken it themselves. When they return from death they must both atone for breaking an oath as well as remove the Cursed condition before they can reclaim their Cultist abilities, if applicable.

Anyone who witnesses the ritual gains the Traumatized condition.

All Vecatrans in attendance gain a Personal Victory.

Summon the God

Communicate with an avatar of the male face of Vecatra. This ritual requires three Cultists of the Male Face.
Consider your prayers carefully, for the gods are listening to every word.
Constellation: Jabal
Orthodoxy: 7
Observances:

FocusA warrior Cultist with zero Depravity accepts the request to be the vessel of the Male Face. They must spend the day in silence.
Act – The Warrior and two other Cultists kneel before the Shrine of the Male Face.
Act – The three Cultists remain silent for three minutes in meditation on the defeat of an adversary as well as the potential sacrifices to come. Both priests then rise to their feet as the Warrior remains kneeling.
Offering – The Eye of a Leader is eaten by the Warrior.
Offering – The Warrior is stripped to the waist and oil is applied to their body.
Act – One of the Cultists delivers three blows to the left side of the warrior with a Scourge, and the other delivers three blows to the right side.
Liturgy – “We offer a warrior to the warlord. A leader offered to a leader. Oh father, supreme protector, take this vessel! Unblemished and unbesmirched, they stand before you as a willing sacrifice.”
Act – The Cultists perform the rite of Critheagla with no vulgarity.
Act – The warrior rises and lets out a mighty battle cry.

Mechanical Effect:
Let staff know before the event if you are going to conduct this ritual. This can only be performed by the Cultists involved once per game.

This rite summons an avatar of the Male Face which possesses the warrior and controls their actions.

The Cultists may ask the avatar of the Male Face three questions total. These can each be answered in a maximum of one sentence.

While possessed, the warrior’s body is imbued with the powers of the avatar of the Male Face, and the results may be catastrophic. Every creature can understand him.

The avatar of the Male Face maintains control until they decide to leave the Cultist’s body.