City that Care Forgot
The Sabbat is a loose sect of vampires that believes Cainites should accept their vampiric nature and subjugate humanity as the inferior species. Also known as the Sword of Caine, the sect has the stated goal of destroying the Antediluvians, who they believe are the masterminds behind the Camarilla and the Jyhad.
The Sabbat is at best ironic, at worst dangerously hypocritical. It is composed of both the oldest and the youngest vampires in the world, who rejoice in their damnation while fearing for their souls, and fight against the Antediluvians, the elders, and their own pack members.
The Sabbat is represented most appropriately by its most common and fervent follower: the pack member. It’s such a pity, then, that there is no one archetypal pack member to be found anywhere in the Sabbat’s ranks. Whatever one pack member chooses to believe in, there is another who postulates the exact opposite. Whatever style of appearance one pack member adopts, there is another who dresses provocatively in opposing fashion. For each new shovelhead brought into the fold, there is an elder shepherding him towards a grisly doom.
The Purchase Pact and the Code of Milan
The two most important documents of the Sabbat, which brought an end to the First and Second Sabbat Civil Wars, respectively. The Purchase Pact was a simple non-aggression treaty observed by the Sabbat of the early 1800s, which supposedly ended the infighting that was masked by the American Revolutionary War. It was a direct result of the Camarilla pushing on the new-born United States, a coup which they were very successful at. In response, the Regent of the period, Gorchist, and several noted Sabbat leaders signed the Purchase Pact (named for the Louisiana Purchase), the purpose of which was to once again curtail the aggressiveness of the Sabbat against its own members and redirect them against the Camarilla and the Antediluvians.
The Code of Milan was created to be the modern constitution of the Sabbat, the general gist of which is to foment peace and mutual aid among all members of the Sabbat. It also deals with the punishment of cowards and traitors (by blood hunt and execution), uphold traditions of brotherhood and hospitality, and establish the hierarchy of the Sabbat from the Regent on downwards (the Regent will be elected by the Council of Prisci; all other positions may be obtained with the ritus of monomacy). A plethora of Cardinals, Arcbhbishops, and witnesses observed the signing of the Code, making it the single most unified effort the Sabbat has ever undertaken.
Prior to the Convention of Thorns, the Sabbat is believed to have its roots in a death-cult popular among Cainites of central and southern Europe. The feudal system in force during this period was extremely popular among the Tzimisce, who regarded themselves as lords and nobles of eastern Europe, and the Lasombra, puppetmasters who infiltrated the burgeoning Catholic Church.
The Sabbat was founded in 1493, largely in reaction to the Convention of Thorns which founded the Camarilla. They are the remnants of the Anarch Revolt of the time. Unlike the Camarilla, however, which declared all vampires automatically members, those who joined the Sabbat did so at a much slower pace, due to inefficient communication and, frankly, suspicion of the Anarchs. The Sabbat didn’t gain significant power until several decades later. Worthies of the period include Moncada, a Lasombra elder, and Vykos, a respected, if radical, Tzimisce scholar.
The first simmerings of the First Sabbat Civil War began several years before the American Revolutionary War. Sabbat elders (typically Spanish-born Lasombra) who had had a presence in North America since the time it was first colonized by Europeans faced encroaching packs of newly-immigrant and newly-Embraced neonates of the sect (a great number of which were Tzimisce), who desired more space and more freedom. The rhetoric used by these neonates is remarkably similar to the same speeches given by American revolutionaries during the period. It is small wonder, then, that when the soon-to-be United States declared its independence from British rule, the young Sabbat were right alongside them.
The American Revolutionary War was used as extremely effective cover for the raids and counter-raids launched by the fractious Sabbat. Many Tzimisce packs adopted American Indian costumes, under the guise of which they would raid and burn elders’ havens, and all the blame would fall on nearby tribes, who would be forced steadily westward from that point on. The Lasombra, in turn, wielded the British “lobster backs” in response to these raids, rounding up and incarcerating the herds of the less-influential Tzimisce, attacking their logistics and support where and when they could. The younger Sabbat were driven from the cities and often took refuge among the very same Native American tribes which suffered in their place.
After the mortal American Revolutionary War came to an end with the formal creation of the United States of America and the withdrawal of British military influence, there was still sparring going on between the eastern/urban Sabbat elders and the western/rural Sabbat neonates. The Camarilla took this oppurtunity to insinuate itself in several East-Coast cities, namely Washington, D.C., the new captiol of the United States, New York, Atlanta, and other townships. From here they launched surgical attacks against both sides of the Tzimisce/Lasombra divide.
It took another few years for the Sabbat to become aware that the newest firebombing of an elder’s haven was not, in fact, undertaken by unruly neonates. The First Sabbat Civil War came to a grinding halt as each side scrambled to uncover and eliminate Camarilla agents in their own cities. It was at this point that Regent Gorchist and Bistri Radu Szantovitch stepped in and drew up the Purchase Pact, so named for a similar document – the Louisiana Purchase between the U.S. and France. The Purchase Pact put an end to all overt antagonism between the elders and their childer, and allowed the Sabbat to focus on driving out the Camarilla influence. While they failed in that short-term goal, the Sabbat still maintained an extremely strong presence up and down the East Coast and in many locations across the entire developing United States.
The Second Sabbat Civil War came as a direct result of the influence the Camarilla seized from the First Sabbat Civil War. With the Camarilla on their very doorsteps, for a time the Sabbat focused their attentions on destroying the now-entrenched Camarilla positions. After several decades of failing at this task, the Tzimisce, Lasombra, and their childer began sniping at each other once more, each blaming the other for the lack of progress against the foe.
By this time, the Sabbat’s influence was largely limited to the Northern Territories (i.e., Canada, which had a stronger Tzimisce presence) and the Southern Territories (i.e., Mexico, where the Lasombra exercised more power). For decades, the Lasombra and Tzimisce had been antagonizing one another, including isolated raids against one anothers’ holdings. Things came to a head in the 1910s, which, coincidentily enough, was also the time frame for the First World War. With the world’s attention focused on Europe, the two Clans gathered their forces together and threw them en masse against their rival Clan. This period in time saw the first real application of the “mass Embrace” tactic used by the Sabbat into the Modern Nights. Many ancillae of the Sabbat can trace their Embrace back to this time.
Those grunts who survived until 1933 saw the composition of the Code of Milan, which forbade any Sabbat from acting against another Sabbat from that night onwards. Like its predecessor the Purchase Pact, the Code of Milan ended the official war between the Lasombra and the Tzimisce.