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The Future of the True Black Hand in V5

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  • #16
    Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
    There's a variant of the Servitors of Irad in Cults of the Blood Gods. I assume that IS the True Hand.

    Page 122-123

    Quite a strong Loresheet, by the way.
    True Black Hand cultists fighting for paxis, relics and ancient blood against the Sabbat is the perfect setting for some good, old fashioned, Gonzo Vampire Action <3
    Last edited by Manfr; 10-03-2021, 04:41 PM.

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    • #17
      A story that turns the gonzo dial down to street level could even see a Prince and an Archbishop from two sister cities as fellow cultists secretly in cahoots, maintaining the illusion of a rivalry to whittle down the number of Kindred in one another's domains while they use their respective influences to search for an artifact or ancient grave buried beneath one of their cities. It doesn't always have to be about fighting space monsters from the Penumbra.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
        There's a variant of the Servitors of Irad in Cults of the Blood Gods. I assume that IS the True Hand.

        Page 122-123


        shame any usability of any of the cults is damaged by the Loresheet system.
        Last edited by Taggie; 10-06-2021, 08:13 AM.

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        • #19
          The True Black Hand is a setting element I like to call “high level Jyhad.” It was one of those groups of string-pullers, like the various Gehenna cults of the Elysium sourcebook, that most vampires never saw. They were even ignorant they even existed (though many vampires obviously must think there are high level conspiracies among vampires of some kind).

          Because those groups are unknown and invisible they can be very hard to implement in the game successfully. But they're totally valid as a setting element.

          Now I actually didn't like Dirty Secrets of the Black Hand when it first came out. It was advertised (or maybe just assumed by the fans) to be about the actual Black Hand of the Sabbat, and what we got... was something else. And there are many gonzo elements that many people just don't like. I, and everyone I knew, was very turned off by it. It just wasn't what we were expecting.

          However, I've slowly gotten around to liking it. Not so much for the actual elements in the book (many of which I still don't like), but for the idea it represented – that there was more than just interpersonal rivalry in a domain and sect conflicts to vampire. That there were higher conspiracies going on that could still impact the game. Once I imagined it less as canon, and more as an example of what I could do, I saw it more as a toolkit that would be very useful. And I grew to like its imagination and creativity even if I did not use some of the things in it. Between it and Elysium's Gehenna cults though, there is a lot I do use.

          But I don't see how V5 could do it any justice. It (and the Revised metaplot it uses) just jettisoned too many things that made the True Black Hand work. The V5 setting just doesn't support it. At best they'd turn it into a parody of itself – another sect to be directly fought in the streets instead of mysterious string pullers to be investigated and thwarted by blocking their pawns.

          The interesting things about the True Black Hand and Elysium's Gehenna cults is that they thwarted the expectations of what should be going on. Since the True Black Hand controlled the False Black Hand, it essentially meant the entire Sabbat was a pawn of the antedeluvians. That Gehenna cults like the various Edenic Groundskeepers existed meant there were Camarilla vampires equally devoted to stopping the antedeluvians as the ignorant Sabbat masses. In other words, what you thought was going on in the surface simply wasn't true. There was always another layer.

          That was a wonderful thing for an ST.

          V5 seems to want to take the mystery out of everything. The False Hand being unwitting pawns of the True Hand is interesting. The two fighting each other in the open is boring because its predictable. Making it a public sect instead of a secret conspiracy reduces its usefulness to the ST. It eliminates the concept of a multi-level Jyhad that creates mystery and just makes it another sect conflict which the game already has plenty of. It takes a complex mystery and turns it into a simple thing that can be smashed by brute force. Boring.

          The Servitors of Irad certainly seek to be minions of the antedeluvians. But if they are out in the open, they're just another sect to fight. Not a mystery to unveil. And while the True Black Hand should be involved in it to some degree, I don't think it makes sense for the Camarilla members of the True Hand to be in it. The Servitors should either be pawns of the Hand or ignorant allies with their own agenda separate from the Hand. Likely the members are both. The real True Hand members of the Camarilla should keep their involvement at a minimum. You can't be the string-pullers if you're doing the actual work itself.

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          • #20
            IMO some remnants of the True Hand survived the destruction of Enoch, but they have not yet reformed into a coherent whole.

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            • #21
              I agree. Lorewise however i dont see why the true black hand wouldnt be around anymore. Notably they consist not just of vampires, some of which proved to survive the unsurvivable many times (Molochim) but they also have Eutanatoi mages and other creatures amongst their ranks and those are definitely still around
              Last edited by Orkar; 10-23-2021, 05:17 PM.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by Orkar View Post
                I agree. Lorewise however i dont see why the true black hand wouldnt be around anymore. Notably they consist not just of vampires, some of which proved to survive the unsurvivable many times (Molochim) but they also have Eutanatoi mages and other creatures amongst their ranks and those are definitely still around
                Oh, don't worry. As it seems, if I understood it well, I was wrong and they did make a comeback.

                Although it's only a cult for now that only may be composed of original members. What form it will take in the end is yet to be seen.


                #NothingAboutUsWithoutUs
                #AutismPride
                She/her pronouns

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                • #23
                  We now know the fate of the True Hand as the Orphans of Enoch are the ones rebuilding the organization. Given they're a bunch of Elders recruiting newcomers for Gehenna that claim to have been from Enoch until it was destroyed.


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

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Amethyst View Post
                    IMO some remnants of the True Hand survived the destruction of Enoch, but they have not yet reformed into a coherent whole.

                    In my Milwaukee chronicle, Parovich is a Tal'Mahe'Ra dominion (what makes much more sense than a Primogen as Sabbat infiltrator, imho) trying to use the city's shaky situation and relative isolation to incrementally turn it into a domain aligned with the cult and a new regional center to rebuild the Gehenna cult from.

                    (That said, i have yet to decide what kind of form would the cult have in my game and what is Parovich's particular take of its culture and mythology x just rolling the ball from mixing up his agenda with that of the Sabbat NPCs from CbN and the Succubus Club)
                    Last edited by Baaldam; 10-24-2021, 07:28 AM.

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Baaldam View Post


                      In my Milwaukee chronicle, Parovich is a Tal'Mahe'Ra dominion (what makes much more sense than a Primogen as Sabbat infiltrator, imho) trying to use the city's shaky situation and relative isolation to incrementally turn it into a domain aligned with the cult and a new regional center to rebuild from.
                      That’s a great idea!

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Amethyst View Post

                        That’s a great idea!

                        I do like to get an obscure or outdated character here and there to give something of a new spin, specially by using elements of later canon or metaplot, to catch players old and new by surprise.

                        My version of Milwaukee has some interconnection with Gary & Chicago, meaning NPCs from either city (not to mention some one-shot NPCs from Blood Bond, Ashes to ashes or the adventures in Succubus' Club) will make the occasional appearance and bring their own shenanigans to the mix.


                        With the occasional twist - Dmitri, the chess-obsessed methuselah & his minions from Player of Pawns became an all-Lasombra cell of the Amici Noctis, with ties to both Rigaud & Parovich, for example.


                        Or Nicolai's utterly fake Apocrypha of Nod from Child's Play being nearly as dangerous as real noddist texts - beware the fanfiction exercise of a $#itposting Occult 7 elder.
                        Last edited by Baaldam; 10-24-2021, 08:40 AM.

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by Baaldam View Post
                          In my Milwaukee chronicle, Parovich is a Tal'Mahe'Ra dominion (what makes much more sense than a Primogen as Sabbat infiltrator, imho) trying to use the city's shaky situation and relative isolation to incrementally turn it into a domain aligned with the cult and a new regional center to rebuild the Gehenna cult from.
                          I like this too. Milwaukee By Night is such an early product that it gets many things wrong as they would get developed later. Other than "evil boogeyman", there isn't much to the Sabbat in Milwaukee By Night. There's nothing necessarily wrong about the given character, but it's not a natural match for the Sabbat. Making him a member of the True Hand keeps the mystery and essentials of the character, and doesn't require too many changes in the backstory. As a 500+ year vampire, he does fit the profile of a True Hand member, and his part insane/part obsequious rants seem more appropriate for the antedeluvians than the Sabbat. What might be interesting is that Parovich's neonates didn't understand what he meant when they overheard him talking about "the Black Hand". They can still think he's Sabbat because they don't know he was talking about something else. So Parovich still needs to kill them, and his childer still need to keep hiding.

                          Since the True Hand and the Gehenna cults have members within the Camarilla, I also find it a fun exercise to go through earlier products and figure out who would make a good (secret) member of these groups.

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                          • #28
                            Sabbat infiltrators reaching Primogen positions doesn't strike me as too weird. After all, the purpose of them is to gain power to destroy the Camarilla from the inside and prepare a city for siege.


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

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                              Sabbat infiltrators reaching Primogen positions doesn't strike me as too weird. After all, the purpose of them is to gain power to destroy the Camarilla from the inside and prepare a city for siege.
                              Honestly, i find it a little too much - you are one step away from the throne, if not the power behind it, why would you topple oneself? That's a little too deep for one not play double agent and go rogue. And it's far from the only inconsistency when it comes to fitting Parovich with the Sabbat as described from the Player's Guide onwards.


                              Originally posted by Black Fox View Post

                              I like this too. Milwaukee By Night is such an early product that it gets many things wrong as they would get developed later. Other than "evil boogeyman", there isn't much to the Sabbat in Milwaukee By Night. There's nothing necessarily wrong about the given character, but it's not a natural match for the Sabbat. Making him a member of the True Hand keeps the mystery and essentials of the character, and doesn't require too many changes in the backstory. As a 500+ year vampire, he does fit the profile of a True Hand member, and his part insane/part obsequious rants seem more appropriate for the antedeluvians than the Sabbat. What might be interesting is that Parovich's neonates didn't understand what he meant when they overheard him talking about "the Black Hand". They can still think he's Sabbat because they don't know he was talking about something else. So Parovich still needs to kill them, and his childer still need to keep hiding.
                              Pretty much how things roll in it - well, except Parovich's brood along with Milo, a childe of Demitri (Merrik's insane Nosferatu hatchet man) and a pair of Caitiffs formed another gang of their own, the Orlocks, with some not-so-stealthy support from Edward Scott, Jason & Decker. Seeing he could not directly hunt them anymore, Parovich ordered bloodbound Raul into making another gang, to serve as his own cat's paws and deal with the matter in his stead.


                              Originally posted by Black Fox View Post
                              Since the True Hand and the Gehenna cults have members within the Camarilla, I also find it a fun exercise to go through earlier products and figure out who would make a good (secret) member of these groups.
                              A fun exercise indeed. Let me give a partial try.

                              - Thaddeus, the Nosferatu elder that manipulated the prince of Denver in hunting Jacob Prestor & his childer on Alien Hunger.
                              - Horace Turnbull, sir Henry Johnson & Edgar Drummond (if one decides to make him smarter than he looks) or Edward Neally in 1st ed Chicago by Night.
                              - Bronwyn or Cedrick Calhoun in 2nd ed Chicago by Night.
                              - Louis Fortier in L.A. by Night.
                              - Elsa Linden in Dark Colony.
                              - Yokoshi (the whole " visiting japanese vampire" angle is fake), Derek (his obsession with Lupine-killing a cover), Necross (the whole Great Library is a True Hand cell or cult front), or Lyle (the Ventrue's sleeping master is another Aralu) in Dark Alliance: Vancouver.
                              Last edited by Baaldam; 10-24-2021, 08:13 PM.

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                              • #30
                                Honestly, i find it a little too much - you are one step away from the throne, if not the power behind it, why would you topple oneself? That's a little too deep for one not play double agent and go rogue. And it's far from the only inconsistency when it comes to fitting Parovich with the Sabbat as described from the Player's Guide onwards.
                                Mind you, the Sabbat taking over would make you Archbishop but you raise a good point.

                                Maybe that's why they made him a Wight in LTSRR


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

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