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 Clans
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 - pack of former Archbishop, Carolina Valez. The pack is originally from Mexico, and all of the surviving pack members who have been in existence for over twenty years were active in Los Angeles. Now largely defunct, with several core members leaving the pack. Known members: Carolina Valez, Tobias Smith, Gharston Roland, Marie-Helene Dutoit.
- 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.
- The Talons - a pack of Sabbat Inquisitors that recently arrived at Montreal. Known Members: Mercy, Kervos, Fexia, Carlos.
- The Widows - a prominent coven in the city, and the devout Catharists of the Montreal Sabbat. Led by The Rose, the Widows share control of the sex industry in Montreal, primarily the S&M/bondage aspect. They seek to introduce more spiritual aspects into the Path of Cathari. Known members: The Rose, Creamy Jade, Black Lotus.
- 25:17 - a Black Hand coven led by Ezekiel. Before Sangris’ trial, 25:17 was nomadic and was very active in New York City and Chicago. All of the members have always been Black Hand members in good standing. Known members: Ezekiel, Soldat, Reza Fatir, Yasmin the Black.
- Shepherds of Caine - one of the oldest Sabbat covens in the western hemisphere, and the oldest coven in North America. Led by Alfred Benezri, the Shepherds were instrumental in the creation of the Sabbat Inquisition, and the senior coven members are the founders of the philosophy of Nocturnal Redemption. Known members: Alfred Benezri, Yitzhak, Frere Marc, Raphael Catarari, Cherubim, Sabrina.
- The Librarians - Noddist Sabbat scholars. They are responsible for the keeping and safeguarding of the Litany of Blood. Many of their members died fighting Sangris during his assault on the Temple of Eternal Whispers. Now defunct and declared heretical after the events surrounding the Shroud of Kaymakli.Known members: Beatrice L'Angou, Jacob the Glitch, Marie-Ange Gagnon, Molly 8, Christanius Lionel, Santiago DeSoto.
- The Navigators - a nomadic pack that recently settled in Montreal due to the recent events during the Nights of Blood and Fire. Their numbers are low due to the losses they suffered recently. The Navigators are the core of the Loyalist movement in Montreal. Known members: Miguel Santo Domingo, Célèste Lamontagne, Erinyi, Sangris the Serpent.
- Les Orphelins - a pack that adopted a biker gang style. Having adopted a biker gang style long ago, they have always been linked to Montreal’s most violent elements, and are responsible for a continent-wide war between the mortal Hell’s Angels and Rock Machine gangs. Now defunct and exposed as infernalists. Known members: Pierre Bellemare, Cairo the Lost Knight, Sister Evelyn.
- Queens of Mercy - a coven that is attached to the sexual aspects of mortality. They control the sex community of Montreal, both heterosexual and homosexual. They are instrumental in maintaining Sabbat control of the mortal administration of the city, especially considering the fact that important mortals in the city who happen to be sexually "active" are much more easily blackmailed than most. The coven is frequently criticized by other Sabbat for their continued attachment to mortal sexuality, but they continue to prove they worth to the Sabbat. Known members: Sebastien Goulet, Caroline Bishops, Alex Camille.
- Zarnovich's Circus - a semi-nomadic circus of horrors style pack led by the Tzimisce Maciej Zarnovich. The pack is a childish nightmare come true. Most of Zarnovich’s packmates have been fleshcrafted to some extreme or another, and many who undergo Zarnovich's experiments end up as part of one of Zarnovich’s circus sideshows, held in a city controlled by the Camarilla, of course. Known members: Maciej Zarnovich, Midget, Tears.
- The Wretched - a pack that revels in their vile monstrosities. Together, they explore the limits of vampiric inhumanity. Based in Montreal. Known members: Stephanie L'Heureux, Elias the Whale, Spider.
- Les Misérables - a pack comprised of the most insane members of Montreal, they have always primarily consisted of Malkavian antitribu. Known members: Skin, Toy, Muse
- El Calpulli Rojo - a pack from Mexico City.
- Golgotha's Nails - a pack led by the Tzimisce Troilus Cressida.