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  • #91
    But did the Sabbat got wind of the True Black Hand? AFAIK, the True Hand kind of blew up alone, so it just ceased to be without no one learning about them.

    At this point the Black Hand is the only Black Hand, as the new cult that may or may not be comprised of surviving members is still forming, anyway.


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    • #92
      Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
      But did the Sabbat got wind of the True Black Hand? AFAIK, the True Hand kind of blew up alone, so it just ceased to be without no one learning about them.

      At this point the Black Hand is the only Black Hand, as the new cult that may or may not be comprised of surviving members is still forming, anyway.
      Beckett's Jyhad Diary and V20 had Jalan discover the True Hand controlled about 75% of the Black Hand.

      Mind you, the Week of Nightmares was conspicuously absent from that book.


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      • #93
        Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

        Beckett's Jyhad Diary and V20 had Jalan discover the True Hand controlled about 75% of the Black Hand.

        Mind you, the Week of Nightmares was conspicuously absent from that book.

        V20 had been pretty intent on not going in its direction really.

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        • #94
          As much as I understand why, and there are many reasons to avoid it, I think it must be done.

          V5 assumes the Gehenna started. Despite its share of retcons, it is the same setting. And this setting had the Week of Nightmares as important canon piece that influenced metaplot for four years of publications.

          Paradox have to deal with the elephant in the room. Whatever they decide to do with it, they'll have to face it directly sooner or later, and the later, the worse.

          Without that, we can only assume it is canon-as-written with all the problems it also brings.

          My bet is that OPP didn't touch it because Paradox forbid.


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          • #95
            If I had to come up with a scenario or theory about the Sabbat's internal affairs I would say either after the events of BJD or simply before V5's events, there were some pretty serious political matters that we sadly didn't get to see. Just like Jocastians or Red Question sharing and distributing subversive material, someone might have blown the whistle. Regent is dead, Black Hand is infiltrated by a cult of Antes worshippers (or simply "enemies"), the Sabbat is rigged... et cetera. So not a single Civil War occurs, but a great dissolution and fragmentation all over thee globe.

            That would be pretty awesome to storytell about, it's every Hand for itself, and who is the true prophet and wielder of the Sword of Caine is anyone's guest. Each city faces it's own chaos and old politicking, each pack has to decide it's allegiance. It's either go to war with Sabbat, with Antes, with another Sect or time to desert.


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            • #96
              Originally posted by Banu_Saulot View Post
              If I had to come up with a scenario or theory about the Sabbat's internal affairs I would say either after the events of BJD or simply before V5's events, there were some pretty serious political matters that we sadly didn't get to see. Just like Jocastians or Red Question sharing and distributing subversive material, someone might have blown the whistle. Regent is dead, Black Hand is infiltrated by a cult of Antes worshippers (or simply "enemies"), the Sabbat is rigged... et cetera. So not a single Civil War occurs, but a great dissolution and fragmentation all over thee globe.

              That would be pretty awesome to storytell about, it's every Hand for itself, and who is the true prophet and wielder of the Sword of Caine is anyone's guest. Each city faces it's own chaos and old politicking, each pack has to decide it's allegiance. It's either go to war with Sabbat, with Antes, with another Sect or time to desert.

              On the one hand, I agree that we likely don't get to see the Civil Wars that have resulted in the new V5 Sabbat and that's a shame. However, I have to respectfully disagree that the dissolution of the sect would be an interesting story to play out, at least cannonically.

              Within the context of a home game, I absolutely agree that would be a fascinating story to explore and has lots of real-world parallels that you could draw upon. However, in terms of canon, I think that would do a great disservice to those players that are truly invested in the Sabbat because at that point the Sabbat is no more. The moment the in-built hypocrisies become known to the rank-and-file the sect shatters. In such an irrevocable way as to make any reformation effectively impossible. Any new sect would be exactly that, a new sect with allusions to what came before.

              After all, this would mean that:
              1) Sabbat leadership is utterly shattered, the office of the Regent is forever tainted. Anyone attempting to claim the office would be seen as a pretender to a tainted throne.
              2) The special forces, the true Zealots of the Sabbat, the Black Hand are forever attainted. Relegated to go the way of the True-Hand, meaning the sect loses all the intrigue and complexity that goes with that particular mystery-cult.
              3) There is no commonality binding the Sabbat, they utterly dissolve into squabbling warlords. Meaning that they're essentially nothing but edgier Anarchs.

              To me that seems a step too far, it'd be like having the Inner Circle of the Camarilla get-wiped out by the Second Inquisition. A potentially fascinating story for a chronicle, but not really suitable for official canon in my opinion.


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              • #97
                Originally posted by Karos View Post


                On the one hand, I agree that we likely don't get to see the Civil Wars that have resulted in the new V5 Sabbat and that's a shame. However, I have to respectfully disagree that the dissolution of the sect would be an interesting story to play out, at least cannonically.

                Within the context of a home game, I absolutely agree that would be a fascinating story to explore and has lots of real-world parallels that you could draw upon. However, in terms of canon, I think that would do a great disservice to those players that are truly invested in the Sabbat because at that point the Sabbat is no more. The moment the in-built hypocrisies become known to the rank-and-file the sect shatters. In such an irrevocable way as to make any reformation effectively impossible. Any new sect would be exactly that, a new sect with allusions to what came before.

                After all, this would mean that:
                1) Sabbat leadership is utterly shattered, the office of the Regent is forever tainted. Anyone attempting to claim the office would be seen as a pretender to a tainted throne.
                2) The special forces, the true Zealots of the Sabbat, the Black Hand are forever attainted. Relegated to go the way of the True-Hand, meaning the sect loses all the intrigue and complexity that goes with that particular mystery-cult.
                3) There is no commonality binding the Sabbat, they utterly dissolve into squabbling warlords. Meaning that they're essentially nothing but edgier Anarchs.

                To me that seems a step too far, it'd be like having the Inner Circle of the Camarilla get-wiped out by the Second Inquisition. A potentially fascinating story for a chronicle, but not really suitable for official canon in my opinion.

                Yeah, I agree with ya.
                I'm not exactly pro end of the Sabbat either, even if I really like the new "form" it has in V5. To me, the sect is shattered, like the Tremere, but it's parts aren't necessarily unmade. Of course, some implications and some direct affirmations express the end of the sect, but a Mortal Inquisition and Immortal Revolt created it, so I don't think a Mortal Inquisition and Immortal War will destroy it. Hell, they might scatter now, each city it's own Sabbat, the old groups of the Sabbat being only faintly related but independent; but they could come back stronger.

                Like, those that aren't destroyed in the Beckoning Zones could come back quarter-dead (cuz they already are half-dead... sorry) but pumped full of old blood, "real" proof of the danger of the ancients, and riddled with zeal and passion to bring vamps into their ranks backs. It could even be kept pro status quo of the setting and give tidbits that maybe these returning Sabbats are either telling the truth (or are insane), are servants of whatever was there, or simply lied and ate their fellow Sabbat and came back with wild stories of ancients threats. So that the Schrodinger's Lore (do the Antediluvians exist or not?) is kept intact.

                So we could pass through all of this and get the Sabbat back. And since Camarilla is all cloak and shadows now, the Anarchs and the many Cults would be the Sabbat's biggest enemies. But know I'm going way into headcanon here. But yeah, the V5 Sabbat made me want to play and storytell Sabbat, even if many of the things I would like to see would have to be "brought back", dug up from editions, or reinvented. It would be weird seeing the "moderate" Sabbat have a new Civil War to "calm" this extremist and even more warheaded Sabbat.

                All I'm saying is... we could really do with a new setting book with options and some explanations, like a 2nd BJD.


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                • #98
                  Originally posted by Banu_Saulot View Post


                  Yeah, I agree with ya.
                  I'm not exactly pro end of the Sabbat either, even if I really like the new "form" it has in V5. To me, the sect is shattered, like the Tremere, but it's parts aren't necessarily unmade. Of course, some implications and some direct affirmations express the end of the sect, but a Mortal Inquisition and Immortal Revolt created it, so I don't think a Mortal Inquisition and Immortal War will destroy it. Hell, they might scatter now, each city it's own Sabbat, the old groups of the Sabbat being only faintly related but independent; but they could come back stronger.
                  I like the new form its taken in some regards, but not others. I think a more feral and fanatical Sabbat can certainly be interesting, I also understand why the creators have taken it that way, moving away from the more playable versions we've seen. That said, I do hope we see official playable Sabbat down the line. I'm very much hoping that this feral-face to the Sabbat is just the outside perspective and that on the inside a lot of the nuance and structure has remained intact if changed.

                  I'd like to see something like
                  1) Inner Council of Elders
                  2) Sub-Sect Commanders (Black Hand/Inquisition)
                  3) Sub-Sect Veterans (Black Hand/Inquisition) with their ideals, and culture still surviving just changed.
                  4) A corps of surviving veterans that have generally gone to ground or stepped into arm-chair veteran roles.
                  5) The masses of half-feral Sabbat we see presented in the V5 guide, that make up the public face of the Sect to its enemies.

                  Like, those that aren't destroyed in the Beckoning Zones could come back quarter-dead (cuz they already are half-dead... sorry) but pumped full of old blood, "real" proof of the danger of the ancients, and riddled with zeal and passion to bring vamps into their ranks backs. It could even be kept pro status quo of the setting and give tidbits that maybe these returning Sabbats are either telling the truth (or are insane),
                  I think that's hinted at in the Chicago Lasombra write-up, Little Lamb talks of a few Sabbat coming back gorged on vitae. But for each that came back a score were killed, their blood going to who knows what beneath the sands. Some sort of Sababt reformation spearheaded by the Crusaders could be interesting, but it would be weird to have the feral Sabbat return and then suddenly switch from savagery back to the dark church they once were.

                  are servants of whatever was there, or simply lied and ate their fellow Sabbat and came back with wild stories of ancients threats. So that the Schrodinger's Lore (do the Antediluvians exist or not?) is kept intact.
                  It definitely could be an interesting rumour or tidbit to include, if left murky and uncertain. If Sabbat are getting subverted by their ancient enemies, that needs to be only in a few cases, otherwise, the sect is just undermined yet further.

                  So we could pass through all of this and get the Sabbat back.
                  I think we'll struggle to go back to the Sabbat we once knew if this new presentation is true of the entire sect, if it's just the external perspective and we later learn the internal truth? Maybe we could get more of the traditional Sabbat back.

                  And since Camarilla is all cloak and shadows now,the Anarchs and the many Cults would be the Sabbat's biggest enemies.
                  I have to disagree somewhat, the Camarilla is openly starting to accept and promote ancestor worship. Methuselah cults, veneration of elders in Elysia, etc. It's all becoming very blatant, any Sabbat worth their salt is going to go 'We told you so!' the moment they see that. After all, they've been telling everyone since Thorns that the Camarilla is nothing but a pawn of the Antediluvians, now their behaviour confirms it!

                  The Anarchs are in an interesting position. On the one hand, they're competing with the Sabbat more directly: for territory, for recruits, etc. But on the other, they're also managing to stand up to the Camarilla for the first time in centuries. I think the Sabbat will largely be divided some eager to massacre Anarchs others keen to convert them.

                  As for all the new minor Cults, I could easily see the Sabbat Inquisition going to town against all the newly arisen heresies. Personally, I think that would be an awesome game. Your cult is attacked by these fanatics freshly returned from the Gehenna Fronts. At the same time, playing an Inquisition Pack that finds itself attacked by other faiths flips the script nicely.

                  But know I'm going way into headcanon here. But yeah, the V5 Sabbat made me want to play and storytell Sabbat, even if many of the things I would like to see would have to be "brought back", dug up from editions, or reinvented. It would be weird seeing the "moderate" Sabbat have a new Civil War to "calm" this extremist and even more warheaded Sabbat.

                  All I'm saying is... we could really do with a new setting book with options and some explanations, like a 2nd BJD.
                  I think we're largely on the same page, I certainly wouldn't be opposed to a more thorough setting book, but I doubt we'll get one as it restricts the creative freedoms of everyone using the setting. Even if it would preferable to some in the community (like ourselves) to have a more definitive canon.


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                  • #99
                    The Great Schism and the Gehenna War

                    One thing I am thinking about is the possibility of going in reverse with V5. Specifically, that elements of V5 can be incorporated into V20 style plot beats in a way that is closer to the way that they were presented in BJD.

                    An interesting take on the Gehenna War would be to make it not against a nebulous bunch of "Ancients" in the Middle East that they somehow trip over and wage a fifteen odd year war against (since it started before 2005). Instead, another way of doing it would be to have the Sabbat very specifically head to the Middle East to do battle with Ur-Shulgi and the Web of Knives. THAT would be an interesting way of following up on the plot of the Great Schism.

                    On one side, you have the second largest sect of the Kindred with its own Special Forces in the Black Hand as well as many battle hardened veterans as well as powerful occultists. On the other, you have 1/3rd to 2/3rds of a clan that include the deadliest killers on the planet and virtually the entirety of the Warrior Caste plus a substantial chunk of the Sorcerer caste. People who are trained for years in Alamut and Embraced at the top of their ability.

                    Now you could easily have this be "the" Gehenna War as the Sabbat defines it. Sure, there's Ashirra and old as shit vampires in Cairo and Jerusalem and other parts of the Middle East.' The Web of Knives is a bunch of Antediluvian worshiping trained killers that are determined to wipe out the worst of vampirekind (which the Sabbat certainly could qualify as) versus people who would consider Ur-Shulgi the embodiment of what they despise.

                    It could easily last a decade and a half and explain why the Web of Knives, which should have been waging a war against the Camarilla this entire time, has been preoccupied. Personally, assuming Ur-Shulgi can't wave his hand and wipe them out, I give the victory to the Sabbat. However, I give the victory a Pyrrhic one. Possibly explaining why the Sabbat has been left in shambles (albeit not to the level in V5).
                    Last edited by CTPhipps; 11-21-2021, 11:54 PM.


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                    • Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                      V20 Compliant Gehenna War Theory
                      I like this idea, although I would still give the "last shot" of this particular war to the SI if they're a thing. It could start with intensified attacks on Sabbat targets by the Assamites, some empowered by excessively powerful rituals as Ur-Shulgi knows shit about subtlety or keeping from rising stakes.

                      But I do think this should be the beginning of the actual Gehenna, whatever it means. The last time we had a sudden bloodshed of Kindred an ante arose in Bangladesh. Why not have the old plot of a Methuselah sleeping in a hidden alcove be played simultaneously all over the place?

                      That can be done in several ways, and we can have a split in the remaining Sabbat based on preferred targets and chosen strategies, something that don't even need to be an actual schism, but instead different flavors of Sabbat at different fronts.

                      One thing I always found lacking in V5 is that now would be the time to start writing down some antes more explicitly and their shenanigans, along with any faction under their respective wings.


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                      • I little while ago, I considered writing a post about how I would have done the Gehanna War/Sabbat Civil War (but then just kind of didn't, because I'm lazy). My idea takes a few different points touched on by people on this current page of the thread.

                        The idea is that the Sabbat Civil War happens, but it's an ongoing thing and by no means decisive. The point of presenting a metaplot change in a game is to make a "game state" that provides plenty of story opportunities. So having either a Civil War or Gehenna Crusade happen "off-screen" is just a mistake all around. It should all be happening RIGHT NOW, whenever "now" happens to be. A status quo based on persistent conflict. Somewhere between total war and cold war, because there's too many sides, too much ambiguity over alliances, and precious little information to go on.

                        My idea says that the Sabbat fragments. It doesn't dissolve, that would be little better than what V5 presents now. It fragments. All the old factions within the Sword of Caine are still around, they've just turned into their own mini-Sabbat sects. All claiming to be the True Sabbat. The Black Hand, the Inquisition, the Loyalists, the Ultra-Conservatives, the Panders, etc. The tension between them that has built over centuries boils over, and now they're all at each other's throats.

                        Sometimes. The way you make it stable anarchy is to make the conflicts wax and wane. After initial attempts to wipe out their rivals, the factions (or more likely the individual instances thereof in any given locale) have found that just destroying each other isn't as easy as they thought. Crusades declared against opposing Sabbat sects falter, lose momentum, and are pushed back. While in some corners of the world Sabbat packs need to become mobile (as V5 intended it), others dig in and try to rebuild power bases.

                        None of this means the Sabbat, as a collective, aren't also fighting their traditional enemies. Indeed, it creates instances where those Sabbat sects who are formally at war can make and break alliances, in order to fight, say, the Camarilla.

                        Large numbers of Sabbat, across faction lines, becomes embroiled in a "Gehenna Crusade". Not a single "let's go to the Middle East and fight a final war for all the marbles" deal, but a series of battles fought literally everywhere on the globe. (Yes, even Antarctica). Various groups of Sabbat, through means unknown and deliberately left mysterious, discover where the agents or assets of Antedeluvians are hiding. Often, they need to do a lot of investigative work to follow trails between hotspots, because the Antes aren't going to make this easy. Many times, the results are them fighting battles against ancient vampires that serve the Antes. (This would serve the double purpose of explaining the Beckoning, except with Elders being called to many different places or being made to fight and/or die where they are. They aren't just being called to the Middle East for undefined fighting, as if the Middle East is a Bermuda Triangle spatially separate from "The Real World" that the PCs exist in.). You can even have it happen in the heart of locations normally unused in the Jyhad, like in Wan Quei held Asia, or Ravnos controlled India, or deep in Drowned Legacies dominated South America. Or it can be right in the PCs's own backyard.

                        Basically, use the Gehenna Crusade as an actual plot device to get PCs involved. And because it's an asynchronous conflict spanning the globe, it can be drawn out however long it needs to be for setting reasons. It's probably been happening for over ten years, with seemingly no sign of slowing down. Rather than a background element that comes and goes, with no involvement from the PCs.

                        Another idea I had was to make the Vaulderie more unreliable. Vinculum bonds kept the Sabbat together in spite of its internal pressures for centuries. To allow it to fragment, you'd need to find a way to weaken it. The easy way is to just proliferate the canonical ritual that breaks Vinculum bonds. Whole swathes of Sabbat learn the ritual to selectively sever connections with factions they despise, so they may reaffirm bonds of their own choosing.

                        I imagine groups like Clan Lasombra would have done it in an attempt to acquire more freedom of activity, only for many of their Clanmates to use the opportunity to abandon the Sabbat entirely and flee to the Camarilla. With those remaining loyal to, if not the Sabbat as a united sect then "Sabbat-ism", being outraged at such a betrayal. The Friends of Night has fractured, now Cohorts of Night engage in literal shadow wars against one another.

                        The breaking of Vinculum bonds allows other groups to defect from "Sabbat-ism", as well, as constant infighting and ongoing Gehenna Crusades that offer no end in sight leave many disillusioned with the Sword(s) of Caine. In other cases, as the fighting intensifies in places, Sabbat groups churn through mass embraces at an alarming pace. Until whole packs are operating with little or no personal understanding of what the Sabbat is or why their wars matter. Because entire generations of "Full Sabbat" have been lost, and their knowledge wasn't passed down. Whole cells of Sabbat vampires are left in cities, unmoored from even the fragments of the sect they nominally owe allegiance to by writ of descent. They didn't even need to have bonds broken with Sabbat outside of their packs, because they had few to begin with by that point. So for these neonates, there's little tying them to "Sabbat-ism", allowing them to filter out into sects like the Anarchs or the Camarilla.

                        There might be more "Sabbat" vampires than ever before, but they're all over the place.

                        Again, none of this to say that the Sabbat has lost any of its complexity. The factions still exist, and many hold strong. They still, on occasion, even work together. But more than before, it's clenched-teeth cooperation. They all identify as Sabbat, but increasingly deny that classification to their rivals, except where it's convenient in the moment. Divided as they are, they're allowed to become more extreme and more different. Their differences start to become more pronounced. They start to become effectively different cultures. All with their own preoccupations, in addition to smacking the "False Sabbat" around.

                        It's a scheme that increases the complexity and texture of the Sabbat, rather than flattening them. It preserves what made the Sabbat interesting, but also exaggerates it. It's the same Sabbat, only MORE.


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                        • Addendum to the above:
                          If anything, under my scheme, there are MORE factions in the Sabbat.

                          Since the Inquisition cannot just storm into a Sabbat domain and demand compliance - because the Inquisition is in some state of war with all other Sabbat - their ability to police Infernalism and other prescribed practices is diminished. Practitioners of Dark Thaumaturgy and adherents to the Path of Evil Revelations - long in hiding after the wide purges of the 90s - flourish anew. Vampires turn to such forbidden arts and crooked deals to gain power in a age of uncertainty and constant conflict.

                          You can easily have the V1/V2 state of affairs, where roving bands of Satanist Sabbat cause mayhem for the hell of it. Under my scheme, 1st Edition lives again, without giving up everything invented later.

                          How's THAT for bringing VtM back to its roots?

                          Obviously, the Inquisition isn't going to stand for this. It's why they're at war with everyone. Because they (often correctly) see Infernalism everywhere, having corrupted other factions. They have to hunt these diabolists down. But they no longer have the recognized authority to force compliance. They have to engage both more militantly and more subtly, using both fire and diplomacy (such as is possible for the Sabbat) to accomplish their goals.


                          Another new faction(s) are the multiple branches of the Black Hand. With the heavy infiltration by both the Web of Knives and the True Black Hand coming to light, the Sabbat Black Hand has to go to ground. Members disappearing, sometimes for years. Quietly attempting a purge of traitorous elements. Except, just as the Inquisition declared war on the Black Hand out of distrust, cells of Black Hand members start to distrust each other. Who is loyal to the ideals of the Black Hand, and who's a traitor?

                          Knowing you can only possibly trust someone you've trained yourself, cells of Black Hand operatives start embracing and training new clutches of warriors, and indoctrinating them in their own ways. Developing whole new and distinct cultures, so as to cleanly identify pretenders or enemies. New secret codes and signs, new rituals, new shibboleths. A conscious attempt to make different branches of the Black Hand distinct and identifiable, so they cannot be infiltrated by rivals. Either within the Black Hand, the True Black Hand, the Web of Knives, the Antedeluvians, Infernalists, or other groups.
                          Last edited by Bluecho; 11-22-2021, 05:41 AM.


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                          • Originally posted by Bluecho View Post
                            I little while ago, I considered writing a post about how I would have done the Gehanna War/Sabbat Civil War (but then just kind of didn't, because I'm lazy). My idea takes a few different points touched on by people on this current page of the thread.

                            The idea is that the Sabbat Civil War happens, but it's an ongoing thing and by no means decisive. The point of presenting a metaplot change in a game is to make a "game state" that provides plenty of story opportunities. So having either a Civil War or Gehenna Crusade happen "off-screen" is just a mistake all around. It should all be happening RIGHT NOW, whenever "now" happens to be. A status quo based on persistent conflict. Somewhere between total war and cold war, because there's too many sides, too much ambiguity over alliances, and precious little information to go on.

                            My idea says that the Sabbat fragments. It doesn't dissolve, that would be little better than what V5 presents now. It fragments. All the old factions within the Sword of Caine are still around, they've just turned into their own mini-Sabbat sects. All claiming to be the True Sabbat. The Black Hand, the Inquisition, the Loyalists, the Ultra-Conservatives, the Panders, etc. The tension between them that has built over centuries boils over, and now they're all at each other's throats.

                            Sometimes. The way you make it stable anarchy is to make the conflicts wax and wane. After initial attempts to wipe out their rivals, the factions (or more likely the individual instances thereof in any given locale) have found that just destroying each other isn't as easy as they thought. Crusades declared against opposing Sabbat sects falter, lose momentum, and are pushed back. While in some corners of the world Sabbat packs need to become mobile (as V5 intended it), others dig in and try to rebuild power bases.

                            None of this means the Sabbat, as a collective, aren't also fighting their traditional enemies. Indeed, it creates instances where those Sabbat sects who are formally at war can make and break alliances, in order to fight, say, the Camarilla.

                            Large numbers of Sabbat, across faction lines, becomes embroiled in a "Gehenna Crusade". Not a single "let's go to the Middle East and fight a final war for all the marbles" deal, but a series of battles fought literally everywhere on the globe. (Yes, even Antarctica). Various groups of Sabbat, through means unknown and deliberately left mysterious, discover where the agents or assets of Antedeluvians are hiding. Often, they need to do a lot of investigative work to follow trails between hotspots, because the Antes aren't going to make this easy. Many times, the results are them fighting battles against ancient vampires that serve the Antes. (This would serve the double purpose of explaining the Beckoning, except with Elders being called to many different places or being made to fight and/or die where they are. They aren't just being called to the Middle East for undefined fighting, as if the Middle East is a Bermuda Triangle spatially separate from "The Real World" that the PCs exist in.). You can even have it happen in the heart of locations normally unused in the Jyhad, like in Wan Quei held Asia, or Ravnos controlled India, or deep in Drowned Legacies dominated South America. Or it can be right in the PCs's own backyard.

                            Basically, use the Gehenna Crusade as an actual plot device to get PCs involved. And because it's an asynchronous conflict spanning the globe, it can be drawn out however long it needs to be for setting reasons. It's probably been happening for over ten years, with seemingly no sign of slowing down. Rather than a background element that comes and goes, with no involvement from the PCs.

                            Another idea I had was to make the Vaulderie more unreliable. Vinculum bonds kept the Sabbat together in spite of its internal pressures for centuries. To allow it to fragment, you'd need to find a way to weaken it. The easy way is to just proliferate the canonical ritual that breaks Vinculum bonds. Whole swathes of Sabbat learn the ritual to selectively sever connections with factions they despise, so they may reaffirm bonds of their own choosing.

                            I imagine groups like Clan Lasombra would have done it in an attempt to acquire more freedom of activity, only for many of their Clanmates to use the opportunity to abandon the Sabbat entirely and flee to the Camarilla. With those remaining loyal to, if not the Sabbat as a united sect then "Sabbat-ism", being outraged at such a betrayal. The Friends of Night has fractured, now Cohorts of Night engage in literal shadow wars against one another.

                            The breaking of Vinculum bonds allows other groups to defect from "Sabbat-ism", as well, as constant infighting and ongoing Gehenna Crusades that offer no end in sight leave many disillusioned with the Sword(s) of Caine. In other cases, as the fighting intensifies in places, Sabbat groups churn through mass embraces at an alarming pace. Until whole packs are operating with little or no personal understanding of what the Sabbat is or why their wars matter. Because entire generations of "Full Sabbat" have been lost, and their knowledge wasn't passed down. Whole cells of Sabbat vampires are left in cities, unmoored from even the fragments of the sect they nominally owe allegiance to by writ of descent. They didn't even need to have bonds broken with Sabbat outside of their packs, because they had few to begin with by that point. So for these neonates, there's little tying them to "Sabbat-ism", allowing them to filter out into sects like the Anarchs or the Camarilla.

                            There might be more "Sabbat" vampires than ever before, but they're all over the place.

                            Again, none of this to say that the Sabbat has lost any of its complexity. The factions still exist, and many hold strong. They still, on occasion, even work together. But more than before, it's clenched-teeth cooperation. They all identify as Sabbat, but increasingly deny that classification to their rivals, except where it's convenient in the moment. Divided as they are, they're allowed to become more extreme and more different. Their differences start to become more pronounced. They start to become effectively different cultures. All with their own preoccupations, in addition to smacking the "False Sabbat" around.

                            It's a scheme that increases the complexity and texture of the Sabbat, rather than flattening them. It preserves what made the Sabbat interesting, but also exaggerates it. It's the same Sabbat, only MORE.
                            Couldn't the Withering have made Vinculi more unreliable in general? Every month, you roll, and on a 1 they may shatter entirely, perhaps?

                            It sure would increase the paranoia if you never know who's going to be free of their ties to you, even as you're still tied to them.


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                            • I think this is already material for another thread, how we could have done the Gehenna War and, overall, the new metaplot, in a way better anchored in the style and lore of V20.

                              Questions to answer, and I have my take on them:

                              1 - What happened to the Withering?

                              2 - How to rework properly the Week of Nightmares?

                              3 - What are the Antes and Methuselah doing now?

                              4 - How screwed is Old-style Masquerade?

                              5 - What happened to the Sabbat factions?

                              6 - How the Family Reunion and Lasombra Defection played out?

                              7 - What are the many groups doing about the above?

                              8 - How or when does the Beckoning works, and when it doesn't?


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                              • Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
                                I think this is already material for another thread, how we could have done the Gehenna War and, overall, the new metaplot, in a way better anchored in the style and lore of V20.

                                Questions to answer, and I have my take on them:

                                1 - What happened to the Withering?

                                2 - How to rework properly the Week of Nightmares?

                                3 - What are the Antes and Methuselah doing now?

                                4 - How screwed is Old-style Masquerade?

                                5 - What happened to the Sabbat factions?

                                6 - How the Family Reunion and Lasombra Defection played out?

                                7 - What are the many groups doing about the above?

                                8 - How or when does the Beckoning works, and when it doesn't?
                                1) leave it as a mystery, it may return, it may not.

                                2) The Ante rose, got pulled into the Umbra by the KJ and/or Beast Courts via... terrifying ritual something...then the beat down via everyone who can step sideways and bring serious juju commences, Spirit Nukes, Bodshivitas, Umbrood of all types, the. 'leakage' gives pretty much the entire world nightmares of the war going on in the Umbra, and the death throws of the Ante plunges the lot into a Nihil, with the backlash hitting the Clan.

                                3) Antes: wanting none of what was just dished out, so sending out agents and playing Jyhad in a way they haven't done since at least the Long Night.

                                4) Very, and also not really, it is know something is going on, but the Technocratic Union, Glass Walkers etc can keep a lid on it for now, and will do, for their own reasons.

                                5) not sure how to rescue that one.

                                6) family reunion, make it less 'oops we all have the same clan now lolz' and more a coup d'etat by returned Cappie Meths, Harbingers and abused underlings, make the Hecata a sect and move on.

                                7) tbd

                                8) mystery and fiat, like tbe withering.

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