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How to adjust the "classic" Sabbat to the V5 Sabbat

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  • How to adjust the "classic" Sabbat to the V5 Sabbat

    I'm presently debating doing another one of my articles for running the Sabbat in V5. However, I'm actually more interested in how to create a timeline for the events of the V20 Sabbat becoming the Sabbat of V5 as well as the consequences thereof.

    Here's some ideas I've been exploring:

    1. The Sabbat Civil War was won by the Loyalists

    There's a joke that V5 has been everything coming up [strike]Milhouse[/strike] Anarchs and that is interesting to explore as a concept applying to the Sabbat as well. The Sabbat Civil War predicted in BJD could have ended with the Loyalists making another play for control of the Sabbat. It's very possible that the Antitribu "won" this round and instituted a bunch of reforms based around their ideas of how the Sabbat should proceed.

    * All of us are Antitribu. There are no Clans among us.
    * The Path is a much bigger focus of our lives.
    * A focus on the pack at the expense of the national
    * A maximization of freedom at the expense of territory and hierarchy.
    * A renewed focus on the war against the Ancients.

    2. The False Black Hand was defeated

    The Special Forces of the Sabbat was something we learned were compromised completely by the True Hand and Jalan Aajav was going to war within his own faction in order to purge them from his ranks. This actually might be the start of the Gehenna War. After all, what would be a more accurate target for the Black Hand's wrath than the True Hand that worships Enoch and the Middle East? Unfortunately, with the rise of Ur-Shulgi, defection of the Assamite Warriors back to Alamut, and the fact the True Hand in V20 is NOT silly then its entirely possible Jalan lost this battle. The Black Hand was defeated and forced either underground or disbanded due to the tremendous casualties they suffered. They might also have had a number of their members Beckoned themselves.

    Also, as much as I love the SI, I fully believe that it would be the True Hand manipulating them that resulted in Jalan's execution. The remaining True Hand proceeded to become the Servitors of Irad and Children of Enoch from the Blood Cults books.

    3. Polonia was the last Regent

    Going with 1#, Polonia managed to persuade a huge chunk of the Loyalists to rally behind him and the Gehenna War because that was the only way to direct the angry masses of Panders, Antitribu, and other rabble. However, what he intended as a snipe hunt became an all-consuming war once they arrived and ended up battling so many Elders summoned by Methuselahs in the Middle East as well as Ur-shulgi's armies.

    Polonia was one of the Regents to die by violence, possibly killed by the Lasombra Antediluvian himself, and thus the Sabbat were once more leaderless. At that point, though, no single Cardinal could forward themselves as an alternative and were already engaged in battle with so many other Elders.

    4. The Gehenna War is multiple fronts

    The Gehenna War has multiple enemies:

    * The Shepherds of Ur-Shulgi and other Loyalist Assamites
    * The Ashirra
    * The Elders Beckoned to the Middle East and Northern Africa who didn't disappear. They were summoned and fight anywhere their Masters compelled them.
    * The Camarilla (which is the same people they've always been fighting)
    * The remains of the True Hand who are still pretty potent Elders and now have the aid of Moloch's Baali.
    * Places where ancients were spotted like Russia and going after Baba Yaga's childer along with the Crone herself (who probably used Obfuscate and/or Dominate to escape the Nictuku)

    Destroying someone like Menele is a pretty huge commitment of resources for the Sabbat even if they succeed.

    5. The Gehenna War is going well-ish

    One of the biggest issues the Sabbat have ever faced is the fact that it is actually quite hard to find and fight vampires hidden across cities. The Gehenna War, by contrast, is quite easy to find 1000+ year old vampires who seem to be coming out of the woodwork to do battle. Almost like they have been summoned to kill and die by forces that feed on violence rather than just vitae (ahem). In the past 15 years, the Sabbat have destroyed dozens of Methuselahs of both the 4th as well as 5th generation. Arguably as many as they've destroyed in the past 600.

    Their casualties have been IMMENSE. Much of their Ancilla population and countless Neonates have been destroyed but it has permanently changed the Jyhad. At least as far as they're concerned.

    6. Abandoning territory was a strategic decision

    The Camarilla broke virtually every one of their own self-stated rules by giving the Second Inquisition massive amounts of information on Sabbat strongholds thorughout the New World. It was a stupid and short-sighted decision that certainly solidfied the SI's impresion "blanks" were incontrovertibly evil as well as real. However, it also failed to do what the Camarilla thought. Yes, the Sabbat have abandoned Mexico, Montreal, and most other major cities. However, this is because they're an army of the march. Sabbat now "live off the land" and have far less need for domain than typical Kindred. It has also resulted in the Camarilla overstretching itself.

    It still does hold SOME territory but its consolidation in those cities is to provide money, IDs, and other things. It only need about 20% of its former territory because it's focused on all out war.

    7. The Sabbat leadership has pulled back

    The percentages of shovel-headed brainless cannon fodder to genius eldritch priests of darkness has shifted a bit but it's not been lost. Basically, the Sabbat have a substantial number of "armchair generals" who are the ones pulling the strings on their army of zerg. Vykos and the False Lucita are just some of them but they are in no danger of being the brainwashed stooges that other Sabbat are stereotyped as.

    The shovelheads have gone from, say, 20% of the Sabbat ranks to 60% but it doesn't matter because they're disposable minions from beginning to their end. The remaining 40% are protected by their "essential" positions and carrying out the sect's real business.

    8. The defections are not ideological

    This is just me but virtually every Lasombra defector is stil on a Path and there's no plans to change. They just claim to be "human" and carry on their previous beliefs in secret. The Sabbat who have defected whether Vasantasena (who recognized what it was becoming and failed to save it) or the Lasombra generally did so because they recognized the Sabbat no longer had a place for them. They are practical not ideological. Indeed, the Camarilla and Anarchs have both become a LOT more Sabbat-like due to the defections rather than the opposite.

    Against the rules or not there's a bunch of Path followers in the Anarchs and Camarilla now.

    9. The Inquisition was betrayed

    Lucita's faction of Sabbat reformists were primarily based around the Inquisition and those who wanted to make sure the Sabbat's principles of freedom as well as fighting the Antediluvians plus other supernatural evils were carried on. The True Hand (now corrupted by the Baali), Shaitan, Montreal, or Mary the Black may have been the parties behind it but whatever the result was the Inquisition was the first against the wall when the revolution came.

    Who profited from the destruction of one of the Sabbat's oldest and most venerable institutions? Is Lucita dead? Who is the fake Lucita? Vykos herself? Veyla? Gratiano? The Sybil? A revived Melinda Gailbraith?

    10. The Vinculum SHOULD have stopped the Lasombra defection

    It didn't. Indeed, Sabbat loyalists (small l) like Talley didn't show any hesitation.

    Why?
    Last edited by CTPhipps; 11-04-2021, 07:54 AM.


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

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  • #2
    Why would you want to do this? The OG Sabbat is just better.


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    • #3
      Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
      Why would you want to do this? The OG Sabbat is just better.
      Because change is exciting.

      The whole purpose of metaplot is to give your characters something to react to.

      To use an example:

      "Saruman comes to Hobbiton" is objectively bad for your Hobbit PCs but now your Hobbits have something to play against. It's a creation of adventures and gives your PCs something to have opinions on.

      As a Sabbat player, this is a crucible for the sect. What do you do in the face of so much change?


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

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      • #4
        Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
        I

        1. The Sabbat Civil War was won by the Loyalists

        [/I]
        Isn't this the opposite of what happened? The Loyalists were those that wanted to use the sect to carry on the values and aims of the original Anarch Revolt. That's definitly not what the Sabbat is now. It would seem that most of these people ditched it to join the Anarch Movement proper and what's left are the Orthodox\Ultra-Conservatives aka the people who only care about Jyhad, Gehenna and slurping methuselah rather than politicts and society building.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Jonny View Post

          Isn't this the opposite of what happened? The Loyalists were those that wanted to use the sect to carry on the values and aims of the original Anarch Revolt. That's definitly not what the Sabbat is now. It would seem that most of these people ditched it to join the Anarch Movement proper and what's left are the Orthodox\Ultra-Conservatives aka the people who only care about Jyhad, Gehenna and slurping methuselah rather than politicts and society building.
          I think it's a matter of interpretation but the Sabbat of V5 seem to have a very strong Loyalist bent to them. They've done away with most of the Sabbat's heirarchy, eliminated the status difference between the Lasombra/Tzimisce and Antitribu (which the Panders were all about), and now are enforcing the war against the Elders that was the original sect's goals to the exclusion of all else. Yes, there's an irony that they're all cannon fodder for the sect now but they're EQUAL as cannon fodder!


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

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          • #6
            This is really awesome! One point to bear in mind: in the Apocalyptic Record Kickstarter it says that the Garou destroyed Baba Yaga.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

              I think it's a matter of interpretation but the Sabbat of V5 seem to have a very strong Loyalist bent to them. They've done away with most of the Sabbat's heirarchy, eliminated the status difference between the Lasombra/Tzimisce and Antitribu (which the Panders were all about), and now are enforcing the war against the Elders that was the original sect's goals to the exclusion of all else. Yes, there's an irony that they're all cannon fodder for the sect now but they're EQUAL as cannon fodder!

              There is less heirarchy because it'all shovelheads now, but that doesn't mean there is more Loyalists. It just means the ultra-conservative powers-that-be kicked out the middle class.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                10. The Vinculum SHOULD have stopped the Lasombra defection

                It didn't. Indeed, Sabbat loyalists like Talley didn't show any hesitation.

                Why?
                As someone who played the original Sabbat decades ago, I'm perplexed by this. Are these defections false? You can play a Lasombra character in a Camarilla Chronicle, so revealing the Lasombra Defection to be a well planned ruse in future books would disrupt the game for those players (not as if nullifying the foundational story elements for people's Chronicles who spent money on the books hasn't been done before). Back when I played, a vinculum rating of 10 was as powerful as a blood bond and you had one to the Sabbat itself.


                He/Him... I just Love Witches. I am here for conversation rather than formal debate. My Hacks.

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                • #9
                  Personally I'd recommend downplaying some aspects, maintain honorable accord, humanity and beast. Territory and rank still apply because they do in the books being rather oddly written on the subject. Since the Sabbat is on total war footing I'd recommend the home front has logistical aspects rather than just running around like they're the vampires from near dark.

                  Successful termination of some of the ancients is a good idea because it gives the sect some actual edge and legitimacy. Maybe one of the 3rd, tzimsce perhaps?

                  Frankly v5 sabbat are pretty boring as written but there is the potential there, I'd recommend grafting the cagey, scary army of Darkness from revised on as much as possible.
                  Last edited by Ragged Robin; 11-03-2021, 12:01 PM.

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                  • #10
                    Don't you just love it when gms and players are forced to come up with reasons for major setting changes because the developers can't be bothered to come up with them themselves?

                    Seems like the Sabbat book would have been the perfect place to explain how we went from classic Sabbat to v5 Sabbat. It certainly had the room for extra pages.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Vendrin View Post
                      Don't you just love it when gms and players are forced to come up with reasons for major setting changes because the developers can't be bothered to come up with them themselves?

                      Seems like the Sabbat book would have been the perfect place to explain how we went from classic Sabbat to v5 Sabbat. It certainly had the room for extra pages.
                      Yeah, I am a lore junkie and there was a staggering lack of lore there. Could have put that in the missing 70 pages that would have made it equal in size to the Anarch and Camarilla book.

                      Originally posted by HorizonParty2021 View Post

                      As someone who played the original Sabbat decades ago, I'm perplexed by this. Are these defections false? You can play a Lasombra character in a Camarilla Chronicle, so revealing the Lasombra Defection to be a well planned ruse in future books would disrupt the game for those players (not as if nullifying the foundational story elements for people's Chronicles who spent money on the books hasn't been done before). Back when I played, a vinculum rating of 10 was as powerful as a blood bond and you had one to the Sabbat itself.
                      Yeah, there might be an explanation but it would be the focus of a Chronicle:

                      * The Lasombra Antediluvian broke the connection for some reason.
                      * A demonic being like Kupala broke the Vinculum (which is his doing anyway) in exchange for the Amis Nocti making some sort of deal with them.
                      * A suitably powerful Abyssal ritual.
                      * The Vinculum "snapped" for some reason that is related to the Beckoning.
                      * It was the work of the Tremere Antediluvian who is part of the Sabbat anyway as the leader of "House Goratrix" - I mean, this guy can do it.
                      * There's a way to break the Vinculum by mixing Thin Blooded vitae with it. This was a secret the Lasombra leaders discovered and started using to free their chosen elite.
                      * The number of defectors is actually just a few dozen and were isolated by the Amis Nocti beforehand.

                      I'm up for alternate in-universe explanations.

                      Originally posted by Ragged Robin View Post
                      Personally I'd recommend downplaying some aspects, maintain honorable accord, humanity and beast. Territory and rank still apply because they do in the books being rather oddly written on the subject. Since the Sabbat is on total war footing I'd recommend the home front has logistical aspects rather than just running around like they're the vampires from near dark.

                      Successful termination of some of the ancients is a good idea because it gives the sect some actual edge and legitimacy. Maybe one of the 3rd, tzimsce perhaps?

                      Frankly v5 sabbat are pretty boring as written but there is the potential there, I'd recommend grafting the cagey, scary army of Darkness from revised on as much as possible.
                      1. I think the V5 Sabbat book is weird because the Path of Honorable Accord described inside it isn't the Path of Honorable Accord I know. HA followers aren't humane or decent people. Its not the Path of Chivalry from Dark Ages. They're fanatics of the Sabbat and professional soldiers. They would fit very well into the new regime.

                      2. The Path of the Beast is something I'm back and forth on because I actually think it fits that the Sabbat are not doing it right. The Path of Harmony was destroyed because it was too kind. The Path of the Beast is ALSO still too nice because it's about being an animal not a monster. I can see how the Sabbat have corrupted it while claiming it was the Path that failed.

                      3. I didn't have a problem with Low Humanity vampires in the Sabbat unlike Taggie who has always maintained it should be pure Path followers. However, I am also of the mind that the Paths could have been dumbed down IN-UNIVERSE. Basically, the Pop Christianity versions of the Paths that lack most of the nuance. You could probably only get up to Level 5 on one of these but most Sabbat will never notice.

                      4. I don't think the book was inconsistent so much as saying that territory is now less important than it used to be. There's still a few "fortress" cities of the Sabbat but they aren't trying to conquer and keep territory like they used to. Which is a way to distinguish the Sabbat from what it used to be and both the Camarilla and Anarchs who very much are fighting over turf/domain.

                      5. The "confirmed dead" Antediluvians are Ravnos and Augustus Giovanni. Probably Set and Ventrue too. Malkav has also become one with his clan as per BJD. So it's interesting to speculate on if any others have been destroyed. Mind you, I always liked the idea there were more than 13 as well. I wouldn't be surprised if the Sabbat THINK they've destroyed a few Antediluvians but how would they know?

                      6. Revised is my favorite Sabbat, even if I do add a lot of 2nd Edition Infernalism.
                      Last edited by CTPhipps; 11-03-2021, 12:18 PM.


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

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                      • #12
                        A few more ideas that occur to me:

                        11. The Serpents of Light defection

                        This will probably be controversial but I think the Ministry should include a huge number of the former Serpents of Light. They broke away from the Followers of Set because they were a bunch of crazy blasphemous psychopaths worshiping an evil god, so the idea of joining with the other breakaway polytheists strikes me as very probable. The remaining SoL have since started calling themselves Setite Antitribu and are really pissed about this.

                        12. The Harbingers noped out the fuck out of there

                        This is pretty much confirmed as canon but the Harbingers of Skulls managed to ACHIEVE their goal of destroying their Antediluvian enemy. They were also pretty old blooded vampires as well. The Sabbat have some respect for this action but are still furious that they're no longer supporting the suicide crusade. I wouldn't be surprised if there's a treaty that most younger Sabbat don't feel obliged to honor. Technically, though, the Harbingers are the most successful Sabbat of all time.

                        13. The Sabbat has an Antediluvian on its side

                        Tremere in Goratrix's body is pulling the strings of the Sabbat as the leader of House Goratrix. He could probably rule the entire sect if he wanted (except remove the could) but has no desire to. Instead, he's the guy who has pointed the Sabbat at so many other Ancients and the Banu Haqim in particular. For maximum irony's sake, I'd say House Goratrix should have a powerful alliance with the Salubri Antitribu. Tremere is PROBABLY responsible for the fall of Vienna but is also out to stop Ur-Shulgi.

                        14. The Salubri Antitribu have probbaly failed

                        I feel kind of maudlin here but my idea is that Adonai's plan to avenge his Clan has failed. Not for lack of effort on his part but because the Salubri Antitribu have been absorbed into the greater Sabbat. You can't really indoctrinate an army of Neonates to believing you should avenge your Clan when everyone else is telling you that your clan is bullshit. Now most Salubri Antis are indistinguisbale from other shovelheads. I imagine Adonai himself is dead or been forced into hiding.

                        15. The Sabbat leadership is aware of the Tzimisce and Lasombra Antediluvians survival

                        Basically, due to the events of Beckett's Jyhad Diary, the Sabbat is aware that both their claimed Antediluvians are still alive. This is kept from the Sabbat at large even as rumors are still around. Still, plenty of Lasombra and Tzimisce Elders have vanished to the Beckoning. Vykos is one of the few left and believes the Dracon is out to get them.
                        Last edited by CTPhipps; 11-03-2021, 12:30 PM.


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

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                          Because change is exciting
                          Anything V5 Sabbat can do, OG Sabbat can do better and more. V5ing your Sabbat kills off their long-term value.

                          Besides, regional conflicts are, imo, just better than global metaplot changes. Easily reversable or avoidable. Universal table flipping is just Hubris that takes agency away from players and storytellers.


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                          • #14
                            I'd probably scrap 11, 12 and 14 and kinda because they're reductive/obstructuve to player utility and Storytelling rather than conductive. 13 could be cool.
                            Last edited by Ragged Robin; 11-03-2021, 12:46 PM.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
                              Anything V5 Sabbat can do, OG Sabbat can do better and more. V5ing your Sabbat kills off their long-term value.

                              Besides, regional conflicts are, imo, just better than global metaplot changes. Easily reversable or avoidable. Universal table flipping is just Hubris that takes agency away from players and storytellers.
                              Bluntly, I disagree. I like being setting-changing events and hate keeping things the same. Besides, I prefer to keep things consistent with canon.

                              I don't begrudge Storytellers who do their own thing but it's not my thing.

                              Originally posted by Ragged Robin View Post
                              I'd probably scrap 11,12 and 14 because they're reductive/obstructuve to player utility rather than conductive. 13 could be cool.
                              Well, 12 is just canon according to CULTS OF THE BLOOD GODS. It's just how the Sabbat would perceive it.

                              I'm also not sure how the Revised Salubri Anitribu would fit in with V5's Sabbat.
                              Last edited by CTPhipps; 11-03-2021, 12:34 PM.


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

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