Pack is a term used to describe the basic unit of the social structure of the Sabbat, serving both social and military functions. In essence, it is a small collection of vampires bound by Vinculum and common interest.
Packs are such an integral part of Sabbat society that Cainites without a pack are often viewed with suspicion and distrust. Each pack usually fights within itself until some authority rises to the top, such as a Priest to conduct rituals and a Ductus to lead in secular matters.
Most Sabbat Cainites, even the sect's leaders, are members of a pack. A Sabbat vampire does not have much choice about the pack to which he will belong, since he has no control over who chooses to Embrace him. Outside of extraordinary circumstances, all Sabbat must remain a member of the pack that created them.
A founded pack, or formally a coven, is a Sabbat pack that makes a permanent haven within a city. They may travel occasionally, but one city remains their home. Most Sabbat-controlled cities are home to numerous covens. In most cities, each coven dwells in its own communal haven.
Packs that travel from city to city are considered to be nomadic packs. Although some nomadic packs are known to settle in one city for months or even years at a time, they are still treated as nomads until they become founded in that city.
A coven will usually give "hospitality" to the nomads that come to them — at least, as much as the bloodthirsty Sabbat could be expected to give. Additionally, in many Sabbat cities, at least one communal haven will be available to all Sabbat, not just members of one pack, although guests would typically be expected (or required) to share in the Vaulderie with their hosts.
A pack consisting entirely of Black Hand members is called a kamut. Most if not all kamuts are nomadic, traveling wherever they are needed at the time. Unlike most packs, kamuts are typically short-lived, remaining together only long enough to carry out some specific mission. A permanent kamut is rare, and is called a column.
Packs conduct their business on a certain night each week. These weekly meetings are known as esbats. Ignobilis Ritae will be held during the esbat, but it is mainly used to conduct pack business. All pack members must attend unless a good reason for absence is given in advance.
The Sabbat put their sect before themselves and everything else in the world. They know what will happen to them if they do not. The Sabbat treats disloyalty very harshly, and some members have perfected the art of torture and disfigurement. Final Death is the only real choice for the disloyal.
This does not mean that all within the sect possess the same opinions. Among the fanatics are those with differing views on all Sabbat activities. The Sabbat leaders do not want mindless drones. They want strong-willed vampires ready to face death for the second time. Only strong Sabbat can understand true freedom, and they are the ones who push the sect on to domination.
The Sabbat provides protection, freedom and loyalty to all its members. These gifts are not without their costs. The members are required to protect sect interests, carry out missions and to give the Sabbat total fealty and devotion.
All Sabbat have what are called Vinculi, or special bonds of love and loyalty shared with their pack. The Vinculum varies between all members, but always translates into a strong love for and loyalty to the sect itself.
While Vinculum strength may vary with each individual bond, Sabbat vampires tend to be stronger in their loyalty and devotion to the sect itself than to individual members. Because of this Vinculum for the Sabbat itself, its members are considered fanatics. Most are willing to accept Final Death for the good of the sect.
In addition, this special blood bond makes the Sabbat's secrets especially hard to uncover.
From the day a Sabbat vampire is Embraced, she has certain responsibilities. All Sabbat must uphold pack tradition and practices. They must choose and support leaders who serve the good of the Sabbat as well as the good of the pack itself. They must challenge weak and incompetent leaders as well as those who serve only their own interests. They must perform missions for their leaders. They must work to destroy all the enemies of the Sabbat. Finally, they must be willing to give up their immortal lives for their sect.
Unlife in the Sabbat is wild and dangerous. Most Sabbat vampires do not exist long after they have been Embraced. Younger members are considered the most expendable. Constant fighting with the Camarilla and other foes, such as the Inquisition and Lupines, forces Sabbat to live on the edge. While the Camarilla vampires fear Final Death and seldom take great risks, the Sabbat's basic beliefs lead all sect members to do whatever it takes to carry out the mission of saving Kindred from Gehenna.
The pack fills two important, connected roles for the Sabbat. First and foremost, it serves a combat function. This military aspect is important for furthering Sabbat plans. The second function of the pack is to provide a social group for individual Sabbat.
Relationship with the ClansEdit
The clan does not play an important role in the pack. Each clan maintains its own ties, but these are secondary to those of the pack. Clans sometimes hold their own gatherings, and members often partake of the Vaulderie together.
- Lost Angels - led by Carolina Valez while she was Archbishop of Montreal.
- Crypt's Sons - led by Mohammed al-Muthlim while he was Archbishop of Los Angeles.
- La Belle Morte - a pack of nomads that recruited new vampires into the Sabbat.
- Talons - a Sabbat Inquisition pack led by knight inquisitor Mercy.
- The Widows - devout Catharists of the Montreal Sabbat.
- 25:17 - a Black Hand nomadic pack.
- Shepherds of Caine - one of the oldest Sabbat covens in the western hemisphere.
- The Librarians - Noddist Sabbat scholars of Montreal.
- The Navigators - a nomadic pack that recently settled in Montreal.
- Les Orphelins - a pack that adopted a biker gang style.
- Queens of Mercy - a coven that is attached to the sexual aspects of mortality.
- Zarnovich's Circus - a semi-nomadic circus of horrors style pack.
- The Wretched - a monstrous pack of Montreal.
- Les Miserables - a pack of insane Sabbat of Montreal.
- El Calpulli Rojo - a pack from Mexico City.
- Golgotha's Nails - a pack led by the Tzimisce Troilus Cressida.