The Kamut is the basic unit of the Black Hand's operations. It is like a temporary Sabbat pack, with a different terminology to clearly distinguish it from the ordinary Sabbat packs that Black Hand operatives are also part of. A permanent Kamut would be called Column.
A kamut can be as small as two or three members or as large as a dozen, depending on the mission involved. Most kamuts are one-shots, assembled by a Dominion for a particular mission, and then dissolved when the mission has been completed.
In theory, any combination of Black Hand members can be asked to work together as a kamut. In practice, a dominion often tends to select the same individuals for particular missions, those she has worked with before and feels are reliable. For some missions, particularly those called on short notice or that require a strong familiarity with local territory, the dominion in charge of a mission may simply call in whatever local operatives are in the same city or general area.
Dominions generally can select any Black Hand member they want for their kamut; they sometimes compete with each other over particularly talented operatives. There is also some status involved among the membership as to which dominions they have served under, based partly on the dominion's personalities, rumors of their relationships with the Seraphim or Sabbat leaders and their leadership abilities in the field.
Impressing the right dominion can take a Black Hand operative far, and lead to more plum assignments, greater responsibilities and possibly even advancement to the rank of dominion. Technically, an operative does not have to accept a call to join a mission, but few refuse. Turning down a selection can make the operative look less than totally dedicated to the subsect's cause, afraid of possible risk, or simply rebellious and disloyal -none of which bode well for a member's future existence, much less status in the Hand.
Kamuts generally start each mission with a Vaulderie. The ritus of sharing blood helps knit the group together even if some members don't like each other much. Black Hand operatives who frequently serve together in the same kamuts tend to have stronger Vinculi, since a kamut that works well together in one mission may be reassembled again in the future for another. As a general rule, soldiers who know and trust each other tend to have higher levels of courage and cohesion as a group and can thus accomplish more; this same principle holds true for Black Hand operatives as well.
Veteran kamuts that are assembled again and again are called reunion packs. Some reunions even adopt informal nicknames not unlike regular Sabbat packs, and develop their own reputations and level of prestige, particularly among the younger members of the subsect. Sometimes, the Seraph order to form a permanent Kamut, which is called a Column.
The old-soldier network among dominions and experienced, well-known operatives can make it difficult for a newly sworn member to "break in" with one of the experienced reunion kamuts or be chosen for high-prestige missions or, more importantly for some, to have a chance at a low-generation target.
The best chance a young member has is to be assigned to a one-shot kamut is do well enough to catch the eye of the dominion in charge or impress some of the veterans (of course, having a good mentor can make this easier). For various reasons, one-shots tend to have the lowest success (and survival) ratings, partly because they tend to be given more potentially hazardous missions.
One-shot kamuts also have a larger proportion of rookies or younger operatives, who are often included simply to add the weight of numbers to the mission, and can be considered potentially expendable should things go to hell in the field - not that the Black Hand deliberately sets even its rookies up as cannon fodder (that is, after all, what Sabbat war parties are for), but the youngest and least experienced operatives are the most likely to make a fatal mistake under pressure - and, should worse come to worst, they're also the easiest to replace.
- Caine's Chosen: the Black Hand, p. 31-32
- Dirty Secrets of the Black Hand, p. 18-19