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How do Path of Night Followers function in the Sabbat?

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  • How do Path of Night Followers function in the Sabbat?

    So, I’m making my first Sabbat character for Masquerade and I’ve been looking over Paths of Enlightenment. I like the Path of Night a lot, but their hierarchy of sins leaves me confused as to how they actually function in the Sabbat. I get that the Sabbat views the Jyhad with disdain, but being unable to “bow to another Kindred’s will” or help others makes even the most basic form of Sabbat politics impossible for Path of Night followers to take part in. How would a Path of Night follower even function in a pack where they aren’t the ductus and the priest? Let alone deal with a Templar or Bishop outside their pack.
    I really like the idea of consciously embracing evil and monstrosity, but the path’s sins leave me at a loss for how I’m supposed to make a functional character. Any advice? Anybody know of any alternate sin hierarchies for the Path I might be able to show to my ST?

  • #2
    Clanbook Lasombra Revised (pgs. 67-68) has a few suggested variants, presented as divergent paths. The Cold Path, Lightless Path, Allied Path and Righteous Path.

    -The Cold Path is much like the standard, or "hot" path, save for focusing on cold calculation of their inhuman deeds rather than just reveling in them, and uses Self Control and Conviction as its Virtues.

    - The Lightless Path is quite literal, in that followers focus on an existence outside of "the light", both literally and figuratively. Conviction and Self Control are the Virtues of choice here.

    -The Allied Path, again, is as advertised, with the focus being on helping fellow Night followers and Lasombra, the sin of Aiding Another replaced with something like "Not coming to the aid of another Nihilist/Lasombra/Abyss Mystic", whichever fits best. Conviction and your pick of Self Control or Instinct with this one.

    -The Righteous Path, taking some twisted cues from the older, more religious Road of Night (Dark Ages Storyteller's Companion, pgs. 27-29), turns the emphasis from tormenting others to striking fear in the hearts of unbelievers through acts of "righteous" murder and mutilation. This last path recognizes the value of working with other vampires, provided they are similarly "righteous" in morality and their belief in their "divine purpose", such as followers of Path of Caine, Cathari, Redemption and possibly Honorable Accord or even, dare I say it, Lilith. Aiding Another in this situation becomes some variation of "Aiding a Vampire Who Doesn't Recognize Their Divine Purpose" or similar. Path Virtues are Conviction and either Self Control or Instinct, your choice.

    The Hierarchy of Sins is different for each, but aside from the religious aspect of killing in an awe inspiring way for Righteous Path, the mechanical differences don't show up until Path Rating 6+. Before then, it's mostly a fluff and rp difference.
    Last edited by AzraelFirestorm; 05-30-2018, 10:11 PM.

    “Nobody is purely good or purely evil. Most of us are in-between. There are moths that explore the day and butterflies that play at night.”
    - Suzy Kassem, Rise Up and Salute The Sun


    • #3
      Part of it comes from the Sabbat's fractious nature itself. Bishops who go around trying to order Sabbat to do things will find little traction. Instead they offer incentive or make oblique references to what they want to see happen. However rising in the ranks will be harder for the Path of Night follower specifically because of that. In the same way that probably feeds into why Lasombra on other paths tend to look down on Night followers since they have an innate unwillingness to follow orders. Sometimes you may have to decide which is worse - taking the hit to your morality or the consequences of not listening to a particular vampire.

      As for assisting others, the description seems to imply that such aid must come from altruistic reasons "Compassion has no place in a vampire's undead heart".. Just because a course of action may fall in line with what someone else wants doesn't mean that is why you are doing it. As long as there is a reason to do it for you, it should be fine (basically a form of enlightened self interest). I also think that's why acting in the interest's of another is the level nine sin, and at that point you are pushing the apex of morality and will be harder since they now have to do things entirely for their own twisted dark reasoning. A wise Night follower will try to bring their pack into their line of thinking, or at least into assisting them in corrupting mortals over killing them, and yes you probably should angle for Pack Priest or Ductus to bring the other damned into their tasks.


      • #4
        How well the Sabbat functions internally is a matter of ST preference. While it is certainly possible for it to function as the cohesive "Sword of Caine" with centralized organization, and the packs obey like soldiers in the Revised error, it is by no means the only (or even the most likely) interpretation. The sect has undergone at least three destructive civil wars, two of which lasted a long time, and the last ended fairly quickly only because the hardliners recognized the Panders and took a lot of steam out of the Loyalists. But that is not a long term solution, and the sect can easily descend into internal conflict again.

        The original Sabbat was the Loyalist movement, and pack autonomy was key. The Bishops and the hierarchy was originally established to support the Paths of Enlightenments, and were not actually part of a sect leadership. Of course, the Lasombra and Tzimisce say that as a means they could control the sect. This was resented by the Loyalists, and it lead to the civil wars.

        So how much control the Bishops have over the Loyalists packs and nomads is very debateable. In my chronicles, it is entirely dependent on personal relations between the ductuses and bishops, and how charismatic and politically skilled each bishop is. In chronicles where I am the ST, there are a lot of nomad Sabbat packs which operately almost completely independently of the Sabbat, and only participate when there are large gatherings for important ritae, or when they perform vaulderie with a handful of other trusted packs. Certainly the Lasombra and Tzimisce elders want a centralized, coherent organization that they control, but that isn't reality. While the Sabbat can be an effective organization and can pull off Crusades against a disorganized local enemy, it takes a lot of effort and burns up a lot of favors. In my chronicles at least, the sect as a whole is more likely to collapse in another civil war than it is to become anything like it was in Revised.

        In that kind of Sabbat, I think there's a space for vampires following the Path of Night can exist and thrive. But they'd be a minority of the vampires there, and can only flourish in areas where the Loyalist movement is strong, or where the local ecclesial hierarchy is mainly composed of its adherents.


        • #5
          BacchicOne Firstly - If a Path isn't difficult to follow, it's pointless. Letting someone have "The Path of What I Was Going To Do Anyway" doesn't add to the roleplaying
          Secondly, with Path of Night, just make sure that there's something in it for you.


          • #6
            Moreover, the OP comment assumes that Path of Night adherents must be members of packs. Not all Sabbat, however, remain bound to a pack. Especially as they get older and stronger, and their old pack-mates fall to attrition. The few ancillae and slightly-less-few Elders in the Sabbat are licks who survived by becoming very powerful. It's from this stock that most Bishops (that aren't short-lived neonates that seize and then lose power quickly) and Archbishops arise. Others retire from Sabbat society as a whole, choosing instead to pursue idiosyncratic personal studies. Those who seek to walk various Paths of Enlightenment can fall into this category, especially for Paths that are more...let's say "Antisocial", even by Sabbat standards.

            This, incidentally, is likely what prompted variants of the Path of Night to begin with. Those who wanted to follow the Path, but desired greater connection with pack members, tweaked the Path to suit their needs. The Allied Path is a good example of this.

            Even if we assume a vanilla Path of Night adherent, though, that doesn't preclude being in a pack. It might mean them taking the reins as Ductus by default (and everyone else not wanting to bother challenging them). Or the "traditional" role of Ductus might be dispensed with entirely, and the pack is a group of equals, who agree to maintain a mutual pack of cooperation for an indefinite period. No one "has" to do anything, but rather they come to a decision through reasoned (or not-so-reasoned) debate, until a course of action arises (which may or may not involve one or more members breaking away if they simply cannot abide the decision).


            • #7

              The Vinculum will also have an impact. The loyalty of the Sabbat derives from all the usual leadership techniques available to humans, but also from this supernatural compulsion. The Path is a way to stay sane inside the insanity of being a vampire, and the Vaulderie is a powerful and irrational master. There may be times where the behavior dictated by your Path may be the opposite of that dictated by your Vinculum. Among the Sabbat, these cross-currents can be a rather tender subject.

              Nobody said un-life in the Sword of Caine was easy. Look at it as dynamic tension within the character, of the sort that can be a role-playing opportunity.


              • #8
                The Sabbat would collapse within a year without the Vaulderie linking up packs with Vinculum bonds. You think the Methesulahs and Elders of the Sabbat throw enormous parties (with all of the Sabbat in a region or country) with really big Vaulderie rituals for fun? Rites of Blood even says that these rituals are heavily dosed with the blood of Bishops and Archbishops.

                Without emotional bonds tying all Sabbat in fraternity, it wouldn't work. The only unifying ideology which captures most Sabbat is a rejection of traditional morality, and you can't really get cohesion out of collective rejection of a norm without something else tying it together. In real world movements that might be shared ideals, faith or style, but in the Sabbat the main factor is a supernatural tie.

                Noddism also helps, but it isn't as common as it once was.


                • #9
                  A Path should be difficult, but not unplayable in the area it is meant to be played. Typically my ST a more varied interpretation to make Pack and Sect work possible.
                  A lot of the Path is geared towards tormenting humans, primarily. As others noted, there are variants of the Path. I picked out what seem the most problematic of the core version, though. Assuming you're playing with other players in a Pack.
                  Accepting the superiority of another.
                  The rationale here is that all Kindred are equal. This is generally part of the ethos of the Sabbat as well. Arguably they would always be ensuring they remain Ductus, but also looking for chances for upward growth. However, if a Bishop tells you to do something, you can probably smooth that over as 'working together' as opposed to 'accepting their superiority.' Which would depend on the request, one's own desire to do it, and how it is presented.
                  Aiding another.
                  Kind of about compassion. Arguably you'd be avoiding helping when possible so the weak will fail and the strong will thrive. However, an exception for one's Pack members seems reasonable at times. At the end of the day, never helping someone is extremely hard to get around. Another way to look at it is if you expect something in return for what you do.
                  Bowing to another Kindred's will.
                  Same vein as the other sin. What it means to bow to another's will can be unclear. But I would say it is more about doing what they want for their motivations instead of what you as an individual want. Allowing them to guide your actions.


                  • #10
                    This maybe a novel idea, but if I have a job for which I get paid and to which I agreed and the boss asks me to do something, then following through is not "bowing down to another's will".

                    Not every interaction between vampires has to be Dominate-fueled browbeating. Some vampires probably understand how actual leadership works.