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In White Wolf Game Studio's Vampire: The Masquerade books and role-playing games vampires are staunch creatures ruled by tradition passed on for millennia. These traditions over time shaped a form of society broken into three separate sects, each with their own laws and traditions. Generally, the laws vary with the sects as well as the philosophies held by the sects leading to conflict.
In the revised rulebook; the Anarchs, the Sabbat and the Camarilla are listed as the three main sects that Clans belong to. The three sects are perpetually at war with one another in varied degrees as each holds conflicting views.
These sects are not used in the Kindred of the East, Kindred of the Ebony Kingdom or Vampire: The Dark Ages, however, and only apply to Vampire: The Victorian Age, Vampire: The Masquerade and the card game Vampire: The Eternal Struggle.
- 1 Anarchs
- 2 Camarilla
- 3 Sabbat
- 4 Tal'mahe'Ra (True Black Hand)
- 5 Inconnu
- 6 The Ashirra
- 7 Clans and rankings
- 8 References
The Anarchs are a fictional sect of vampires in Vampire: The Masquerade. Although they are technically members of the Camarilla, they reject the Camarilla's top down power structure, and aim to change it into the grand protector of kindred it claims to be. The name refers to their favor of an anarchic form of social organization over the Camarilla's traditional, hierarchical form. The misconception that Anarchs are a nihilistic cult, wishing to spread chaos and disorder is encouraged by the vampire elders, who hold most of the power in the game world.
Membership of the Anarchs is wide and varied, but the majority of its members are drawn from the clans of the Camarilla and the Sabbat. Whilst it is possible for members of independent Clans or Bloodlines to join, they are less frequently counted amongst the Anarchs numbers.
The Camarilla is a fictional sect of vampires in Vampire: The Masquerade. The Camarilla are composed of seven clans, and are the largest organization of vampires, and possibly of any supernatural creatures, in the World of Darkness.
Camarilla policy is that vampires should try to fit in with and hide from the rest of humanity, as to easily feed on them. For this reason, they created a web of lies and misinformation, called the Masquerade, to make the public believe that supernatural beings like vampires could not possibly exist. The Camarilla also believes that the only way the vampire species can survive in these modern nights is if it unites—any breach of the Masquerade by any vampire risks exposing the entire race. Both viewpoints are fundamentally opposed by the Sabbat.
The Camarilla also enforces the Eldest as ruling class over the younger vampires.
Unlike Whitewolf's Camarilla, freedom is preached in accordance to the Sabbat belief that every vampire is free to create their own destiny without being hindered by the reputations and dictations of their elders, and that no Sabbat has to lay down their life for cowards who cannot take care of their own matters.
Also unlike the Camarilla, the Sabbat believes in Antediluvians, and for the most part considers them a great threat. This belief may have spawned due to the Sabbat being formed in the wake of the Anarch Revolt, and both of the core clans, the Tzimisce and Lasombra, claim that their clan founders were killed during this period of upheaval.
All Sabbat adhere to a code of conduct called "The Code of Milan", which preaches loyalty to sect and packmates, and to one's own freedom within the sect, as long as one's own good is never placed above the good of the Sabbat itself.
In addition to a very firm "if you're not with us, you're against us" mentality, the sect considers vampires to be a higher form of life than humanity due to their immortality and supernatural prowess, and is based upon the principles of Loyalty and Freedom. Loyalty to the sect and to one's comrades is one of the important aspects of the sect, and the Sabbat vampires maintain this loyalty through a ritual called Vaulderie, where strong emotional bonds are created between members of the Sabbat.
- Assamite Antitribu
- Brujah Antitribu
- Gangrel Antitribu (includes City-Gangrel and Country-Gangrel bloodlines)
- Harbingers of Skulls
- Malkavian Antitribu
- Nosferatu Antitribu
- Pander - Sabbat Catiff
- Serpents of Light (Antitribu of the Followers of Set)
- Salubri Antitribu
- Toreador Antitribu
- Tremere Antitribu (mysteriously destroyed)
- Ventrue Antitribu
Note: These are the Clans and bloodlines that exist in numbers amongst the Sabbat; members of other bloodlines & clans can also be found but are much more uncommon.
The Sabbat, as a whole, is not a very structured sect. Though they lack the structure that can be found in the Camarilla, the Sabbat does not regard generation as a guideline for promotion. Instead, simply the most capable of vampires fill the positions they are most suitable for.
Despite its open structure at the bottom, the Sabbat maintains several Ranks, listed from "high" to "low" in the sect organization. The highest rank being Regent, although the sect considers this a stewardship until Caine, the Father of all Vampires assumes leadership.
- Regent, true leader of all Sabbat
- Prisci, attendants/liaisons to/of the regent
- Cardinal, War/spiritual leader for a continent
- Arch-Bishop, war/spiritual leader for a given region
- Bishop, war/spiritual leader for a single city
- Templar, the bodyguards to Bishops and Arch-Bishops
- Ductus, war leader for a single pack
- Priest, spiritual leader for a single pack
- Abbot, keeper of the packs haven
Perhaps the most distinctive part of the Sabbat structure is the formation of so-called Packs of vampires, a state in general the opposite of standard vampire behaviours. The formation of these Packs happens on a voluntary basis. The Vaulderie ritual ensures loyalty to the Pack, reinforcing their loyalty to each other and the Sabbat.
Sabbat packs are divided into two types, founded and nomadic. Founded packs usually stick to one place and do not move around much, instead making one location their base of operations. Nomadic packs, as their name implies, travel from area to area, helping to keep the Sabbat as a whole unified and vital.
Every Pack has a Ductus (a vampire of higher status and experience who functions as leader) and most have a Priest. Priests lead or oversee the rituals of a Pack. There are some universal rituals within the Sabbat, but Packs usually develop their own, with a wide variety of uses.
The Sabbat headquarters is located in Mexico City, Mexico, the heart of Sabbat power and influence and seat of the regent. Much of the southern and eastern United States cities belong to the Sabbat, except New York City, which was retaken by the Camarilla vampires in 1999.
In Europe, the sect presence is much smaller, although several domains of Europe are held by founded packs of the Sabbat, made up of vampires much more powerful and experienced than those elsewhere. One exception is Spain, where they are in prominence, Madrid and Cadiz being great Sabbat strongholds.
The Black Hand
The Black Hand are a fictional sect of vampires, composed of several clans and bloodlines, from White Wolf Game Studio's Vampire: The Masquerade books and role-playing games. The name comes from their symbol, an inverted black hand print. The sect is often confused with the Sabbat itself and another mysterious sect, the Tal'mahe'Ra.
The Black Hand, or simply the Hand, are the assassins of the Sabbat. They comprise a special sub-division of the Sabbat, a sect within a sect. They are an elite group of vampires recognized as separate from all other members of the Sabbat. The Black Hand is not truly a separate body, however, since all its members are loyal to the Sabbat over all else.
Often the Black Hand is called to hunt down especially troublesome vampires during a blood hunt.
Tal'mahe'Ra (True Black Hand)
The Tal'mahe'Ra were a fictional sect of vampires, composed of several clans and bloodlines, from the Vampire: The Masquerade books and role-playing games. The sect was often confused with the Black Hand, which it claimed to have created.
Also called the True Black Hand, the sect was secretive and claimed to have infiltrators in all other factions. The extent of this power and infiltration was debatable, due to the very nature of the sect. Dedicated to bringing about Gehenna and the return of the Antediluvians, these vampires hoped to serve the ancients and gain positions as favoured servants.
Most of the Tal'mahe'Ra were destroyed at the start of the Sixth Maelstrom in the Shadowlands. The surviving members quietly blended into the sects they once infiltrated.
The Bloodlines unique to this sect were the Old Clan Tzimisce (who avoid the mainstream Clan use of Vicissitude), the True Brujah (who wish to avenge their Antedeluvian Ilyes, who was diablerized by her childe Troile, founder of the mainstream Brujah Clan) and the Nagaraja (a necromantic and cannibalistic cabal of Euthanatos Magi who turned themselves into vampires long before the Tremere). The sect also contained members from various other vampire consanguinities.
The Shadow Crusade of the Sect was a campaign against Vicissitude, which they believed to be a parasitic entity contracted by a Tzimisce Methusulah named Andeleon while in plane of reality known as the Deep Umbra. This came to a halt when their base of operations, the shadow realm answer to the classic Enoch, was destroyed. They chose that place not only for its historic value, but also because four creatures thought to be Antedeluvian vampires slept within it, known collectively as the Aralu. While their spirits were visible through Auspex, they were impossible to find. It is later realized that it was not Enoch, but the illusion created by at least one of the Torpid ancients to better mask his presence. The Shadow Crusade ended with the destruction of Enoch, and further White Wolf books revealed Vicissitude to be an active piece of the Tzimisce Antedeluvian. The true nature of the Aralu was never disclosed.
In Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines, the player has a chance to pick up a fabled blade of the Tal'mahe'Ra in the Hallowbrook Hotel.
Supposedly the oldest known sect, the origin, goals and even very existence of this group are largely unknown to the supernatural population at large. The Inconnu has been linked variously to Infernalism, Golconda, Saulot and a host of other conspiracies. Several cities in the World of Darkness have Inconnu monitors, mysterious elder vampires who do little, other than watch the events of their chosen city.
The official storyline for V:TM ended before much was revealed regarding the Inconnu. They were the last secret left unanswered. The Inconnu were elders (Methuselahs) who wished to withdraw from Kindred politics (the Jyhad), kindred seeking Golconda, and hunted clans and bloodlines like the Salubri. All have sworn an oath of Autarkis, the vampires who have turned their back on the Jyhad, refusing to serve a sect, Camarilla or Sabbat, or associate with their Clan outside of the Inconnu.
One Gehenna scenario offered the possible answer that the Inconnu elders were antediluvians besides the 13 who, for the most part, never sired and were loyal to Lilith. In the scenario they help Lilith defeat Caine.
The Ashirra are a Muslim sect of vampires who have embraced the tenets of Islam. The Ashirra, which means 'Brethren' in Arabic, still maintain their Humanity and are loosely affiliated with the Camarilla. The sect was founded by Suleiman ibn Abdullah, a Lasombra Methuselah who had heard the Prophet Muhammad speak, and was much more important to the setting in Vampire: The Dark Ages (in part because of the Crusades and Moors). Some rare few Ashirra still practiced older Roads, such as Tariq al-Sama' (the Road of Heaven), even into the modern era. Although they were comparatively rare in the western world, the Ashirra were still powerful in Middle Eastern countries like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iran and Afghanistan, where neither the Camarilla nor Sabbat held much influence. The Ashirra includes members of all Clans, but the most numerous are the Banu Haqim (Assamite), Qabilat al-Khayal (Lasombra) and Hajj (Nosferatu who had undergone the Pilgrimage to Mecca). Rumors claim that the Ashirra were in contact with a Muslim sect of Mages known as the Ahl-i-Batin.
- Banu Haqim
- Bay't Majnoon
- Bay't Mujrim
- Bay't Mushakis
- El Hijazi
- Qabilat al-Khayal
- Qabilat al-Mawt
- Ray'een al-Fen
Clans and rankings
In Vampire: the Masquerade, a clan (often spelled Clan, with capitalization) is a group of vampires "related" by blood; i.e. the vampiric equivalent of an extended family or lineage. A clan is usually a large group, acknowledged widely in the vampiric society, and not a small offshoot (which is called a bloodline).
It is assumed that each clan descended from a single progenitor (called Antediluvians in Vampire: The Masquerade and Vampire: The Dark Ages, who passed to each of his descendants, or childer, his unique gifts and flaws. However, in the original World of Darkness, it is also assumed that each of these Antediluvians came from a common source: commonly accepted to be Caine, the first murderer.
The Book of Nod names certain clans as the original thirteen; the Kingship Clan (Ventrue), the Clan of the Beast (Gangrel), the Moon Clan (Malkavian), the Clan of the Hidden (Nosferatu), the Wanderer Clan (Ravnos), the Clan of the Rose (Toreador), the Night Clan (Lasombra), the Clan of Shapers (Tzimisce), the Snake Clan (Setites), the Clan of Death (Cappadocian), the Healer's Clan (Salubri), the Clan of the Hunt (Assamite) and the Learned Clan (Brujah). Other fragments have alluded to the possibility of there being other clans who did not survive into the final nights.
Typically Elder vampires are more respected than younger ones (In the Camarilla by law and everywhere else as they are stronger) with some clans being considered higher than others.
The highest ranks in the game are the inconnu (regardless of clan) while the lowest are the clanless. Also worthy of note is the Black Hand.
Caitiff are Camarilla clanless while Pander are Sabbat clanless. Lacking patrons or allies, holding no real power as a group, Caitiff are held in contempt by the Camarilla. The Sabbat's Caitiff are treated as a clan; known as Pander, a title whose namesake is a politically powerful and clanless vampire Joseph Pander, they find direction through the Sabbat.
Since they are clanless, they do not specialize in any particular discipline, but have the freedom to learn any discipline or develop their own. However, finding a mentor for such a pursuit can be difficult.
The blood hunt must be officially declared by the local prince. Once the order is given, it is customary to allow the vampire to flee the city. This mercy is extended until midnight, after which any vampire is free to hunt down and destroy the persecuted subject. On occasion, a reward might be offered to the one who delivers or kills the victim.
Any vampire who helps the subject of a blood hunt in any way is considered an accomplice and may himself become an additional target.
- Dean Shomshak & Sarah Roark, Time Of Thin Blood (White Wolf Game Studio, 1999, ISBN 1-56504-245-X)
- Justin Achilli et al., Vampire: The Masquerade (Revised Edition) (White Wolf Game Studio, 1998, ISBN 978-1-56504-249-0)
- Justin Achilli & Richard E. Dansky, Guide To The Camarilla (White Wolf Game Studio, 1999, ISBN 1-56504-262-X
- Justin Achilli, Vampire: The Masquerade (Revised Edition) (White Wolf Game Studio, 1998, ISBN 1-56504-249-2)
- James Moore, Outcasts: A Player's Guide to Pariahs (White Wolf Game Studio, 1995, ISBN 1-56504-312-X)
- Sarah Roark, C.A. Suleiman & Janet Trautvetter, Caine's Chosen: The Black Hand, (White Wolf Game Studio, 2003, ISBN 1-58846-236-6)
- Justin Achilli et al., Guide to the Sabbat (White Wolf Game Studio, 1999, ISBN 1-56504-263-8)
- Sarah Roark, C.A. Suleiman & Janet Trautvetter, Caine's Chosen: The Black Hand, (White Wolf Game Studio, 2003, ISBN 978-1-58846-236-7)
- Steven C. Brown & Ken Meyer, The Storytellers Handbook to the Sabbat(White Wolf Game Studio, 1995, ISBN 1-56504-042-2)
- Steven C. Brown & Jeff Starling, A Players Guide to the Sabbat (White Wolf Game Studio, 1995, ISBN 1-56504-042-2)
- Steven C. Brown, Dirty Secrets of the Black Hand, (White Wolf Game Studio, 1994, ISBN 978-1-56504-210-0)
- White Wolf Publishing, Vampire Storytellers Handbook, (White Wolf Game Studio, 2000, ISBN 978-1-56504-264-3) 1565042646
- Vampire: The Masquerade (3rd Edition) by White Wolf (1998)