The Code of Milan is the list of principles by which the Sabbat define themselves. Among other things, it establishes the authority of the sect's Regent and of the Black Hand, and instructs all Sabbat to observe the sect's various ritae. Many Sabbat (especially Loyalists) reject the very notion of a code of action for the Sabbat, and scoff at those who invoke the Code's authority.
The Code was established early in the sect's existence in Milan, Italy, which was at the time ruled by Archbishop Giangaleazzo. The Code gained traction within the sect following the signing of the Purchase Pact at the conclusion of the First Sabbat Civil War on September 19, 1803. The revised version, which is the version seen everywhere in the modern nights, was signed on December 21, 1933 at the conclusion of the Second Sabbat Civil War. Even amended, the Code eventually proved too little to prevent further infighting among the Sabbat, as the Third Sabbat Civil War broke out in 1957, and concluded 100 nights later. In 1997, on the Night of Bloody Terrors, Giangaleazzo, long since jaded with his sectmates, burned what appeared to be the original copy of the Code of Milan. He then aligned himself and his city with the Sabbat's eternal foe: the Camarilla.
The Code of Milan is the main source for what is considered acceptable or appropriate behavior by adherents of the Path of Honorable Accord. As described in the book Chaining the Beast, the Code venerated by that Path is lengthy, usually reaching 72 pages or more when translated into English. The Code is laden with deliberate invocations of Tarot card imagery. The Path's precepts were formalized around 1150, although the Path existed in some form prior, presumably as a Path of the Road of Chivalry or Road of Kings.
It is unknown exactly who was involved in the authoring or signing of the original Code. The Knights of the Path of Honorable Accord were involved in the creation of the Code, although their exact role in its authorship is uncertain. Presumably the text was influenced by some elements of the Black Hand (and likely the True Black Hand by association), as it explicitly establishes the Black Hand's authority within the sect. Archbishop Giangaleazzo of Milan is the only confirmed signatory of the original Code; he retained custody of that venerable parchment until he personally destroyed it. It is likewise unknown exactly when it was penned, except that it occurred not long after the Convention of Thorns and well before the various Sabbat Civil Wars.
The opening of the revised version of the Code of Milan invokes the word of Regent Gorchist, which, naturally, suggests that he was present for the revision or was at least involved in authoring the Code. However, several versions of the timeline of events leading up to this revision suggest that he might have already been destroyed by the time the revised Code was finalized; in fact, one source states that his assassination sparked the Second Sabbat Civil War. See Gorchist for more information.
Fifty witnesses were present at the signing of the revised Code of Milan in 1933. Several Cardinals and Archbishops are specifically named as witnesses; they may have been included among the fifty numbered witnesses. The Cardinals present were Huroff, Bruce de Guy, Agnes, and Charles VI, and the Archbishops present were Beatrice, Una, Tecumseh, Toth, Aeron, Marsilio, Rebecca, Julian, and Salluccio.
The Code is divided into three sections:
- The Tower of Duty, which details appropriate behavior for a Knight via simple maxims and clear examples of proper action.
- The Tower of Honor, which fully details the Path's spiritual tenets. These tenets are exemplified by six different parables: the Tale of Blood, the Tale of the Lone Wanderer, the Tale of the Midnight Court, the Tale of the Kine, the Tale of the Wolf, and the Tale of Dawn.
- The Tower of Courage, a dense and allegorical tale of a Knight's travails on a shadowed quest, laden with coded language and disturbing hidden meanings.
II. All Sabbat shall do their best to serve their leaders as long as said leaders serve the will of the Regent.
III. All Sabbat shall faithfully observe all the Auctoritas Ritae.
IV. All Sabbat shall keep their word of honor to one another.
V. All Sabbat shall treat their peers fairly and equally, upholding the strength and unity of the Sabbat. If necessary, they shall provide for the needs of their brethren.
VI. All Sabbat must put the good of the sect before their own personal needs, despite all costs.
VII. Those who are not honorable under this code will be considered less than equal and therefore unworthy of assistance.
VIII. As it has always been, so it shall always be. The Lextalionis shall be the model for immortal justice by which all Sabbat shall abide.
IX. All Sabbat shall protect one another from the enemies of the Sect. Personal enemies shall remain personal responsibility, unless they undermine Sect security.
X. All sect members shall protect Sabbat territory from all other powers.
XI. The spirit of freedom shall be the fundamental principle of the Sect. All Sabbat shall expect and demand freedom from their leaders.
XII. The ritus of Monomacy shall be used to settle disputes among all Sabbat.
XIII. All Sabbat shall support the Black Hand.
Statutes added to the revised Code of Milan:
XIV. All Sabbat have the right to monitor the behavior and activities of their fellow Sect members in order to maintain freedom and security.
XV. All Sabbat possess the right to call a council of their peers and their immediate leaders.
XVI. All Sabbat shall act against Sect members who use the powers and authority the Sabbat has given them for personal gain at the expense of the Sabbat. Action shall be taken only through accepted means, approved by a quorum of Prisci.