I've had several people ask about Roads and the etiquette in dealing with them. Are Cainites on the Road of Sin reviled and hunted as "evil?" If a Cainite on Road of the Beast frenzies on a snarky Toreador for mocking him, how responsible is he for his actions? Because this information isn't clearly explained in Faith and Fire, I'll outline it here.
First of all, all of the mainstream versions of the five major Roads (Beast, Heaven, Humanity, Kings, and Sins) are more or less universally accepted in Cainite society. The minor Clan-specific Roads, such as Metamorphosis, Paradox, or Bones, are accepted or reviled by most Princes and Cainites on an individual level, as are the Paths (sub-Roads) that are derived
from the five major Roads (such as the Sins Path of Cruelty or the Heaven Path of Retribution). These Roads and Paths are lesser-known, and Cainite society has not formed universal opinions of them. The descriptions of these moralities often detail how other Cainites react to those who follow them. Learned Cainites are generally aware of the existence of the Clan-specific Roads, but not the details of their ethics. Likewise, most Cainites who study such things are aware of the divergent Paths of the various Roads, particularly variants of the Road that they follow. If you are unsure of how Cainites typically react to other vampires on a given Road or Path, consult me.
Another very important aspect of Cainite etiquette and society is the virtue of Instinct. Unlike those who aspire to Self-Control, Cainites on Instinct-based Roads (notably Beast and Sins) are very prone to frenzy. If they are attacked or humiliated, these vampires are virtually guaranteed to succumb to frenzy. So what happens if a Cainite on Instinct is slapped in the face (literally or figuratively) by another, and promptly enters into a frenzy? Can the frenzied Cainite be held responsible for his actions while in this frenzy?
Well, it depends. Instinct allows a character to direct his frenzy, rather than resist it. If the frenzied vampire turns around and tears into the nearest person, he is held accountable for that attack, because he failed to diret his rage appropriately. However, if he controls his frenzy and keeps his attacks restricted to the vampire who insulted or attacked him, the vampire is typically **NOT** punished for the attack. In this case, it is actually the vampire who PROVOKED the frenzied Cainite who is usually held responsible.
This is because most Cainites bear an aura that makes it easy to determine their Road. In the case of characters on Sins or Beast, this means that other vampires should be aware that the character directs his Beast, rather than caging it, and are EXPECTED to consider this in their dealings with the Cainite. Quite simply, if a character is foolish enough to provoke a character on an Instinct-based Road, the offender deserves what he gets.
Not all Cainites think this way. Some individuals may choose to hold any vampire who frenzies accountable for his actions. These individuals simply do not have many friends among those on Road of the Beast or Road of Sins. However, most Princes and elders recognize that, as Beast and Sins are viable Roads, concessions must be made in dealing with those who follow them. The most common concession is, as detailed above, the understanding that those on such Roads are simply not to be provoked.
Minor Roads or Paths, however, are lesser-known. In cases where such Roads or Paths adhere to Instinct, it is considered common etiquette to discreetly inform others of this fact. Failure to do so can result in a Prince severely punishing the character for his apparent loss of control.
If there are any other questions on the matter of Roads (or any other matters), feel free to ask.