Hey, this is a transcript of last night's session (cleaned up a bit) where the PCs finally finished a lengthy investigation of the conspiracies going on in New York City. It finally led them to discovering one of the long-running NPCs in the game and their mentor was a member of the True Hand.

Also, his offering to induct them.

My version is a bit different from the canonical one in V20 or the other but I felt it worked well as a discussion of conspiracies among the undead and thought I would share it.

Baron is an 8th generation Follower of Set [pretending to be Ventrue] on the Path of Caine. He's a (low-ranking) member of the True Black Hand.

Anita is a 10th generation Brujah

Peter is a 9th generation Follower of Set [pretending to be Brujah] and Baron's childe.

Lucita (not that one) is a 10th generation Tzimisce who defected from her clan to pretend to be a Toreador among the Camarilla.

Lots of Alternate Identities in this group.


Baron took a deep breath, prepared himself a bottle of animal blood then sat down. "This could take awhile."

Peter stared at him. "The best stories always do."

Baron frowned. "The True Hand is something of a secretive cult of Kindred, I say that as a member, which is not very large and perhaps it would be better to say is more influential than its numbers suggest but also not something which would be able to stand against the weight of the rest of Kindred Society. There are perhaps a hundred members of us world-wide and maybe five times as many affiliates. The True Hand is unlike most sects of vampirism in that we actually go out of our way to make friends even if our alliances are on the perverse side."

"Only a hundred?" Anita said.

Baron said, "Any good conspiracy is either influential, large, or secret. Pick two."

Peter chuckled.

Baron continued. "The organization was founded by a death-cult of mages in India circa 1000 B.C. which sought the secrets of death Kindred represented but were grossly disappointed by their findings. Still, they sought to probe the mysteries of Gehenna and found them."

Peter said, "Is it just me or do a lot of mages end up becoming vampires?"

Baron said, "The Book of Nod said Lilith was the first mage, taught the secrets of God by Lucifer who then taught them to Caine."

Peter said, "Yeah and I believe in the fossil record."

"Myths have a reality of their own." Baron shrugged. "Anyway, these death mages used astral projection to visit the spirit representation of the Second City, they found something akin to it and in it what seemed to be the bodies of four Antedeluvians. I cannot say if they are the ghostly representations of four dead ones or the genuine ordeal or even a product of their minds. Nevertheless, they made contact with these Aralu and recieved a strange commandment."

"Which was?" Peter asked.

"PROTECT MORTALS," Baron intoned.

Everyone stared at the Setite blankly.

Baron looked almost ashamed of it. "I do not say this in the way of a Humanitas vampire might because if you are to understand anything about the Black Hand, they are not humane. Only the Tzimisce and Followers of Set really rival them in their dedication to being something other than the humans they were born as. They, however, embraced (if you'll pardon the phrase) an order in the context of being their brother's keeper as Caine so mocked God's question. They view humanity the same way Caine viewed his sheep and Jesus did if you believe some theories."

"Direly important but ultimately subservient," Peter said. "The shepherd loves the lamb but will still sheer and slaughter him."

"Precisely," Baron replied. "The True Hand plays the board better than the Camarilla's feuding clans and most Sabbat Elders because they play it together, which is rare enough in the Jyhad to be noticeable. They helped speed along the Convention of Thorns, helped the Second Anarchs develop their religion so the irony of the Sabbat became an actual cult, and have generally kept those two at their throats for centuries out of the belief it will make it better for humanity to not have to deal with vampire overlords. I understand some current projects are involved in moving the Camarilla to help the environment so it does not die on humanity in a couple of centuries."

Lucita said, "That's a lot of claims."

Baron said, "It's less than you might think."

Lucita said, "How so?"

Baron said, "Kindred society isn't exactly so large that a man can't attend almost all significant events in the history of their society if they live long enough. One man at the Convention of Thorns influences them."

Anita said, "You're not exactly talking your group up."

"I respect the schemer who rolls with history and directs it like a bucking horse than he who claims the horse moves by his will alone," Baron replied. "The True Hand is not invincible but has achieved some noticeable successes over the centuries. Also, some dizzying failures. In addition to the above incidents, they away spirited the Salubri from the Tremere for centuries. They helped a few of the Cappadochians survive in the Underworld. They even have helped protect the Inconnu so the eldest of vampires may have peace. They try to protect torporous methusaleh should they warrant it even as they have also been known to destroy those who prove to insane or powerful to adapt to the new order."

"Anybody we know?" Anita said.

Baron said, "Probably not. If you knew of them, then we wouldn't exactly be a secret society, would we?"

Peter said, "And the failures?"

Baron's expression darkened. "Their worst failure is the fact the Sabbat has become a diablerie-obsessed gang of children, utterly spitting on their idea of a higher kindred morality. The Tzimisce have become so hopelessly corrupted by transvampirism they are all seemingly insane to some degree in similar to Malkav's get. They could not calm the insanity of Ravnos when they helped awaken him or protect Lasombra. One of their own acts also resulted in the Brujah ceasing to become the clan of scholars."

Lucita nodded at the description of the Tzimisce.

Peter said, "You mean Carthage? Why would they destroy Carthage?"

Baron ignored the question as if his next words would explain all. "The True Hand's primary activity these days are Kindred archaelogy, the covert spread of thaumaturgy, and demon-hunting. The latter occupies them more than you'd think. They arranged for the destruction of Carthage to help wipe out the Baali's central nest, covertly supported the Sabbat Inquisition, and eradicate those Kindred who become demon possessed. It is a war they have been less than successful at. Ironically, the organization has a reasonably friendly relationship with the Followers of Set and Assamites who both know a good deal more about the organization than most Kindred. To them, it is not any more strange or unusual than the Inconnu or Inner Council."

Anita said, "So, with the Setites and Assamites joining the Camarilla, the Black Hand is about to become far more public."

Baron said, "Or retreat to the shadows much deeper. The Baali have been very active lately and something has terrified two of the most ancient enemies of Cainites to band together to come to this city in the name of peace."