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Harbingers of Skulls

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Name: Harbinger of Skulls
Plural: Harbingers of Skulls
Nicknames: Lazarenes
Antediluvian: Cappadocius
Faction: Sabbat, Tal'mahe'Ra
Disciplines: Auspex, Fortitude, Necromancy
Parent clan: Cappadocians

The Harbingers of Skulls are a rare bloodline who surfaced in the Final Nights. While few Kindred suspect the truth, they are the last remnants of the Cappadocian clan.

The Harbingers of Skulls clan weakness is an extension of the Cappadocian clan's weakness. Regardless of the quantity of blood a Harbinger of Skulls consumes, her skin maintains a deathly pallor. Additionally, the Harbingers' skin shrinks to make these Cainites appear skeletal, with bony limbs and faces frozen into an immortal death's grin. Because of this decidedly unwholesome and morbid visage, Harbingers of Skulls have Appearance Traits of zero. All Social rolls involving the Appearance Trait automatically fail for Harbingers of Skulls.

History Edit

Early History Edit

Though the Cappadocians were all but wiped out by the Giovanni, as the clan of death it was hardly surprising that some of its members, who had mastered Mortis, would assume great power in the Underworld. The cabal of 50 ancient, powerful and very angry Cappadocians who would become the Sabbat Harbingers did just that; imprisoned in the Underworld by a seal at Kaymakli, they bided their time, waiting and watching for a chance to return to the Skinlands and enact vengeance for their clan and Antediluvian.

Other Cappadocians, meanwhile, restless and impatient, ventured deeper into the Underworld, journeying through the Tempest until they reached Enoch, centre of power for the Tal'mahe'Ra, where they were received as honored guests. They struck a bargain with the Tal'mahe'Ra, maintaining and defending Enoch in return for safe haven and freedom to study the Labyrinth's mysteries.

Final Nights Edit

Accounts of how the Harbingers returned to the lands of the living vary. Some say that it was the Sixth Great Maelstrom that gave the Harbingers who sought revenge their chance. With the Shroud weakened, they broke through and claimed or formed new decayed bodies. Others have it that it was thanks to the Capuchin, whose necromantic magics broke the seal which imprisoned the Harbingers.

The Harbingers of the Sabbat have been members for only a few years, and few of the youngest members of the sect have ever heard of them, let alone seen one. Apparently, one of their number came forth with a proposition to the cardinals, prisci and regent, who conferred and welcomed the Harbingers to the Sword of Caine. Since then, the Harbingers of Skulls have amassed unheard-of power in the sect (given their small number, which is estimated in the low hundreds). The Black Hand, the Sabbat Inquisition and even the ranks of the prisci now claim members of the Harbingers among them. Scions of the Sabbat appear to reap great benefits from the Harbingers' death magic, maintaining contact with fallen allies or tormenting enemies from beyond the wall of Final Death. Indeed, the Harbingers seem more than willing to offer aid to Sabbat compatriots - in exchange for favors to be determined later.

In truth, while they are nominally Sabbat members, they merely seek allies in their vendetta against the Giovanni and the Camarilla clans who betrayed them.

The Harbingers of the Tal'mahe'Ra are more interested in studying and exploring the Underworld than in revenge. Even so, they too have availed themselves of the chance to return to the Skinlands, many creating ghouls and Embracing childer to help them function outside of the Underworld.

At the instruction of Lazarus and the Tal'mahe'Ra, this faction of Harbingers have been despoiling and corrupting locations to create additional shadow bastions in the Underworld for the sect, many of which are reflections of locations held by the Setites. For the Tal'mahe'Ra, this is a strike against their ancient enemies, but Lazarus's motives in this are less clear.

Organization Edit

The Harbingers of Skulls in the Sabbat have little organization, and most eschew social company, preferring to be left alone to study or hatch their plots. They do gather infrequently, but to what purpose has never been continued. Vampires outside the Harbingers' circles suspect everything from schemes to bring down the Sabbat from the inside to symposiums on the most recent research involving the lands of the dead.

They do maintain some form of visible hierarchy, however, as evidenced by their masks and rituals. The more esteemed or accomplished members of the bloodline wear much more elaborate masks, and they are ritually acknowledged by lesser Harbingers, though the precise system has eluded onlookers to date.

The Sabbat Harbingers are few in number, and universally powerful. They have had centuries of death in which to contemplate their revenge and, while they may act separately, have no doubt formed a plan which they will execute as one when the time is right.

Culture Edit

Sabbat Harbingers of Skulls have morbid concepts, many of which are archaic or foreign to the modern nights. The bloodline favors Mental Attributes and Knowledges, and its members cultivate numerous Backgrounds. Few Harbingers deign to follow the tenets of Humanity; they are more frequently attuned to the Path of Death and the Soul or some bizarre variant of the Giovanni's Path of the Bones.

Cursed by Caine's blood with the countenances of corpses, Sabbat Harbingers often flay the tattered, grave-tainted flesh from their heads, leaving them with the grinning rictus of their namesake. Masks and ceremony play an important part in the bloodline's culture, and elders among these Cainites maintain vast collections of ritual masks and implements that they wear and use in their necromantic rites. It has been rumored that the vitae in their veins is ancient and quite potent, and perhaps their claims of grandiose history are not far from the mark. Whatever the case, the Harbingers of Skulls simply ignore inconvenient lines of questioning, preferring instead to spend their hours amid the tombstones of cemeteries or in deep contemplation of the powers of the dead.

Embraces Edit

The Sabbat Harbingers have to this date not embraced a single new vampire since their arrival in the Skinlands. The reasons for this are unknown, but the most likely cause for this would be that few modern people have much to offer to these ancient Cainites. Moreover for their purpose (i.e. vengeance), their necromantic prowess and connections to the Black Hand are probably much more useful than a brood of neonates.

Their Tal'mahe'Ra kin, however, have not felt so disinclined, and this faction's numbers, though small, have been growing quickly since the seal was broken.

Version Differences Edit

The original symbol of the Harbingers as it appears in VTM: Guide to the Sabbat Bullet-pdf Bullet-nip has the "antitribu shield" behind it. This was removed for VTM: Vampire: The Masquerade 20th Anniversary Edition Bullet-pdf Bullet-nip.

The Harbingers were a Sabbat-only bloodline until the V20 book The Black Hand: A Guide to the Tal'Mahe'Ra, which introduced a faction belonging to that sect.


Vampire: The Masquerade bloodlines

Ahrimanes · Anda · Baali · Blood Brothers · Caitiff · Cappadocians · Children of Osiris · Danava · Daughters of Cacophony · Gargoyles · Giovani · Harbingers of Skulls · Kiasyd · Lamia · Lhiannan · Nagaraja · Nictuku · Noiad · Salubri · Samedi · True Brujah

Sabbat antitribu

Assamite antitribu · Brujah antitribu · City Gangrel · Country Gangrel · Malkavian antitribu · Nosferatu antitribu · Panders · Ravnos antitribu · Salubri antitribu · Serpents of the Light · Toreador antitribu · Tremere antitribu · Ventrue antitribu

Clan variants

Angellis Ater · Assamite sorcerers · Assamite viziers · Azaneali · Daitya · Gangrel Aquarii · Gangrel Grecians · Lasombra antitribu · Malkavians (Camarilla) · Old Clan Tzimisce · Phuri Dae (Brahmin) · Setite Warriors · Telyavelic Tremere · Tlacique · Wu Zao

Laibon legacies

Akunanse · Bonsam · Guruhi · Ishtarri · Impundulu · Kinyonyi · Mla Watu · Naglopers · Nkulu Zao · Osebo · Ramanga · Shango · Xi Dundu

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