When a blanket of winter is all around us
We have to stay warm
When there's no one there you can count on
You have to transform
How can you leave the black out?
(How can you leave the black out?)
You're only flesh and bone
-Burning Brides, "Flesh and Bone"
The Clan of Shadows is inextricably intertwined with the hierarchy of the Sabbat, and its organization is primarily that of ductus, priest, Bishop, and so on. Overdeveloped hierarchies smack of the middle-management of the Ventrue, and are wont to collapse in any event. The Keepers designed the Ecclesiarchy of the Sabbat and so, it is largely enough for them.
As is typical of the Clan of Shadows, when dealing with affairs amongst themselves, they quietly retain the old hierarchy, the Amici Noctis, and through it the Courts of Blood.
The "Crusaders" are Ultra-Conservatives who buy into the idea of the Sabbat as an army to destroy the Ancients so utterly that they are willing to set aside the Sabbat ideal of freedom in order to do it. Their primary goal in any given domain is ensuring Lasombra dominance over religion and politics, and as such, they're very good at uniting disparate Sabbat licks against them. They are also good at getting their way through bullying and Monomacy.
The Clan of Shadows has always had a strong religious streak, and those who believe the clan's interests should be primarily spiritual fall into this amorphous group. Once, it was unquestionably led by Archbishop Ambrosio Luis Moncada. After his destruction, this group awaits a charismatic leader to unite them.
The Black AngelsEdit
The Black Angels are the followers of the Path of Night, Lasombra who believe it is their specific duty to be agents of evil and darkness on Earth in order to remind living men that it is important to turn one's mind away from earthly affairs and towards God. They have endured purges, injected their beliefs into the Sabbat's body politic only to be driven to the margins, and yet in the modern nights their numbers grow once again.
The Children of the AbyssEdit
The Children of the Abyss are the Keepers who have dedicated themselves to study and mastery of Obtenebration and the fathomless Abyss from which their power is drawn. They are known for their bizzare and occult behavior, but they are also known for their strange and useful Abyssal sorceries. Lasombra tend to regard Children of the Abyss with a mix of abiding respect and immense trepidation.
The Kings and Queens of ShadowEdit
The Kings and Queens of Shadow take the Sabbat's stated belief that Cainites deserve to rule over the terrified masses of humanity and run with it. They accumulate massive amounts of wealth and influence over the Kine, manipulate society the way a Tzimisce plays with flesh, and their reward is usually to be excluded from the main body of clan and sect.
The Kings and Queens of Shadow find that the steps they must take to maintain their influence make them unpopular. As a group they not only uphold Humanity, many of them work hard to cultivate it--psychopaths only prosper in Congress and corporations. Theirs is a tradeoff: the influence that makes them indispensible, the Humanity that makes them intolerable.
Lasombra have a fine tradition of seafaring and piracy that extends all the way back to the clan's Antediluvian founder. Even in the modern nights some Keepers feel the call of the sea. These Cainites often fund shipping companies, or sponsor and lead pirate fleets that attack Camarilla interests in wilder locales. Rumors persist that the clan controls at least one modern attack sub.
Some Lasombra reject the occultism of their elders and see the flowing darkness of Obtenebration and its shadowy transformations as a sign that they should pursue evolution into a higher state of being. Often incredibly modern and scientific in outlook, each of these Keepers pursues their own path to transcendence. One holds to Humanity because the evil and spirituality pursued by the Paths of Enlightenment are banal and distracting. Another has taken up the Path of Metamorphosis, applying its principles to Obtenebration rather than Vicissitude.
Fatalists and the DoomedEdit
Every clan has its losers, and the Lasombra, touched by darkness as they are, have produced more than their share of nihilists. Too craven to dig their fingers into the Jyhad, too gutless to see the sun, these creatures wander, lamenting that free will is a meaningless idea when elders exist who can Dominate you from a continent away. They are disliked by everyone.
The Doomed are those Keepers who come into the first flush of their powers and forget how to exercise restraint. Those who do not learn are invariably killed, usually by their own clan.
The Courts of BloodEdit
Lasombra are in many ways a legalistic, practical clan. The Courts of Blood is an institution created by the Keepers' antediluvian founder that persists into the modern nights. Its purpose is to adjudicate disputes between Lasombra and determine when punishment is called for. The Courts of Blood has no authority outside of the Clan of Shadows, and when interacting with other Cainites, Lasombra do not have to worry about its judgments.
The Courts of Blood are convened in absolute darkness, and a Keeper is not allowed to know who is hearing their case.
Those who call for a hearing of the Courts of Blood may have to wait anywhere from minutes to decades while the case is deliberated. A Keeper found to be wasting their time will lose status as punishment.
If the Courts decide in the Keeper's favor, however, the sentences handed down are harsh. Sometimes, the Courts might demand remandment of property to the plaintiff or another method of redress. Usually, the sentence is Destruction, and while this does not have to be diablerie, the Amaranth is not proscribed by the courts.
When a Court of Blood (which consists of a jury of 3-13 Friends of the Night) hands down a sentence of death, the plaintiff almost always has to carry it out him or herself, following whatever stipulations laid down by the Court (no disciplines other than Potence, you only have one month to kill your target, you are allowed one chance and one chance only, and so on).
The Courts of Blood are the Keepers' last holdover to the old days of the clan. They stand apart from and outside of the Sabbat, and even Lasombra Antitribu have the right to seek redress through them and be heard, though their case had better be good.
Amici Noctis (The Friends of the Night)Edit
As long as there have been Lasombra, there have been the Friends of the Night. This organization exists to preserve the Clan of Shadows and uphold its best interests. Once upon a time, those interests were whatever the King of Shadows (the Keepers' Antediluvian) declared them to be.
In the modern nights, the Friends of the Night are more divided and fractuous, and the "best interests of the clan" are usually whatever an individual Friend declares them to be. Most Keepers are invited to join once they have survived a century of unlife; those who prove their merit might be invited to join earlier.
The true power of the Amici Noctis is that its members sit on the Courts of Blood and as such can mandate when one Keeper has the right to destroy another. Being invited to join is also a sign that one has risen to the heights of the Clan of Shadows.
What those outside of the Amici Noctis do not know is that Lasombra Antitribu can also be invited to join, and those who prove their mettle by defying the ravening fury of the clan at large... often are. The divide between the Keepers and the Magisters includes lovers, broodmates, childer and their sires, and such ties are not easily broken...
Character Creation SuggestionsEdit
- Intelligence (Dominate)
- Manipulation (Obtenebration)
- Strength (Potence)
Lasombra are all about aggression, mentally, physically, and socially. They develop prodigious strength, the social acumen to bring others around to their designs, and rapacious intellects.