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[Revised] How does clan culture get passed on in the Sabbat?

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  • [Revised] How does clan culture get passed on in the Sabbat?

    I'm re-reading the Guide to the Sabbat, and I'm not sure if I missed something. There's an indication that the various clans in the Sabbat have very distinct clan cultures, and yet most Sabbat have communal havens. These feel a little incompatible to me, unless there's a line to the effect of "most packs are comprised of vampires of a single clan", which feels like it's false right out of the gate if most Pack Priests are Tzimisce (which I do definitely remember reading).

    How are these recognised? Is there just too much emphasis on clan culture in the book, that the reality can't support? Or is there some other factor that I'm missing that allows these separate cultures to be preserved?


    A Not-Quite-Newb's Read-Through of Ex3 - my thoughts, notes and trials and tribulations with the Exalted 3rd edition rules.
    Ex3 Reference Materials - currently includes an ST screen, common actions sheet, weapons reference sheet, character creation summary and mortal QCs reference sheet.

  • #2
    Eh, short version, you can leave your pack and go talk at length with your fellow Ventrue Antitribu on occasion. The thing about the Sabbat is they don't have as much free time as Camarilla vampires but 90% of their free time is devoted to vampire-related things.


    Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

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    • #3
      To elaborate a bit on CTPhipps comment. Just because your Sabbat vampire is in a pack and has a communal haven does not mean you spend every waking moment with them. The closest analogy I can think of is someone who lives at home and works for the family business. Yes they spend a great deal of time with their family because of those but that doesn't mean they don't have the chance to go out and have friends and other interests.

      In many ways clan culture ends up being stronger in the Sabbat because of their dropping the pretense of humanity and focusing on the vampiric. Delving into it is accepting that you have no need for mortal connections and instead owuld rather learn of your fellow Cainites. Being involved with your clan means yo have tutors for Disciplines (a key part of Sabbat ethos is to develop your vampire powers), it also is the easiest source for training on one of the Paths of Enlightenment. Indeed clan culture is powerful enough in the Sabbat to have led to three separate Civil Wars.
      • First Sabbat Civil War - Lasombra and Tzimisce war with each other over control of mortal resources in the new world.
      • Second Sabbat Civil War - Caused by Regent Gorchist's assassination by Ravnos antitribu but exacerbated by simmering Lasombra-Tzimisce tensions.
      • Third Sabbat Civil War - Brujah antitribu rise up against the control the Lasombra and Tzimisce held over the Sabbat. Ended with the Lasombra and Tzimisce having to accept the antitibu as equals as well as the recognition of the Panders as a proper line.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Xerxes View Post
        I'm re-reading the Guide to the Sabbat, and I'm not sure if I missed something. There's an indication that the various clans in the Sabbat have very distinct clan cultures, and yet most Sabbat have communal havens. These feel a little incompatible to me, unless there's a line to the effect of "most packs are comprised of vampires of a single clan", which feels like it's false right out of the gate if most Pack Priests are Tzimisce (which I do definitely remember reading).

        How are these recognised? Is there just too much emphasis on clan culture in the book, that the reality can't support? Or is there some other factor that I'm missing that allows these separate cultures to be preserved?
        I think that variety of Clans in Packs, and other groups, of Sabbat Vampires definitely wouldn't lead, the vast majority of the time, to Clan identity of individual Vampires and Clan culture being less present and important in the Sabbat.

        I think that overall ( or on the average ) Packs ( or any groups ) of Sabbat Vampires that have Vampires of varied Clans in it, sooner or later end up functioning in such a way that an emphasis is placed on Clan culture and expressing it, and thus the Clan cultures of Clans in the Sabbat are maintained and developed. I see no reasons why it wouldn't strongly tend to be this way in the Sabbat ; I think that variety of Clans in a group of Sabbat Vampires is a characteristic of a group that actively and steadily leads to such circumstances and events, that the Vampires in such a group will identify and express themselves, in various ways, as members of their Clans.

        During social interactions and cooperating to accomplish goals, most Sabbat Vampires would want to and would benefit from expressing their Clan identity and qualities. And if there are no personal reasons to do so for a Vampire, then one of the possibilities is that given time the reason to express Clan identity will be to do it as a reaction to what other Sabbat Vampires think and how they act in regard to a particular Vampire being of her or his Clan ; later such a Vampire could, and probably would, also express her or his Clan identity and culture because of other reasons, of course.
        Last edited by Muad'Dib; 10-20-2018, 03:38 AM.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Cynic01 View Post
          To elaborate a bit on CTPhipps comment. Just because your Sabbat vampire is in a pack and has a communal haven does not mean you spend every waking moment with them. The closest analogy I can think of is someone who lives at home and works for the family business. Yes they spend a great deal of time with their family because of those but that doesn't mean they don't have the chance to go out and have friends and other interests.

          In many ways clan culture ends up being stronger in the Sabbat because of their dropping the pretense of humanity and focusing on the vampiric. Delving into it is accepting that you have no need for mortal connections and instead owuld rather learn of your fellow Cainites. Being involved with your clan means yo have tutors for Disciplines (a key part of Sabbat ethos is to develop your vampire powers), it also is the easiest source for training on one of the Paths of Enlightenment. Indeed clan culture is powerful enough in the Sabbat to have led to three separate Civil Wars.
          That makes sense, I guess. I just need to make the games a bit more about social vampires.

          Although that then leads to the question of how to handle this in a game - if everyone is off doing their own thing, how on earth do you run that so that it's not just a series of one-to-one sessions or semi-constant downtime?


          A Not-Quite-Newb's Read-Through of Ex3 - my thoughts, notes and trials and tribulations with the Exalted 3rd edition rules.
          Ex3 Reference Materials - currently includes an ST screen, common actions sheet, weapons reference sheet, character creation summary and mortal QCs reference sheet.

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          • #6
            I believe that some part of it would be exchanging knowledge and stories around the proverbial camp fire.
            Besides that, there are scholars in the Sabbat that would want to share their opinions, histories and some knowledge.Especially in Sabbat controlled territory.

            Although since knowledge is power, there would be no shortage of false information, disinformation and defamation campaigns and information only available on certain conditions.

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            • #7
              Also, some clans and bloodlines have a culture which is reinforced by their disciplines and flaws. If anyone were embraced with the Monstrous flaw, and a single dot in Animalism, Potence, and Obfuscate, they might find its easiest to survive using the strategies the Nosferatu use.

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              • #8
                I think this is a very good question because I agree that there appears to be a big inconsistency here. The strong clan cultures don't seem to be consistent with other elements in the Sabbat.

                Having multi-clan packs, strong emphasis on the Vinculum, a hatred of the antedeluvians which is the basis of clan identity, mass embraces of people without distinction, and competing sources of allegiance (not just packs, but also the Paths of Enlightenment) are all elements that would undermine clan identity.

                However, I do think there are aspects by which clan identities would continue.

                1) Not all packs are multiclan. Given the high turnover of young Sabbat, I would not be surprised if there are times only one member survives, embraces again, and they become monoclan packs. The earlier this happens - and for some packs and vampires this might go back all the way to the original Anarch Revolt - such packs might have a very strong clan culture. This also holds for clans like the Tremere antitribu (House Goratrix) and Serpents of the Light who entered the Sabbat as defectors, and most of whose members are likely monoclan packs/covens.

                2) Many of the Sabbat elders, frankly, are not at all loyal to the ideals of the Sabbat and Anarch Revolt. They joined simply because they had a chance at power and ruling over others of their kind that they could not have if they stayed in the Camarilla or outside of it as independents (because their clan was not represented in the Inner Circle). Such vampires wwere behind the centralizing tendencies of the Sabbat episcopalian hierarchy, and is the reason for the Sabbat Civil Wars. I imagine then, that members of the Ultraconservative faction have strong clan traditions, while factions like the Loyalists do not.

                3) There is a distinction between True Sabbat and False Sabbat, and some of that distinction is based on new vampires being properly indoctrinated by members of their actual clan.

                But in terms of clan identity and loyalties, I think it is OK to have vampires all over the spectrum as long as it makes sense.

                In my own chronicles, I run the Sabbat as an extremely varied sect that is very divided on lots of things. Finding different packs or city domains, players would encounter very different kinds of Sabbat. I don't run Sabbat games, but on occasion I do have my Camarilla/Anarch games PCs run into Sabbat, and I am very inconsistent in my approach. One time I had them run into a pack of nomadic Sabbat inspired by the Blood Bond scenario. PCs thought they were almost identical to Anarchs they had known. Another game had them run into more typical monstrous killer Sabbat. Another time is was a pack comprised only of Serpents of Light. Another game was in a Sabbat held domain where they spied on one of the grander multipack ritae celebrations. They can't reconcile all these very varied depictions which makes the Sabbat seem much more mysterious. (Not all these scenes were in the same chronicle, but for the players who have played in these different chronicles, they are able to see all the ways I've depicted them).
                Last edited by Black Fox; 10-20-2018, 02:42 PM. Reason: corrected the name of the scenario mentioned

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                • #9
                  In my games, clan culture differs a lot from place to place. Age is also a big factor.

                  There are, basically, "sabbat no man's land" that are mostly full of very young vampires being idiots, barely knowing their clans, with no path and very low life expectancy. When they survive long enough they are usually educated a bit and included in the clan, but more often than not they die before they can acquire the culture.

                  And then you have "old Sabbat" people, from prestigious, established lines, or stable domains with Caïnites who can keep lore, organize events and educated their childer in the ways of their clan. In those places clan culture will be strong unless it's one of the very rare places where some shovelheads managed to stabilized the whole mess. Clan culture is especially strong in domains held by Tzimisces and Lasombras since they are the two main clans.

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                  • #10
                    Xerxes
                    How to handle it in game depends on how much the ST and players want to make clan culture important? If they want it to be one of the larger parts of the game then yes have some portion of the game devoted to it. If everyone wants it to be more in the background then just have the occasional few hours where the pack is off 'doing clan stuff', relying on social rolls for finding things like training.

                    The same question can come up in a Camarilla game, what happens when say the Tremere member of the coterie has to deal with the needs of the Pyramid, or the Toreador has to attend a more prominent member's gallery lest they lose standing in the clan. The answer remains the same - how important does the group and ST want it to be to the game?

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                    • #11
                      I think the emphasis on Noddism is a major component of this. If you believe in Antediluviens, then you believe in the importance of clan distinctions, even more so than Camarilla vamps. Learning the stories and important figures of one’s clan is of paramount importance to vampires of the Sabbat. There is obviously going to still be a great deal of clan loyalty for elder vampires who existed pre Sabbat. Clan loyalty gets passed from sire to childe in the case of true Sabbat who were put through creation rites. And when you have literal lifestyles like paths that adhere to certain clan doctrines you’re going to have to get to know your clan. How can a young tzmisce become a metamorphosist with out getting to know memebers of her clan? Not to mention the importance of in-clan disciplines. Even though the Sabbat prides itself on sharing disciplines the main disciplines used by Sabbat vampires are still often in clan. Best way to learn those is from members of your clan. Furthermore nothing binds you to people like a shared flaw the same way nothing binds humans together like a shared tragic experience

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Lord_Arion_diTanserville View Post
                        I think the emphasis on Noddism is a major component of this. (...)
                        Do you know in which V:tM books I can read more about Noddists and Noddism, in addition to what is written in the descriptions of the Path of Cain ? Are there any books with Noddist characters in them ?
                        Last edited by Muad'Dib; 11-08-2018, 07:23 PM.

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