“Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing.”-Robert E. Howard
Article VIII of the Sabbat Code of Milan states “As it has always been, so it shall always be. The Lextalionis shall be the model for immortal justice by which all Sabbat shall abide.” Article XII states “The ritus of Monomacy shall be used to settle disputes among all Sabbat.” These clauses of the Code establish the basis of the Auctoritas Ritus of Monomacy, the system of honor dueling which the Sabbat considers the ultimate arbiter of all grievance between members of the Sword of Caine. In simple terms: any dispute which cannot be settled in another fashion by the involved parties is decided by contest. In the traditional and most common form, this is an honor duel, a physical fight to the final death. However, the contest may take any form decided by the challenged party; Tremere Antitribu so challenged would often pull out a method of magical dueling called “Certamen” even if the challenger knew no blood magic, Tzimisce might arrange a contest of resculpting a live victim using Vicissitude, and one Malkavian Antitribu once declared a staring contest when challenged to Monomacy (they won, since you asked). However, the challenge chosen must be a contest – decisions riding solely on chance such as high-card draw or a coin flip are unacceptable and a mockery of the ritus. Some element of skill or will must be involved.
Any Sabbat may challenge another to Monomacy, and unless the reason for challenge is deemed spurious (itself considered an abuse of the rite) it generally proceeds. The challenged party may decline, however unless their status vastly eclipses the challenger’s this is considered cowardice and a default admission of the challenger’s rightness in the dispute. Generally, the parties’ pack priests meet with a Bishop and agree that the ritus is on sound footing and based on legitimate grievance, and the duel proceeds under the supervision of a Bishop or another neutral Priest. The challenger sets the ultimate terms of the duel outcome, whether to the final death of the loser (this is the most common outcome) or diablerie (this is the only time one True Sabbat is officially sanctioned to diablerize another True Sabbat), seizure of assets, and so on. The challenged determines and sets the terms of the contest itself. Once the Monomacy is concluded the matter addressed is considered settled, and further pursuit of it by either party is considered refusal to abide by the outcome of the ritus, which can lead to summary punishment.
While many Sabbat consider it a point of honor to fight a fair duel (and the Sabbat is justly famous for its ferocious Monomacy duels) there’s no social stigma on establishing a contest that favors your strengths and plays against the challengers’. That fact and the ties of Vinculum act as a leash on Monomacy contests and prevent honor duels from tearing the sect apart. Still, the politics behind Monomacies can be quite complex, with intense social maneuvering around baiting a rival into a duel in the most advantageous way.
Some Sabbat attain great skill at Monomacy contests and rise to power based on using them to eliminate rivals (Cardinal de Polonia was notorious for this). However, Monomacy is an Auctoritas Ritus, a high holy rite of the Sabbat, and not to be abused or misused. Ergo these duels are checked closely for firmness of purpose and legitimate grievance – using the duel for “fun” or to bully a Cainite without just cause is, again, abusing the use of an Auctoritas Ritus which is a major Heresy.
Archbishop Fortie Waxx has established an ecumenical policy in the domain of Los Angeles that before a final confirmation of a Monomacy challenge, the challenged and challenger must partake of the Vaulderie with each other, their priests, and the priest presiding over the Ritus, and then make final determination on whether or not the dispute cannot be settled by less final means.
The Silence of the Blood:
Anarchs and members of the Camarilla who are in the know like to smugly point out that for all its prattle about superiority over the Kine, the Sabbat also keep the Masquerade. Sabbat don’t find this funny. While the Sabbat is happy to stress or outright break the Masquerade while it’s at war to divert enemy resources to repair the breach, survival as a supernatural being in the World of Darkness depends on having a code of silence. Ergo, the “Silence of the Blood.”
The Sabbat do make one important philosophical distinction between their code of silence and the Masquerade. The Masquerade is not only an oath of silence, it is predicated upon the cultivation of the via Humanitas and not merely the impersonation of living humans but the emulation of them in thought and action. This is forced upon Cainites by the leaders of the Camarilla and is a violation of their freedom. To the Sabbat, Humanity is just one Path of Enlightenment among many, and it’s one they don’t have a lot of respect for as a broad group, especially when it’s forced upon a Cainite as an uncontemplated choice. This philosophical objection means almost nothing to those who don’t understand how Paths of Enlightenment work… and it is incredibly important to those who do.
The Auctoritas Ritae:
The thirteen Auctoritas Ritae are the rituals which not only form the structure around which the Sabbat is organized, they also form a significant part of its body of laws. When the Auctoritas Ritae are implemented incorrectly, adulterated, or altered, the Sabbat runs the risk of losing its way. When they are neglected, the Sabbat loses cohesion. It is the charge of every member of the Sabbat priesthood to perform these rites in the prescribed manner and for the prescribed reasons. While there is significant leeway allowed in the trappings of the Auctoritas Ritae, sect doctrine dictates the core of each rite must be true and doctrinally correct, and the Sabbat devotes significant energy to making sure this is the case. All Sabbat are obligated by their oaths of allegiance to participate in the Auctoritas Ritae and while there is some argument over willing participation versus compulsion, a flat refusal to do so can land a Cainite in big trouble. The thirteen sacred rites of the Sabbat are:
The Binding: A gathering held on the winter solstice of each year where True Sabbat renew their loyalty to the sect.
Blood Feast: A ceremonial feast of captured humans (or enemy Cainites) representing the shared bounty of being Sabbat.
Blood Bath: A ritual ordination of a Bishop or other Sect official through a baptism in Cainite blood.
Creation Rites: The ritual declaration that a Cainite has proven their worth to be called True Sabbat, setting them above all Cainites not so declared.
The Festival of the Dead (or Festivo Dello Estinto): A week-long gathering during the second week of March; a vampiric Carnivale where the Sabbat revel in their un-dead natures.
The Fire Dance: A spiritual reminder of the Burning Times when the Elders broke the Covenants of Caine and threw their childer to the Inquisitors’ fires while they fled to save themselves; the Sabbat dance around great fires to feel – and face – the same fear the sect founders faced.
Games of Instinct: Through various games of strength and guile, Sabbat vampires sharpen their instincts and become better predators.
Monomacy: An honor challenge drawn from the Code Duello and the practices of the Lasombra Courts of Blood, Monomacy is the Sabbat’s ultimate arbiter of dispute between Cainites.
Palla Grande: Held on Halloween each year, Palla Grande (literally Grand Ball) is a massive, formal party – one part religious service, one part costume ball, one part wild vampiric bacchanal.
Sermons of Caine: Much like sermons in church, Sermons of Caine are recitations of the Book of Nod, meant to educate and inspire both devotion and debate among Cainites.
The Vaulderie: The Sabbat’s most important rite, where the mingled blood of the assembled is mystically purified and transubstantiated – a reminder that all Blood is one Blood, the Blood of Caine the Dark Father, this ritual creates bonds of loyalty among sect members called the Vinculum.
War Party: A ritual where the Sabbat dedicate themselves to the diablerie of a specific Elder vampire enemy of the sect and then engage in a wild assault to bring down their foe.
Wild Hunt: A ritual of ostracism and punishment reserved for traitors to the sect, where the betrayer’s status of True Sabbat is annulled and they are hunted down; if the Sabbat takes the traitor alive, they are ritualistically executed.
The Ignobilis Ritae:
In addition to the Auctoritas Ritae, all Sabbat priests create and share rituals that serve their ecclesiastical needs and the needs of their packs. So long as these Ignobilis Ritae do not interfere with the practice of the Auctoritas Ritae or inspire Cainites to heresy through their use (and it does happen), there is no restriction on their practice. A number of common Ignobilis Ritae exist, but every Priest of the Sabbat creates rites that serve their own specific needs as well.
The Sabbat doesn’t trade in “boons.” The idea of using favors as a tradable social currency isn’t just anathema to the Sword of Caine, it’s damn offensive. Sabbat are supposed to be part of a united brotherhood and boons fly in the face of that. However, the sect does acknowledge that sometimes honor has its due and a spoken oath needs to be honored; thus the Sabbat uses blood debts in leiu of the more complex prestation used by the Camarilla.
There are no grades of blood debt and they cannot be traded between True Sabbat. If one Sabbat does another Sabbat not in their Pack a significant favor (usually involving serious setback, risk or material injury) that Sabbat may choose to acknowledge it by declaring “I owe [name] a Debt of Blood” in front of witnesses, usually at Esbat. When the beneficiary of the Blood Debt chooses to call it in, so long as they are not imperiling the Sabbat or their Packmates in so doing, the debtor is obligated to respond. This might involve intervening on the debtee’s behalf politically, assisting them with an important task, and so on. Once this is done the debt is considered expunged.
Being seen as trying to rack up a nest-egg of Blood Debts is a serious social faux pas and can land a Cainite in deep shit if they’re caught at it. Not that some don’t try…
(Debts of Blood were borrowed from the Mind’s Eye Theatre LARP guide, as the best form of the simplified prestation practiced by the Sabbat.)
Political Parties & Factions:
The Sabbat is a complicated organism and has a number of political parties and sub-factions pulling the sect in different directions. It is not required to claim allegiance to any of these factions (though most Canites’ political predilections pull them one way or another) but they can give you an idea of how the Sect body politic works and some roleplaying ideas.
Loyalists: Loyalists are the left wing of the Sabbat, and they hew closely to the sect’s embrace of personal freedom. At their most extreme, Sabbat Loyalists see no need for Sect position between the pack Ductus and the Regent… some extremists also believe that there is no need for a Regent at all and that the Black Throne should sit empty until Caine returns to claim it. However when pressed most Loyalists grudgingly admit the need for some sort of administrative body in the sect. But only grudgingly. After a long period of time of being largely ignored, the Loyalists are now politically ascendant with the coronation of Her Dark Eminence Lucita y Aragon… with some concessions.
Moderates & Status Quo: Those Sabbat whose political beliefs are ‘whatever it takes to keep the lights on and the wheels turning’ generally fall amongst the Moderates and the Status Quo. While considered by some to be separate political camps, their political views generally overlap. Not really respected nor disrespected for their political stance, this political faction are often kingmakers because they add weight to whatever side persuades them in their direction. One of the few things Loyalists and Ultra-Cons agree on is that those who spend too long sitting on the fence get splinters in their asses.
Ultra-Conservatives: The Sabbat’s right-wingers favor a strong sect hierarchy and an emphasis on the power of position in sect affairs. They also favor overt military action, especially against the Camarilla. The ultra-cons dominated sect politics for most of the 20th century, riding the wave of conquest to victory, however the setbacks of the early 21st century and the failure of Gehenna to arrive in the form they promised led to their political decline, with many of the Sabbat’s most ardent ultra-conservatives decamping to follow Francisco de Polonia in fighting the Gehenna Crusade. The Loyalists have tarred and feathered the ultra-conservatives with accusations that Polonia, Vykos and others were using the sect as their personal war chariot against rivals in the Camarilla and elsewhere to the detriment of its true and holy purpose, but there are still plenty of ultra-cons in the sect, and they consider themselves a necessary bulwark to keep the Loyalists from dissolving the sect into a squabbling mess of… well, Anarchs.
The Orthodoxy: The Orthodoxy are the hardcore religious of the Sabbat (or rather, the hardest of the hardcore). They reinforce that all authority in the sect comes from the Auctoritas Ritae and that the backbone of the Sect is the veneration of Caine, the Dark Father. While ostensibly conservative, they also push back against attempts by the ultra-conservatives to centralize authority in positional power, instead of the Auctoritas Ritae. If a Sabbat makes a stand that a Bishop doesn’t have the power to toss out orders unless they’re administering or enforcing one of the Ritae, while at the same time taking the stick to Sabbat who’re sloppy or cavalier in their handling of the Ritae, they’re probably Orthodox Sabbat. This sect was empowered by Lucita’s ascension as well, though they have recently engaged in a doctrinal shift from the “Gehenna is the end of everything” model the ultra-cons pushed to the ideology of the Wheel of Gehenna.
The Order of St. Blaise: Pooh-poohed by many on both sides of Sabbat politics as ‘excessively humane’ or ‘Camarilla in all but name,’ the Order of St. Blaise have political power because they are dedicated to maintaining the Sabbat’s influence among the Kine and preserving the Silence of the Blood. More than any other faction, the OSB collects Blood Debts (while you’re not supposed to use them as currency, having one or two in your pocket isn’t a bad thing) and off the books favors from other Cainites, by making embarassing problems go away. It’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it. The OSB overlaps with clan-specific factions like the Lasombra Kings and Queens of Shadow, many of whom are also members of the OSB.
The Pander Movement: A unique political wing of the Sabbat, the Pander Movement was started by a Caitiff named Joseph Pander. The Panders have the specific belief that all ties of clan and obligations of lineage should be renounced in order to fully realize oneself as True Sabbat. While overwhelmingly composed of the the Clanless, the Pander Movement accepts Cainites of any clan and has powerful ritae that can sever the ties of vampiric lineage, at least in part. The Panders tend to be politically centrist otherwise, because their central belief actually draws Cainites from the left and right, as well as the secular and ardently religious wings of the Sabbat.
The Black Hand: Called the “false hand” by the Tal’Mahe’Ra, the Black Hand was once a semi-autonomous organization within the Sabbat dedicated to undermining and destroying its enemies by any means necessary, and was overwhelmingly composed of Assamite Antitribu. Afforded broad power by article XIII of the Code of Milan (“All Sabbat shall support the Black Hand”) they had broad latitude to do pretty much as they pleased… except that when the Tremere Curse was broken most of the Black Hand’s Assamites defected and scampered back home to their true master. That pretty much gutted the Hand, and only the loyalty of First Seraph Jalan-Aajav saved it when he assumed the duties of the Regent following the revelation of Miranda Galbraith’s demise. After Lucita y Aragon came to power she yoked the Black Hand more closely to the Regency, and now when they pop up in a domain they’re considered to be doing the bidding of Her Dark Eminence and they speak with Her Voice, making Article 13 essentially a reinforcement of the power of the Regency. Loyalists grumble, but at least they feel confident in whose hand is holding the Hand’s leash…
The Sabbat Inquisition: The Sabbat Inquisition is an organization with broad power of oversight and enforcement of the practice of the Auctoritas Ritae and the Paths of Enlightenment sanctioned by the Sabbat. Their job is to check for heretical interpretation or lax implementation of the Ritae, practitioners of heretical Paths of Enlightenment such as the Path of Lilith (which explicitly denies Caine) and the Paths of Enlightenment favored by the Followers of Set and Assamite Loyalists (all of which are built around veneration of an Antediluvian), diabolism or other subversion within the Sword of Caine and when they find a problem… deal with it. The Inquisition competes with the Black Hand over who is the primary enforcer of sect security and when one diminishes, it usually signals that the other is in the ascendant. Currently, High Inquisitor Sandoval has parlayed her support for Regent Lucita (they share the same Sire) into greater power for the Inquisition, more resources, and more boots on the ground.
Sabbat Titles (In relative order of prestige):
Sabbat may have status that seems outsize to their titles (as an example, while Sascha Vykos is a Priscus, a Status 3 title, its actual Status is higher). Generally, one must achieve a Status background equal to or greater than the level of the title bestowed in order to begin contending for it. For more information on these positions, see the V20 Companion pg. 24 and V20 beginning on pg. 26.
The Sabbat views Golconda as a lie and so does not acknowledge Transcendants as worthy of esteem, but Lucita and High Inquisitor Sandoval have resurrected the ancient Ashen Priesthood in its stead. Any Cainite who’s so soft-hearted as to be a Rat-Catcher would either have their blood reclaimed or be driven off, and the sect does not consider muddy lineage as a barrier to entry, so the ‘Caitiff’ perjorative does not apply.
Shovelhead (Negative Status): Also known as “False Sabbat”, Shovelheads are those who’ve been embraced or indoctrinated by Sabbat vampires, but have not yet earned their Creation Rites. Roughly equivalent to an unreleased childe of the Camarilla. A deliberately selected childe might have a great deal of instruction and protection from their sire; a mass-embracee, none.
True Sabbat (Status 0): Sabbat who’ve earned their creation rites but haven’t yet aspired to further position or responsibility. They are entitled to all of the rights (with attendant obligations) the sect promises.
Ductus (Status 1): The leader of a Sabbat pack, responsible for its executive decisions in the eyes of the sect, though each pack is given broad latitude to conduct its affairs in the way that suits them best. Some ducti are autocrats; others, the voice of a turbulently democratic group of cainites.
Sorcerer (Status 1): Though the Sabbat has a love-hate relationship with the secret arts, it acknowledges the puissance of those who study the occult, even if they choose not to aspire to religious office. Sorcerers advise Bishops and Archbishops on occult matters, help police the sect for destructive “half-assed” magicians and diabolists, and help the Sabbat compensate for the highly organized magicians of the Ivory Tower. (V20 Companion pg. 32)
Eschatologist (Status 1): Among the Sabbat, Eschatologists are usually devout Noddists who comb ancient texts for prophecy and lore.
Pack Priest (Status 1): An ordained priest of the Sabbat responsible for providing spiritual guidance to members of a pack, in addition to administering the Ignobilis and Auctoritas Ritae within the pack.
Paladins & Templars (Status 1): Cainites who are the appointed bodyguards, enforcers, and agents of a Bishop or other ranking Sabbat. A Paladin fulfils a similar role as a Templar but with more religious connotations.
Headhunter (Status 2): The Sabbat’s headhunters are responsible for battling non-Cainite night-folk who would prey upon the sect. Monsters spawn and grow fat on the despair and violence of the worst Sabbat holdings, depraved sorcerers seek to harness Cainite blood to power their magics, and other weird shit arises to threaten Sabbat herds and damage domains. Headhunters kill weird shit. Some do it out of duty, others for the thrill. While not precisely a religious title, these monsters who hunt monsters often work closely with the Inquisition. (V20 Companion pg. 33)
Warden (Status 2): Among the Sabbat, Wardens are those Cainites specifically responsible for the security of the sect’s communal haven and other locations judged as being critically important to the Sword by the Bishopric. (V20 Companion pg 32)
Bishop (Status 3): Cainites who have taken on the administrative roles in a Sabbat domain. Each Bishop is commonly responsible for specific duties, such as a Bishop responsible for intelligence operations, a Bishop responsible for overseeing the city’s religious affairs, and so on.
Ashen Priest (Status 3): A relatively recent revival of a very old title, an Ashen Priest is a Priest of the Sabbat who devotes themselves to the study and attainment of one of its principal Paths of Enlightenment. They act as dark moral touchstones for the sect, teaching their paths to those who would follow them, and ensuring that the ideologies underpinning the Sabbat remain pure. (This is the Sabbat version of a Transcendant, V20 Companion pg. 32)
Consul (Status 3): The Sabbat does in fact engage in diplomatic discourse with the Camarilla. The position of Consul has become more common and has increased in prominence since Lucita’s ascension to the black throne. (V20 Companion pg. 32)
Archbishop (Status 5): The supreme religious authority in a domain; ergo, the sect’s leader within a domain. Not all Sabbat domains have an Archbishop present at all times.
Inquisitor (Status 3): Those who have shown their zeal and taken vows to the Sabbat Inquisition take the title of Inquisitor. Inquisitors have broad powers of investigation to check for proper practice and use of the Auctoritas Ritae, the presence of heretical interpretations of Sabbat doctrine, and diabolism. If they uncover these things, they have powers of correction and enforcement that are just as broad.
Prisci (Status 3): Standing somewhat to the side of the Sabbat ecumenical structure, Prisci are those Sabbat who, through personal excellence or acumen, have attained recognition by their peers. Prisci are given broad latitude to attend to their own operations, though many bend their energies to a specific task that is important to the sect. For instance, Priscus Leila Monroe has been working to take the city of Los Angeles for the Sword of Caine for 50 years. Prisci are generally appointed by the synod of Cardinals or by the Regent, but a Sabbat with gall and daring can take the title for themselves.
Cardinal (Status 5): Cardinals of the Sabbat have broad religious and political authority over large swathes of territory, and theoretically provide religious oversight and guidance to the Archbishops of their region (An Archbishop’s personal power and clout might weaken the hold a Cardinal has over them).
Regent (Status 7): Her Dark Eminence, Lucita y Aragon, Archbishop of Mexico City and by the Grace of the Dark Father Regent of the Sabbat. The ultimate religious and temporal authority of the Sword of Caine.
The Black Hand:
The Seraph of the Black Hand answers to the Regent of the Sabbat, but the Hand has a rank structure separate from the sect at large with its own Status background. While the Black Hand did (secretly) originate from the Tal’Mahe’Ra, time has separated the “False Hand” from the “True Black Hand” and the destruction of Enoch severed them completely. Jalan-Aajav answers only to the Regent. As the Black Hand is a semi-secret organization, it has its own Status background separate from the traditional Status background.
Cadet/Rookie (Status 0): Trainees of the Hand.
Emissary (Status 1): Members of the Black Hand operating in Sabbat domains, either overtly or covertly, with the goals of maintaining the Hand’s influence and resources, and its political pre-eminence among the Sabbat. At higher levels, Emissaries advise sect leaders.
Terminator (Status 1): Formerly known as Shakar (a name which went defunct with the defection of the Assamite Antitribu that made up the vast majority of the Hand’s members), the Hand’s terminators are its covert operatives and assassins. Also known as Erasers and Hit Men (though this is considered somewhat tasteless).
Remover (Status 1): The Black Hand’s soldiers; a paramilitary force that now functions as the Regent’s secret police.
Watch Commander (Status 3): A commanding Black Hand member in a region, responsible for coordinating the Hand’s operations and leading its membership. May or may not overlap with the position of Emissary, Dominion or Second.
Second (Status 3): Roughly analogous to a Paladin or Templar, Seconds are the enforcers of Dominions and the Seraph.
Dominion (Status 4): The direct lieutenants of the Seraph, assigned to oversee tasks at their discretion.
Seraph (Status 5): While in theory there are at least four Seraphim, there is now only one supreme leader of the Black Hand – the others have disappeared, defected, or been destroyed. Lucita and Jalan-Aajav are in no hurry to appoint others. Jalan-Aajav is the man, and he has the vote.
The Code of Milan, with helpful commentary by Eenie Meenie Miney Ho, Nosferatu Antitribu and Loyalist:
I. The Sabbat shall remain united in its support of the sect’s Regent. If necessary, a new Regent shall be elected. The Regent shall support relief from tyranny, granting all Sabbat freedom.
“Be real. Politics happen whenever there’s three or more Cainites in a room. Hell, politics happen if a Malkavian is alone in a room. The Regent is the most cunning monster in the church of monsters. I don’t believe in the infalliability of the Regent like the Orthodox do. But I do believe supporting her is an act of faith in Caine and the Sabbat itself.”
II. All Sabbat shall do their best to serve their leaders as long as said leaders serve the will of the Regent.
“And what is the will of the Regent? Can you get her on the phone and ask? This is mostly an admonishment that we should all be more or less looking wherever Her Dark Eminence points.”
III. All Sabbat shall faithfully observe all the Auctoritas Ritae.
“The Auctoritas Ritae are the glue that holds the Sabbat together. They’re the rituals that define our identity, so yes, you better ‘faithfully observe’ them.”
IV. All Sabbat shall keep their word of honor to one another.
“We lie, cheat, and fuck around with each other all the time. This clause DOES establish the basis for Blood Debts, which we DO take seriously.”
V. All Sabbat shall treat their peers fairly and equally, upholding the strength and unity of the Sabbat. If necessary, they shall provide for the needs of their brethren.
“Believe it or not, mostly true. If you travel from one domain to another, you can get blood and a place to rest at the communal haven, no questions asked, and if that’s not on the table you have the right to ask for help from another pack. Is it ALWAYS fair? Fuck no! We’re Cainites. But as long as you mind your manners and are up for a vaulderie, most packs won’t leave you to stand out on the stoop.”
VI. All Sabbat must put the good of the sect before their own personal needs, despite all costs.
“Pretty much bull, we all have our own motivations, and guys like Polonia and Vykos have used the entire sect to advance their own goals at the Sword’s expense. Just remember, there’s real stakes we’ve all banded together against.”
VII. Those who are not honorable under this code will be considered less than equal and therefore unworthy of assistance.
“If you’re a fuckboy, you’re on your own.”
VIII. As it has always been, so it shall always be. The Lextalionis shall be the model for immortal justice by which all Sabbat shall abide.
“Lex Talionis means ‘law of the claw’. Our justice, once invoked, is swift, it is brutal, and it is final.”
IX. All Sabbat shall protect one another from the enemies of the Sect. Personal enemies shall remain personal responsibility, unless they undermine Sect security.
“When the Sabbat is threatened, we’re expected to band together and deal with it, but you’re free to take care of your own shit. On one hand your personal enemies are your personal problem; on the other, if you invoke article nine the Sabbat will leave you to your business until and unless it gets out of hand.”
X. All sect members shall protect Sabbat territory from all other powers.
“If the Camarilla, the Anarchs, or anybody else come knocking on our domains, get ready to fight.”
XI. The spirit of freedom shall be the fundamental principle of the Sect. All Sabbat shall expect and demand freedom from their leaders.
“Ultra-cons love to ignore article eleven, but Lucita’s rise to the black throne proved it’s still got teeth. You’re not just a pawn in some Lasombra’s grand scheme. They need you; don’t ever let them forget it.”
XII. The ritus of Monomacy shall be used to settle disputes among all Sabbat.
“If you can’t settle your feud with another Cainite in a civilized manner, be ready to settle it in the ring. Believe it or not, most Cainites do settle their hash before it goes this far. I remember what happened when what’s-his-name challenged that Malkavian, and the lunatic chose a staring contest. Read your opponent well before you choose to challenge them to a Monomacy.”
XIII. All Sabbat shall support the Black Hand.
“As annoying as it is, this means that if the Black Hand charges you with a task or recruits your pack to support its operations, you’re obligated to comply. Ask all the questions you want, but you best comply. Now that the Black Hand are the direct agents of the Regent, remember that their requests lead all the way to Her Dark Eminence, in some fashion.”
XIV. All Sabbat have the right to monitor the behavior and activities of their fellow Sect members in order to maintain freedom and security.
“Paranoia, much? Article fourteen establishes the principle by which the Inquisition operates. If you smell heresy or treason, say something. Otherwise, remember that snitches get stitches.”
XV. All Sabbat possess the right to call a council of their peers and their immediate leaders.
“This one’s actually important. This means if there’s an issue you think needs to be addressed by the sect, you have the right – backed by sect law – to go through your ductus and call an assembly of the packs. Your ductus and priest have the right to command an audience with the city’s bishopric and not be turned away. And so on.”
XVI. All Sabbat shall act against Sect members who use the powers and authority the Sabbat has given them for personal gain at the expense of the Sabbat. Action shall be taken only through accepted means, approved by a quorum of Prisci.
“If a ranking sect member like an Archbishop or Cardinal is accused of treason or other high crimes then the Prisci council will hold an ecclesiastical court and then determine appropriate action. Article sixteen also establishes the rules by which the Prisci can overrule an edict of the Regent. I think it’s bullshit, if people really gave a crap about Article Sixteen Vykos, Polonia and most of the other Cardinals would’ve been crucified decades ago for the crap they pull.”
The Wheel of Gehenna:
For most of the the 20th Century, the Sabbat was in an eschatological frenzy Some influential Noddist scholars were convinced that prophecies of the End Times had come to pass. Ultra-Conservatives used this millenial panic to launch a massive assault against Camarilla holdings in the United States. For a time it seemed that the Sabbat was invincible… until the Camarilla shook the rust out of its joints and struck back by capturing New York City. Anarchs struck in cities like Baltimore, driving Sabbat packs out into the wilderness. The proclaimed portents of Gehenna came… and then they went. The Red Star faded from the sky. Ancients have risen and the schemes of the Elders appear to be coming to a head, but the end of days that the Sabbat was promised never materialized.
A rival interpretation of Noddist literature says that Gehenna is not a final end of days, it is a cyclical occurance when the schemes of the Ancients reach fruition, when the Methuselahs and Antediluvians rise from torpor and bring ruin with them – an alternate translation of the Book of Nod says “they shall subsume us completely.” This theory states that the Burning Times that led to the first Anarch Revolt and the formation of the Camarilla and Sabbat were themselves a Gehenna, and adherents of the Wheel theory provide literature and scraps of old prophecy that back their theory. How can one claim the Sabbat’s purpose is any less holy or dire in the face of such an ongoing cycle of carnage and abuse? Furthermore, Noddists have begun unearthing long suppressed literature – backed by increasing numbers of encounters – that indicate that the Antediluvians were not the only monsters Cainite prophets warned of. For centuries “Secret Masters” was considered another term for the Antediluvians, but recent discoveries indicate that may not be the case…