Sunday, July 2, 2017

Sabbat Pack Creation: Traits and Options

In the previous post I talked about the basic rules for the creation of the Sabbat Pack. In this post, I want to look at the individual components that make up the Pack, and the various options available for them. Following the previous ideas, you choose which general kind of Pack you want to be part of, then pick and choose from the Trait. Each has a "default" value for each Trait, based on the type of Pack. There are then various PRO's and CON's that can be choosen to further customize each Trait, hopefully making each Pack unique and distinctive.

Vespers/Twilight
Territory: Generally, in the least desirable areas for Cainites to live, such the suburbs, residential communities, small outlying town, etc. Base Hunting difficulty is 8 (6 for members)
          PRO: Your territory is in a far more central and prestigious location, such as Downtown or a tourist-friendly area known for its vice. Base difficulty of 6 (4 for members)
          CON: You have no claimed territory, and live on the fringes of Sabbat society. Or, your territory, such as it is, is surrounded and threatened by Lupines, the Camarilla, or others. Hunting difficulty is 10 (8 for members).
Size: On average, 5-7 members, none more powerful than a typical neonate..
PRO: You’re pack is unusually large for its age (8-10 members), or one of its members is particularly powerful (ancilla).
CON: 3 Members

Defenses: You have only the most basic methods of protecting your territory, with only a small number of mortals bribed or conditioned to keep an eye out for anything unusual happening. You often need to rely on pack members actively patrolling your territory to keep things safe.
          PRO:  You have extensive contacts among one class of mortals (police, gang members, neighbors, etc), who will alert you to not only strangers in the area, but any unusual legal events.
          CON: You are on your own to defend your territory.
Communal Haven: Your temple is a simple structure, often nothing more than the basement in a house or office building.  It has only one or two rooms, and everyone needs to share space. Through means fair or foul, you “own” it, helping to keep curious mortals away.
          PRO: You’re Haven is far larger than normal, providing space for rituals and meetings, private havens for pack members, a small armory or cell to keep prey or prisoners, etc.
          CON: It’s barely fit to be called a Haven. It’s an abandoned or empty building, and strange comings and goings attract attention. There’s no power or water, and little in the way of space or protection.
Internal Politics: Your pack is united, with everyone following either one particular Path of Enlightenment or Humanity.
          PRO: The entire pack follows either a single Path or Humanity.
          CON: Many go their own way, following two or three Paths.

Retainers: Typical Vespers lack the age and authority to have ghouls, and as such you must make do with the handful of mortals you’ve successfully bribed or dominated into doing your work.
          PRO: Either through a service in the past or the prestige of a particular pack member, the Archbishop has granted the pack permission to create a small number of ghouls, generally around 3 or so. Or, you have gained direct influence over a group of mortals (say, a gang), with whom you can direct with relative impunity.
          CON: The characters are on their own, with no one to defend them during the day or carry out their desires.
Knowledge: You have only the most basic access to modern information and little in the way of ancient lore. Your libraries and other resources limit you to 2 in Abilities, and a measly 1 in any of the Lore or Occult skills.
          PRO:  You have access and some influence with a decent University, giving you up to a 4 in Abilities. Or, you have managed to accumulate a decent library, allowing up to a 3 in the Lore and Occult skills.
          CON: Due to location and lack or resources, you have nothing but your own knowledge to guide you, and what can be begged from allies.

Herd: You have not yet been granted permission to accumulate a Herd, and even if you had, you haven’t even started the process of acquiring such a resource.
          PRO:  While not authorized, you have drawn a small band of desperate mortals to you, providing the pack with an effective Herd of 2.

Equipment: Basic clothing, a few vehicles, and common consumer gear, so long as it’s relatively cheap. Your arsenal, such as it is, contains of knives and machetes, light pistols and revolvers, and maybe a shotgun.
          PRO: Either through purchase, gifts, or clever theft, you’ve accumulated a decent amount of gear for your members. New and decent clothing, well maintained vehicles enough for the entire pack, and weapons that include automatic weapons and some explosives.
          CON: The clothes on your back, a beat up van or car the whole pack can pile into, and a few knives is all you can muster.

Resources: Money is scarce, and often comes from stealing from the mortals the pack members feed on. Effectively similar to a Resources of 1.
          PRO:  Either through bolder crimes by members, or influence over local gangs or businesses (often in the form of “protection”), the pack has an effective Resource of 2.
          CON: Perhaps their territory is truly destitute, or the Pack just can’t seem to care about mortal money. Effective Resources start at 0.

Contacts: A few people plugged into the wider world occasionally talk to members. The Pack starts off with effectively a 2 in Contacts.
          PRO: With an unusual focus on mortals, or just lucky members, the Pack has a wide net of friends. Effectively a 4 in Contacts.
          CON: Who are you? There is no one in a position to feed the Pack information.
Status: While young, any Pack treated as a Vespers will at least be made up of True Sabbat. Typical members effectively have a Sabbat Status of 1, while leaders (Ductus or Priest) will have Sabbat Status of 2.
          PRO:  You’ve already accomplished something remarkable, or your scions of a well-respected pack. Normal members have a Status of 2 with leaders at 3.  One of them will likely serve the city as a Bishop or a Templar.
          CON: You’re True Sabbat, but barely. You are despised and ignore by your brethren, with typical members having a Status of 0, and the leaders only grudgingly acknowledged with a 1.

Relationships: You have few allies, but fewer enemies. You have a friendly relationship with a Compline Pack, but are rivals with a fellow Vespers, or a group of comparable power.
          PRO: You are well liked and well respected in the city, able to count at least one Compline pack and two Vesper packs as your friends. Few would seek to antagonize you unnecessarily.
          CON: You stand alone, with none to call for aid. Of course, that only makes you a target, giving you either two Vesper packs as rivals, or a Compline.

Obligations: You need to secure your territory, not only in your name, but in the name of the Sabbat as a whole. In addition, your pack is often called upon for the drudge work of security for meetings or to gather vessels for celebrations.
          PRO:  Perhaps you’ve managed to impress the Archbishop, but the drudgery of “ghoul” work is beneath you. Instead you focus on maintaining the Silence for the whole city, or something similarly significant.
          CON: Your low status forces you to be the errand boys throughout the city, and few care if this leaves your territory open to attack from others.

Compline/Night
Territory: Often control the most dynamic and best areas of the city. Standard hunting difficulty of 6 (4 for members).
          PRO:  Your territory is not only the best in the city, but a famous one drawing mortals from around the world. Base difficulty of 4 (2 for members)
          CON: Time has passed the Pack by, or their hopes never materialized. Their territory is similar to a Vespers. Hunting difficulty of 8 (6 for members)

Size: Typically have about 10-15 members, at least half of whom are equivalent to an ancilla.
PRO: about 20-30 members.
CON: maybe something bad has gone down recently, but the Pack only has 5-7 members left.

Defenses: Extensive ties through blood binding, bribes, and other influence keeps them well informed of not only unusual visitors of any type, but also anything else unusual happening.
          PRO: Not only will your extensive networks keep the Pack informed, but they will act immediately to counter or drive off any perceived threat. Ex: the local police will arrest the hunter in the area of their own volition.
          CON: Similar to a Vespers.
Communal Haven: Large and well appointed. Each member has their own private room, with additional guest rooms for high ranking and respected visitors. In addition, there are special areas for rituals, meetings, “pens” for vessels and secure prisons for vampires. And of course, the extensive and well-fortified armory.

Internal Politics: As the Pack increases in size and age, rifts start to form, with at least three different Paths being followed. Though, such conflicts tend to be kept in check for the greater good.
          PRO: The pack as a whole still follows the same Path (or Humanity), keeping the group unified.
          CON: Factionalization has taken root, with leaders constantly battling for the “right” way to handle crisis.

Retainers: A dozen or so ghouls work directly for the Pack, only a few of which have been so misshapen by torture and vicissitude that they can’t show their faces among mortals. In addition, the Pack has direct influence over a street gang or the like to carry out their whims as desired.
          PRO: The Retainers are unusually well trained and disciplined, perhaps being former military or police. Or, they have an unusually large number of Retainers.

          CON: Only a few ghouls work for the Pack, and the mortals (if any) who follow them are weak and scattered.

Knowledge: Often has direct connections with and influence over a University, or the like, allowing Abilities up to 4. In addition, they have spent significant time learning of the world, with Lore and Occult up to 3.
          PRO:  As above, but something is extraordinary. Perhaps they have a top University, allowing many Abilities up to 5. Or, they have access to amazing trainers, allowing combat skills up to 5. Or, they have managed to accumulate one the finest occult libraries in the World—Lore and Occult up to 4.
          CON: Similar to a Vespers.

Herd:  Either through luck or hard work, they have created an ideal world for Cainites. They effectively have a 3 in Herd for its members.
          PRO: A veritable paradise. Effective Herd of 5.
          CON: Maybe it’s a lack of interest, or a string of unfortunate events. They have no Herd.

Equipment: Often the best equipped of all the Packs. New, expensive and fashionable clothing, top end electronics and other goods. Assault weapons, sub-machine guns, explosives, well crafted swords—they are well equipped to commit carnage.
          PRO: In addition to the above, they have been able to get even more exotic weapons. Missile launchers, silver swords and bullets, or rare mystical blades that inflict aggravated damage to supernaturals.
          CON: Only the most basic and commercially available gear is available to members.

Resources: Through crime, legal investments, or other means, the Pack is well off. Generally the equivalent of Resources 4.
          PRO: The are among the wealthiest Cainites in the Sabbat with an effective Resources of 5, if not higher.
          CON: Times are tough all around. Resource equivalent is merely a 2.

Contacts: They know, or are known by, almost everyone who is worth knowing. Effective Contacts of 5.
          PRO: Not only do they have contacts, but unusual for the Sabbat, they’ve built connections with powerful mortals, giving them an effective Ally rating of 5.
          CON: They know a few, but not many. Contacts of 2.

Status: As the one of, if not THE, most important Packs in a given area, their word carries weight. Typical members have a status of 2, and the leaders a status of 3. Members often serve as Bishops or Templars.
          PRO: Unusually well regarded. Typical status is a 3, with leaders having a 4. Disregarding tradition, the Archbishop of the area is a member, at the very least.
          CON: Perhaps something has embarrassed the Pack lately, but they are less regarded than they should. Typical members have a Status of 1, with the leaders having a 2.

Relationships: As they gain in power and prestige, more rivals appear to challenge the Pack. They are rivals with another Compline or Nocturn Pack, and another Compline or two Vespers. Your allies are either another Compline and a Nocturn, and at least two Vespers look to you for guidance.
          PRO: Either through destruction or charm, they’ve limited their foes. Rivals are only another Compline or two Vespers.
          CON: Maybe they’ve made too many mistakes, or everyone thinks the Pack is coming after them. Either way, they have twice the normal amount of rivals and foes.

Obligations: While free from routine drudgery, much is expected of the pack. Perhaps they need to maintain city wide security, arrange financial support the Sect, or provide the City’s Communal Haven. In addition, they are expected to lead and host a number of rituals, and provide aid and sustenance to others in need. Members are often called away for special operations and missions.
          PRO: They’ve managed to pass off their obligations on others, or successfully “automate” the obligations (such as a providing a “charitable trust fund” for the city leaders to draw on as needed). Reduce their obligations.
          CON: Maybe it’s jealousy, or over-confidence, but the Pack has taken on almost more than they can handle. Perhaps they provide the city’s Communal Haven AND security for the entire City, or something similar. Pack members spend significant amount of their time “working.”

Nocturn/Midnight
Territory: They once claimed the most desirable, but time passes for us all. Their areas have either been gentrified past the point of usefulness, or decayed too far. Base difficulty of 8 (Pack members at 6)
PRO: Time is a flat circle, and what old is new again. Or, you’ve recently expanded your turf. Base difficulty of 6 (Pack members at 4)
CON: Things are getting bad, fast. Base difficulty of 10 (Pack members at 8)

Defenses: As their territory declines, so does their means of defending it. They have only a select number of mortals, often the few remnants of once powerful crime families, to aid in the defense of their territory.
PRO: You have retained enough ties to one class or mortals to keep you as well informed as possible, though they no longer have the clout to do anything about it.
CON: You are on your own.

Size: A typical Nocturn Pack has roughly 20-30 members, but many of them are called away on special assignments. At least a quarter of the members are effective Elders.
PRO: One of the largest Packs in the Sabbat, they have more members than most cities have vampires. 60-80 members
CON: 10-15 members still remain.

Communal Haven: Once glorious, time and lack of focus has allowed decay and rot to sink in. The underworld labyrinth you call home  is shrinking in on itself, and other things have taken up resident in the unused portions. While still large, it contains only the most basic comforts.
PRO: One of the largest and most glamourous havens on the continent, and perhaps the world.
CON: Something has forced you to move, and you’re communal haven is barely able to fit all of your members, let alone provide them with the comfort and security they need.

Internal Politics: Factionalization has taken root, and the leaders battle for the right way to proceed. Multiple Paths further divide the Pack.
PRO: Somehow the Pack has remained united. Maybe it’s due to a near fanatic following of one particular Path, or a charismatic Ductus has managed to tamp down on the factions.
CON: The Pack is on the edge, with only civil war or division being the answer.

Retainers: Large numbers of Vicissituded Ghouls--formerly human, animal, and plenty of others even their creators have forgotten the origin of--are ready to defend and fight for the Pack. There are others, so blood dependent and heavily Dominated as to be fanatically loyal, though no longer possessing anything resembling sanity.
PRO: A handful of select servants remain enough of their mortal selves to operate for the Pack during the day, and coordinate the actions of the monstrous army at the Packs command.
CON: Even their ghouls have turned against this Pack, and only a handful of desperate, insane monsters remain. And their true loyalty can only be guessed at.

Knowledge: Have little connection with mortal institutions (similar to Vespers), but have experienced much of the World--One Lore up to 5, the rest up to 4.
PRO:  Either their library has been built up over the centuries, or their old ties still exist. Similar to Compline.
CON: The library has been lost, or forgotten. Similar to Vespers.

Herd: Entire mortal institutions or families have served the Pack for as long as they can remember. Herd of 5.
CON: They’re old servants are falling away, Herd of 2.

Equipment: They have war ready material, but for the wrong war. Old weapons, some of which still work. Cars and other gear are at least 20 years old, and barely function.  They do have plenty of special weapons (silver bullets), though.
PRO: They have kept up with the times (similar to Compline).
CON: Such mundane things as cars and weapons no longer concern them. Similar to Vespers.

Resources: While their active endeavors have fallen by the wayside, the power of compounded interest keeps their wallets full. If only anyone understood what credit cards were. Assume every member has an effective resource of 3.
PRO:  Similar to Comline
CON: Similar to Vespers

Contacts: Most of the mortals (and their children) the Pack relied on have long since retired, been killed, or are in Prison. They have only a Contacts of 2, but those who have survived have prospered, and owe the Pack. Allies 5.
PRO: They’ve been able to keep abreast to the changing world, Contacts 5.
CON: No Allies to speak of, they have only a Contacts of 2.

Status: The are among the most well respected and feared Packs in all of the Sabbat. Members serve as Archbishops and Cardinals. Typical member has a 4, leaders have a 5. Though
PRO: Your Pack, for lack of a better word, “rules” the Sabbat. You count the Regent as a member. A “typical” member has at least a 5, possibly even a 6. Leaders even higher.
CON: Similar to a Compline.
Relationships: Many are desperate for an an association with such an illustrious Pack. Many more seek vengeance for past sins. At least one other Nocturn Pack and two Complines (plus assorted Vepsers) are enemies, while they have two Complines they can call friends.
PRO:  Even more seek your aid, and you have a handful of Vespers and an additional Compline as allies.
CON: You’re enemies gather, and you friends have proven false. Doubt the number of rivals, but only a single Compline and a Vesper or two dare stand with you.

Obligations: The Pack is expected to lead the Sabbat, and all the work that entails. Influencing mortals on a national scale, leading the charge against rival Sects and other enemies.  The vast majority of their time is spent tending to Sect business.
PRO: You’ve been able to work the system enough that dealing with other Pack’s messes takes up relatively little of your time.
CON: Perhaps your area is under constant assault, or the delicate balance between the packs is tipping. In either case, you are consumed with the needs of the Sect over your own.

Orthos/Dawn

Territory: Often in the ruined remains of ancient towns, or among the few wild and untamed places still left in the modern world. Mortals and other supernaturals give the area a wide berth. Base Hunting difficulty is 8 (6 for members)
          PRO: Your presence keeps other predators away, but you refrain from indulging in mortals affairs. As such, your area is surprisingly booming. Hunting Difficulty of 6 (4 for members)--though only a fool would hunt without your permission.
          CON: Your very presence has driven prey far from you--Hunting Difficulty of 10. Even for members.

Size: While once vast, the Pack has shrunk due to members leaving to form their own Packs, or attrition. 20-25 members, at least a quarter of whom are effectively Methuselehs.
PRO: Over the years, the Pack has retained the loyalty of many. Or, they just breed like rabbits. 50-60 members.
CON: There are the Eldests, and there are the few neonates left behind to care for them. The rest have fled. 10 or so members.

Defenses: Only a few know the truth, and those that due are appropriately fearful. It is difficult for any outsider to enter your territory without being noticed.
          PRO:  Entire generations of mortals have been bred to serve you. Even the beasts of the land obey you without question, and no one dares to make a move without you knowing about it.
          CON: Your isolation and paranoia has left you cut off from even the surrounding land. You rely on the, admittedly awe-inducing, powers of the Pack for your security.
Communal Haven: A massive, rambling structure. Multiple levels exist above ground, and even more are burrowed beneath. Few can remember where all the passages lead, and it has been centuries since anyone went down to where the darkness whispers.
          PRO:  Maybe it was a fire, or a tremendous earthquake, but your Haven has been forced to a more manageable size for the pack. While still impressive, it is far smaller than before, and there is less danger of others making their way down there.
          CON: Not only is the place huge, but it might just be vast beyond comprehension. There are exits and entrances that lead to places they shouldn’t, or can’t. Or, the entire place is on the verge of collapse.
Internal Politics:  Utterly divided.  The senior members, those that aren’t lost in torpor, don’t even follow Paths as the young generation understand them. Few bother speaking to each other except in the most dire of cases. They are more concerned with internal gamesmanship than the fate of Sects, or even the world.
          PRO: The Eldests have a plan, a plan to change the world. A plan that even the other members barely know about, but they make sure everyone follows.
          CON:  The Pack barely functions as one, as different coteries go their own way, barely bothering to even acknowledge each there. None can rely on each other as allies, let alone as pack mates.

Retainers: Only a few ancient servitors still remain, as well as unimaginable things lurking in the darkness below.
          PRO: An entire ghoul family serves the Pack, being their face in the world. While the family is more focused on its own matters, they will obey their “masters” such as they need.
          CON: Thanks to their monstrous appearance and utter madness, none that that can show their faces.
Knowledge: They have practically no ties to mortal institutions, and their decaying libraries can not only provide up to 2 in most knowledges, but their knowledge of the occult is unparalleled. 6+ for all Lore skills, though finding the right manuscript is a different matter...
          PRO:  The books and tomes haven’t yet completely rotted away, allowing up to 3.
          CON:  There was a Book of Nod here, once, but it was long since used as kindling. Lore is limited to 3.

Herd: Where once trains of mortals came when beckoned, now none remember their ancient obligations.
          PRO:  Perhaps it’s a loyal ghoul family willing to kidnap in the name of the Pack. Or perhaps a debased cult still clings to some semblance of life. In any case, the Pack has a herd of 2.

Equipment: Decayed garments and rusted, blood stained blades are all the Pack has, and even these are rarely bothered with.
          PRO: Among the piles of rot, one can find a few working firearms. Even more useful, are rare and forgotten weapons of the ancient days--silver and cold iron swords can be found, as well as other, stranger tools.
          CON: The clothes you were buried in.

Resources: Money is something the Pack has long ceased to worry about, and the mortal companies they once invested in have long since dissolved. Still, there are some ancient coins, gold bars, and other antiques that younger members can sell to generate an effectively Resources of 2.
          PRO:  Vast collections of art and jewelry still remain, and can be sold piecemeal to give a Resources of 4.
          CON: Money and finery are a forgotten concept. Effective Resources of 0.

Contacts: The pack keeps to itself, with no one to turn to for information on the constantly changing mortal world.
          PRO: A small network of obligations has been passed down, father to son, over the years. A few still remember their old obligations--Contacts of 2.

Status:  They are the most ancient and feared groups of Vampires in the world. The Camarilla Inner Circle is rightfully afraid of their power, and even the so-called “Regent” of the Sabbat listens carefully  when they speak. Even the youngest  members have a Status of 5, with elders and leaders having at least a 7.
          CON: The Sabbat isn’t sure if you’re real members or not, and are leery of anything the Pack says or does. Still, none can deny your power--Status of 3 for normal members, 5 for Leaders.

Relationships: Few enemies remain to challenge your Pack, though those that do are terrifying. Have at least one other Orthos group as an enemy, along with a smattering of weaker groups. You have a few Vespers packs in proper fear, whom you can call on if needed.
          PRO: Perhaps you’ve split off numerous times, but there are many who will answer the call of the “mother Pack”--you have at least 2 Complines you can rely on.
          CON: You stand alone, with significantly more enemies ready to pounce if you ever show weakness.

Obligations: The Orthos Pack does as it pleases, without concern for the feelings of others.
          CON: Despite your great age, you still involve yourself in Sect affairs, and spend a significant amount of time trying to teach the young ones the proper use of power.

MoMj: The Corruption Saga - Session 8b-Deirik

Deirik returned to Alucard and continued to be consumed with finding the opportunity to kill Torvald the Betrayer. It was all he could ever ...