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The Oath of the Ravens

"In the names of Scathach, the Great Raven, and Gwyn ap Nudd, the Lord of the Hunt, I vow to fight the Corruptor wherever it dwells and whenever it breeds, until the setting of the last sun. May the Dark Lady and Her consort watch over me in my quest, and may They turn Their faces from me and deny me as Their child if ever I should abandon it. The Dark Lady and the Lord of the Hunt my witnesses, so may it be."

This oath is sworn by each member of Scathach's Ravens upon their investiture into the society. It is generally witnessed by another member (preferably three) of the Ravens, and is always sanctified by the shedding of three drops of the caster's blood. These are mixed with the pigment for a tattoo that is placed upon the new Raven's sword arm, signifying his affiliation with this society: a raven and a hound, surrounded by a Celtic knotwork pattern.

The oath binds the caster to oppose the forces of the Great Corruptor (called the Dark by the other fae, and the Wyrm by the Garou) wherever and whenever she encounters them. It is a very powerful oath, and not taken lightly; when properly used, it allows the caster to accomplish truly heroic feats and overcome tremendous odds. If misused, it can destroy the caster for not only this lifetime, but even for all the ones to follow.

After bring told of the society’s history and purpose, the candidate must drink a brew made from a number of rare ingredients, among them the mushroom known as "Scathach’s Finger," and spend the rest of the night alone, in prayer to Scathach and Gwyn. Due to the hallucinogenic properties of some of the ingredients of the brew, this is often a test which either makes or breaks the candidate. Tales are told of candidates who, unable to handle the visions brought about by the concoction, went mad and had to be put down for the safety of the society. At dawn, if the candidate survives, the sponsor administers the Oath of the Ravens and inscribes the tattoo, thus completing the ceremony.

System Notes

The brew imbibed during the initiation ceremony causes changes in the brain of the candidate, opening his perceptions and granting him one dot of a new Trait, Fhios (Gaelic for "The Knowing"). The Corruptor and its minions can be detected by a successful Perception + Fhios roll, Difficulty determined by the StoryTeller. Fhios is only available to Ravens, and a player must have her StoryTeller’s permission to buy the Trait at character creation (STs are encouraged to play out the initiation ceremony during the character's Prelude). It costs (Current Rating x 7) points to increase Fhios with Experience points.

The visions will begin almost immediately after the candidate drinks the brew. Their exact nature is left up to the individual StoryTeller, though they are never pleasant (this period can provide excellent opportunities for intense one-on-one scenes). To determine the duration of the visionquest, the character makes a Willpower roll, Difficulty 8; the number of successes should be subtracted from eight hours (minimum of three hours). If the roll is failed, the process takes eight hours, and the visions are especially horrific; a Botch indicates that the character is unable to cope with the visions, becoming irrevocably insane in the process.

The formula only works on sidhe of House Scathach -- to anyone else, it is a virulent poison (roll Stamina, Difficulty 9; the number of successes indicates how many hours the imbiber is able to survive. At the end of this time, she will die unless given the antidote [the formula of which is known only to the Ravens and perhaps a few scattered Kithain sages]. If the roll is failed, death is immediate; a Botch indicates that the unfortunate individual goes mad and dies slowly and painfully, consumed by visions of nameless horrors).

The Oath of the Ravens grants the caster an extra die to all Brawl and Melee pools when in battle against the Corruptor or its minions for as long as he remains true to his oath. Note that this bonus is cumulative with the extra Brawl and Melee levels granted by House Scathach's Boon. In truly extreme circumstances (ST's discretion), the caster may receive aid directly from Scathach and Gwyn. There are legends of Ravens becoming avatars of Scathach and/or Gwyn in order to defeat their foes, though such a thing has not been heard of since the Mythic Age.

The punishment for breaking this oath depends upon the offense's severity. Ignoring the forces of the Corruptor or deliberately avoiding their destruction strips the offender of the extra Brawl and Melee dice granted by the oath, as well as the benefits of House Scathach's Boon (extra Brawl and Melee dice and -1 to Stealth roll Difficulties), until he atones for the misdeed (usually by resuming his duties as a Raven). Actively aiding the Corruptor's forces immediately strips the offending individual of all benefits of the oath and all Boons of House Scathach -- permanently. He becomes effectively a Houseless sidhe, while still retaining the Flaws inherent to the members of House Scathach (increased Social roll difficulties with other sidhe, the inability to learn the Art of Sovereign, and battle frenzy). He also immediately becomes affected by the sidhe Frailty Banality's Curse. To make matters worse, some of the more literal-minded Ravens have been known to attack these oathbreakers on sight, and there are tales of the Dark Lady and the Lord of the Hunt taking vengeance for the fallen one’s transgression in their own fashion.

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This web page copyright © 1998, Val Grey; web site copyright 1997
This page last revised -- July 1, 2002