THE PACKS OF THE SEVEN STEEPLES
Vampires, at their core, are solitary creatures. In non-Sabbat cites, some vampires may never come in contact with others of their kind, or they may see other Cainites only once in a decade. Solitary, urban predators, vampires stalk the nights alone, as Caine did so many nights ago.
Vampires of the Sabbat do not practice such solitude.
Sabbat vampires move in packs, rude, unnatural families of vampires who share a common purpose. Much like coteries of other vampires, packs often have an overriding reason to have been put together by their elders. Whether as simple as combat or as esoteric as a performance pack that interprets the Book of Nod when the local archbishop oversees the Sermons of Caine, a pack performs some fundamental function.
Naturally, most packs have some martial bent -- the Sabbat is a sect of holy warriors, after all. Infinite variations on this theme exist, however. Some packs might specialize in guerrilla warfare while others scout ahead for the packs that follow them. Other packs may focus on breaking the Masquerade in Camarilla cites, while still others may have military or police skills that allow them to fly aircraft or operate SWAT-grade weaponry. A pack may practice duels, fighting its enemies in dramatic hand-to-hand combat while yet another pack may be a biker gang, unloading shotguns through Main Street windows at 60miles per hour and then circling in the city park as a challenge for anyone to come take them on. The variations are as endless and unique as the vampires who make up the pack in question.
Not every pack serves an exclusively martial purpose, however. The Sabbat creates a pack to handle anything it needs. Spy packs are common among the Sword of Caine, as are teams of computer hackers, relic-hunter packs that dig up forgotten artifacts or search after fragments of the Book of Nod. Some bold (or insane) packs even hunt Lupines, demonstrating their bravery (or lunacy) by bringing down some of the world's most dangerous prey.
To the Sabbat vampire, the pack is everything. It is a surrogate family, in that members share ties of mutual blood (as embodied by the Vaulderie). This unity does not imply that the family is dysfunctional -- packs are some of the most hellish conglomerations of savage personalities in the world -- but some level of sympathy always exists, otherwise the pack simply disbands and the members join another.
The pack also functions as a spiritual guide. The priest leads the individual members of her pack on a journey into what it means to be a vampire. The family that prays together stays together, after all, and the Sabbat practices an enormous amount of ritae. By confronting their Beasts -- or embracing them -- members of the Sabbat packs have seen each other at their worst, and they depend on the others to help them deal with the curse of being a vampire.
Packs serve as protection as well. Given the intense nature of the sect, their acceptance of the fact that they are vampires, their loathing for humankind and their competitive urges, Sabbat vampires often run afoul of one another. Whether vying for control of the drug trade or hunting and elder during a War Party, packs are going to conflict with other packs, and woe be to the weaker group. Pack members watch each other's backs at almost all times (unless the rivalry within the pack has grown so fierce that some members want others dead, and stranger things have happened). Yet, packs need not fear only other packs; the World of Darkness veritably boils with danger. Marauding Lupines, vicious elders, Camarilla spies and even mortal threats like gangs, police and rowdy rednecks may make short work of an individual whereas the pack offers its members safety in numbers (it's less likely with mortals, but hey, still stranger things have happened).
Sabbat leaders use the packs for their war efforts, for attacks on elders and also, perhaps most importantly, to maintain Sabbat influence in their cities. With Sabbat vampires, who adopt a rough resemblance of the Masquerade in their own cities, the packs need to prevent Camarilla vampires from using the Sabbat's own tactics against it. Granted, many Camarilla vampires are loath to expose themselves to mortals (as does the Sabbat when it begins a crusade), but packs are the Sabbat's equivalent of social circles, and the entities with which visiting vampires are likely to come in contact. When Cainite moles show up, they've got to fool an entire (likely hostile) pack into believing their story, not just one vampire. Additionally, should the Camarilla ever stoop to overt violence, packs are going to have the numbers to deal effectively with the situation.
All this talk doesn't go to say that the Sabbat vampires do everything in packs -- just most things. Sabbat vampires still pursue their own agendas, make their own contacts, deal with people they prefer and otherwise lead private unlives. That's part of the freedom of belonging to the Sabbat. The role of the individual, though, is equally as important as the role of the group, as far as the sect is concerned.
THE KNIGHTS OF CHAOS
MEMBERS: Sorrow Rafastio/Dark Prophetess, Sissy Belle, Amarissa Vicente, India Marris- Von Chelsa
PURPOSE: As the founding pack it is the responsibility of The Knights of Chaos to act as the model for packs to come and the Sword of Caine as a whole. Through strength of unity and equality, the upholding of sect ideals and beliefs, and nightly survival shall this purpose be fulfilled.
[PACK TO COME]
[PACK TO COME]