Misconceptions about the Sabbat
1. The Sabbat is a sect of mindless killers.
2. The Sabbat's main focus is personal freedom.
3. All Sabbat are considered equal.
4. The Sabbat is a brotherhood. The Sabbat is a family. All
Sabbat are loyal to one another.
5. The Sabbat does not believe in the Masquerade.
6. A Sabbat skilled at Monomacy can rise rapidly in the ranks.
7. All Sabbat are Embraced, beaten with shovels, and buried
8. The Sabbat has no dealings with mortals.
9. The Sabbat revel in animalistic bestiality.
10. The Sabbat are the Bad Guys.
The Sabbat is a sect of mindless killers. This is, in fact,
a combination of Camarilla propaganda, and the fact that the
front-line grunts rarely see the complex machinations in the
shadows just out-of-sight. While it is true that Clans such
as the Brujah antitribu, the Malkavian antitribu, the Malkavian
antitribu, and the Panders are fierce warriors and dangerously
unstable killers, they are not the only Clans of the Sabbat.
The Tzimisce have almost an
equal level of occult knowledge as the Tremere. The skilled
puppet-masters and manipulators among the Lasombra could outwit
nearly any Ventrue. The Harbingers, though rare and subtle,
possess almost as much necromantic skill as the Giovanni.
The Assamite antitribu specialize in subtle assassinations.
The Sabbat also boasts the greatest surviving number of Ravnos.
Not to mention the Nosferatu antitribu, the Kiasyd, the Blood
Brothers... I think you get the point.
The sheer diversity of the
Sabbat actually gives it more leeway than the Camarilla. Instead
of having seven (well, six) large specialized Clans, the Sabbat
has nearly 14 smaller specialized Clans. This latitude offers
them powers, abilities, and layers of subtle manipulation
most Camarilla Neonates can only dream about. Sabbat are judged
not by strength alone, but by their total value to the sect.
Foolish muscle often finds its way into the meat-grinder of
the front lines... while others find their own niche.
There is a reason chess is
the Lasombra's favorite game. So many pieces... each with
its own strengths and weaknesses. Patterns of movements. Strategy
becomes the ultimate force. THAT is what the Sabbat truly
The Sabbat's main focus is personal freedom. This is the party-line
of the Sabbat, when trying to recruit Camarilla Neonates or
Anarchs. It is also a blatant lie.
While the original Anarch Revolt
was about freedom from the demands and commands of their Elders,
the Sabbat has long since left those ideals behind. In order
to survive, the Sabbat became an army - and armies do not
- cannot - operate as a democracy. Order is necessary. Hierarchies,
chains-of-command, laws and punishments - all of these are
necessary to maintain the chaotic unity of the sect.
And, in its own way, the Vaulderie
also chips away at personal freedom. The unnatural chains
of blood between packmates robs them of some of their free-will.
But such is a necessary evil - else the Sabbat would tear
itself apart in less than a week.
The Sabbat Loyalist movement
tries nightly to restore the ideals of the original Anarchs
to the Sabbat - but find most of their demands ignored or
shouted down by the Traditionalists.
(3) All Sabbat
are considered equal. The companion lie to the above, the
Sabbat are also known to parrot this one to foolish Neonate
Kindred. Age means nothing - the Sabbat is survival of the
fittest, and all True Sabbat have the same say in things.
The Sabbat is about service
and survival - vampires who survive 200 years in the Sabbat
are obviously more worthy than neonates. Plus, a Lasombra
who opens doors to a successful Sabbat Crusade will be considered
more valuable than a Pander grunt - even if they were Embraced
on the same night.
This fact, combined with the
hierarchies and control mentioned in the previous misconception,
result in a highly stratified sect - with elders and skilled
ancillae finding themselves rising into the upper echelons
- while neonates and less useful ancillae languish in the
trenches. It is not unheard of for a Ductus of a pack to actually
be younger than some of his packmates. The Sabbat is almost
two sects - the powers-that-be, and the grunts-who-do.
Age plays a role - the original
Anarchs and their contemporaries find themselves with honorary
positions as Prisci and Archbishops. Clan plays a role - the
vast majority of powerful positions within the sect are held
by Lasombra and Tzimisce (and, to a lesser extent, by the
more political Toreador antitribu and Serpents of the Light).
Even lineage plays a role - as the Childer of a politically
powerful Sabbat will find their own way to power easier than
someone Embraced by a complete idiot of a grunt.
It is facts like these that
have the Loyalists grumbling that the Sabbat has, in modern
nights, evolved into a dark reflection of their enemies, the
Camarilla. If you consider the modern day Anarchs to merely
be the rebellious lesser members of the Camarilla (as the
Camarilla itself does), then the Loyalists are not very far
from the mark.
The Sabbat is a brotherhood. The Sabbat is a family. All Sabbat
are loyal to one another. And if you believe this, you've
never seen True Sabbat.
The Sabbat are monsters who've
left behind their humanity. They're predators - who were never
meant to travel in packs. Among such violent warriors, social
stresses and conflict would lead to almost nightly battles
among packs. The Camarilla would merely need to sit back,
watch, and chuckle.
So why is the Sabbat so tightly-knit?
The power of the Vaulderie
is not to be under-estimated. Vinculums among packmates are
often almost as strong as a regular Blood Bond. They are left
free to hate each other - they may argue, insult each other,
and be fiercely competitive - but when push comes to shove,
there is an almost inhuman loyalty there. It is as if they
are saying, "He may be a dick, but he's OUR dick."
The Vaulderie also engenders
an unnatural loyalty to the sect itself - making it almost
impossible for a Sabbat to betray the sect. Those few who
do usually do so after some traumatic shattering of their
Vinculums - such as the obliteration of their packmates around
them in battle. Even then, the sect loyalty often remains
- as most Sabbat are in the habit of committing the Vaulderie
with any traveling Sabbat they meet.
(5) The Sabbat
does not believe in the Masquerade. Then why aren't there
nightly reports of vampiric murders in New York City? Or Philadelphia?
Or in any of the other cities the Sabbat controls?
The truth is, the Sabbat decries
the Masquerade as a joke - monsters of the darkness hiding
from the searching eyes of the Kine. The wolves hiding from
the sheep. But even so, they also realize the danger of having
so many mortals wise to the existence of vampires. Numbers
do matter, and there are always other things out there that
might decide to take matters into their own hands (the Garou,
the Technocracy, the Inquisition, etc.)
The difference is, while the
Camarilla move mortal pawns quietly, trusting to bribes, ghouls
in positions of power, and subtle applications of Presence
and Dominate, the Sabbat prefers the direct approach. A mortal
finds your haven? One less mortal to trouble the world. It's
Of course, the Lasombra, Tzimisce,
Ventrue antitribu, Malkavian antitribu, and Kiasyd all possess
Dominate - so it isn't as if the Sabbat can't tinker with
mortal minds when necessary. In Sabbat cities, they often
do have a measure of control over local authorities... it's
just that they tend to rule through fear, and have little
regard to the fate of the local juice bags.
It's also appropriate to point
out the penalties for breaching the Masquer... errm, allowing
news of the Sabbat's presence in a city to leak out can be
(6) A Sabbat
skilled at Monomacy can rise rapidly in the ranks. Quite true.
However, the secret to this is not to use Monomacy too often
- and to pick your targets well. Consider - is it likely that
a 500-year old vampire, who has seen lesser vampires come-and-go,
will really lose in a one-on-one challenge?
Another problem is that a vampire
who climbs up purely through Monomacy will present quite a
clear threat to those above him - especially those directly
above him. Powerful and cunning Sabbat are not adverse to
sending such individuals (and their packs) on important (in
other words, suicidal) missions, having "evidence"
of serious wrong-doing turn up, or even have a skilled assassin
"remove" the threat entirely.
And one last note: a challenge
of Monomacy isn't always a physical battle to the death. Cunning
vampires can easily maneuver their enemies into Monomacy challenges
they can't win - such as a Brujah antitribu killing machine
challenging a crafty Lasombra - and finding himself battling
for his life... in a game of chess.
Older Sabbat have survived
for a reason, and Sabbat in positions of power didn't earn
them by being weak or stupid. The prospective ladder-climber
has been warned.
(7) All Sabbat
are Embraced, beaten with shovels, and buried alive. Completely
untrue. Of course, in times of Crusade, or open war, this
is the most expedient method of Embrace. The entire pack Embraces
multiple candidates, and only the ones strong enough to dig
their way out are chosen. In fact, the number of True Sabbat
whose unlives began in such a manner is quite high - and is
probably the origin of such a belief.
But in founded packs, where
the Sabbat control the city they are in, and there is no immediate
threat, such an Embrace is unnecessary, and even impractical.
In such situations, the prospective Sire often crafts intricate
Creation Rites that would make an artist weep. Each is, in
its own way, both original and personal (though, on occasion,
a particularly creative Creation Rite will inspire copy-cats).
A Ventrue antitribu might have to spend a night in a chapel
dedicated to Caine, guarding his armor in silent vigil through
the night. A Brujah antitribu might send their Childe out
to kill a Camarilla vampire in single combat. Indeed, as long
as the Rite emphasizes the goals and ideals of the Clan in
question, almost any potential test is valid. It is, in a
very real way, the new Sabbat's right-of-passage.
The Sabbat has no dealings with mortals. True, the Sabbat
doesn't riddle the mortal world like termites investing a
wooden house (like the "illustrious" Camarilla does),
but they too share a number of connections with the day-lit
world. After all, not everything can be accomplished at night.
On the personal level, it is
mostly forbidden for Sabbat to possess ghouls. With proper
permission from a Bishop or higher, a vampire may ghoul a
mortal - but said mortal has little or no rights, and is often
considered pack property, instead of belonging to only one
member of the pack. Also, any mistakes or crimes the ghoul
commits can result in their own death, but also punishment
for their Domitor. This fact alone encourages most Sabbat
to view ghouls as more trouble than they are worth.
However, what of the Lasombra,
who often have personal assistants (or even groomers - it
sucks to preen when you have no reflection), or the Tzimisce,
and their motley assortment of deformed servants, handmaidens,
Szlachta, and Vozhd? Each Clan within the Sabbat has its own
penchant for ghouling now and again. While other Sabbat may
look down upon a vampire with ghouls (they would be considered
weak and sentimental), there is no actual rule against it.
Bishops and higher-ranking
Sabbat often ghoul key influential mortals, and rule them
through Dominate, the Blood Bond, or even simply fear. These
mortals allow the Sabbat some latitude during the day - though
not nearly as much as the Camarilla.
And before we end this discussion,
there are also the revenants to consider. Not quite mortals,
not quite ghouls, they do indeed provide valuable service
to their masters in the Sabbat. Though they are scarce these
days, their particular skills make them valuable in their
personal fields, while their powers allow them an advantage
that mortals lack. In other words, the best of both worlds.
And, for the most part, completely loyal to the Sabbat.
(9) The Sabbat
revel in animalistic bestiality. In point of fact, the Sabbat
don't. They do, however, deny their lost humanity, and revel
in what it means to be a vampire - a creature of the night.
As similar as these two concepts sound, they are actually
quite different. A vampire giving in to the Beast is a far
cry from the Sabbat who ponders the meaning of life and death,
or who dedicates his unlife to unlocking the secrets of Caine.
Different Sabbat interpret this in different ways - hence
the number of Paths of Enlightenment open to the Sabbat.
In fact, in a twisted way,
the Sabbat is far more spiritual than the Camarilla. The rank
systems of each reflect this: Justicar, Prince, Primogen,
Sheriff - all of these speak of secular rule, the rule of
Law, and a materialistic view of the world. But Cardinal,
Bishop, Priest - these ranks bespeak of a spiritualistic attitude.
Paths such Death and the Soul, Cathari, Caine, Lilith - they
are almost mini-religions in and of themselves.
And even the supreme leader
of the Sabbat: the Regent. The term meaning one who does not
rule in their own name, but presides over for someone else.
In the Sabbat, the Regent rules in Caine's place. And what
is Caine, other than a venerated God-king, like the rulers
of ancient empires? There are any number of Sabbat who revere
Caine more than some Christians revere Christ. And they fear
and hate the Antediluvians - their own demons and devils.
Meanwhile, the Camarilla denies the existence of the Antediluvians
entirely, and even questions the existence of Caine.
Perhaps, then, the Sabbat is
actually the Church of the Damned.
(10) The Sabbat
are the Bad Guys. A very simplistic perspective. And the one
most engendered by the Camarilla, who portrays the Sabbat
as boogey-men, demons, infernalists, and anything else likely
to scare the shit of Neonates. The fact that many Sabbat practices
seem to agree with such beliefs doesn't help.
But in fact, look at Sabbat
history and goals. The sect was founded from the ashes of
the original Anarch Revolt - where younger vampires revolted
against the harsh treatment by their elders. Blood bound,
left behind to die in the Inquisition's flames as their Sires
fled... those Neonates and Ancillae who survived cried out
for justice. For freedom.
After the Betrayal of Thorns,
the Anarchs who remained true banded together to form the
Sabbat. Finally seizing the freedom they always wanted, they
stalked the night, Of course, they were forced to travel in
well-knit packs, to protect themselves from the Camarilla,
Lupine attacks, and other dangers. Over time, this became
the core of their social system.
Over the years, the Sabbat
has come to see it's true goal as defending the world against
the inevitable coming of the Antediluvians, and the Final
Nights of Gehenna. This also includes the overthrow of the
Camarilla - an obvious tool of the Antediluvians. Thus, all
of their work, all of their rites, all of their battles -
are merely to make them strong for the Final Battle. So what
if uncounted mortals and Kindred die to fuel this war machine?
After all, it is a small price to pay for the salvation of
And, of course, once the Antediluvians
are destroyed, the Sabbat will take its place as the rightful
rulers of the Kine once more.
On the personal level, there
are, of course, vampires who rarely see beyond their own personal
goals, or beyond the chance to exert a little righteous violence.
But then again, that also describes most of the Camarilla.
In truth, the two sects are far more alike than either realizes
- or would care to admit. The only differences lie in how
they accomplish their goals. The Camarilla values stealth
and manipulation of the foolish mortals - the Sabbat values
force and cunning. So which one's "good" again?
In other words, generally,
all vampires are the bad guys.