The leaders of the Sabbat, clan Lasombra are social Darwinists, predators, elegant and inhuman. Firm believers in the worthy ruling and the unworthy serving, the Lasombra have maintained their traditions even as they have turned the Sabbat to their own purposes.
Due to their inherent clan weakness, Lasombra vampires cast no reflections. They cannot be seen in mirrors, bodies of water, reflective windows, polished metals, photographs and security cameras, etc. This curious anomaly even extends to the clothes they wear and objects they carry. Many Kindred believe that the Lasombra have been cursed in this manner for their vanity. Additionally, due to their penchant for darkness, Lasombra take an extra level of damage from sunlight.
Several thousand years ago B.C., a tribe of Masai were ordered by a pale spirit to produce a child for him. This child was trained to lead by having every member of the tribe obey him, and he was trained to be loyal by extensive gifts and rewards from the Antediluvian Lasombra. The experiment failed.
Before rerunning the experiment, Lasombra was visited by his child's playmate, Ontai. This shaman in training offered his life to Lasombra (who had already punished the tribe by wiping out half of its population) - in life, death and beyond, with no price offered. Lasombra, disturbed by the offer and Ontai's already impeccable honor, tested the shaman's resolve by demanding he slaughter his tribe.
Ontai obeyed, and a shaken Lasombra called off the execution and embrace Ontai, renaming him Montano and bringing him to the Mediterranean. To his grave, Lasombra was uncertain whether his childe's unswerving honor had gotten the better of him.
- Lasombra as Mediterranean nobles. Moorish Lasombra.
- Establishment of pseudo-Darwinist philosophy, Embrace of Zamra as example.
- Anarch revolt.
- Diablerie of [Lasombra] by Gratiano, Montano's defection.
- Lasombra Catholicism. Cardinal Monçada
The Arabian Lasombra, or Qabilat al-Khayal were notable among their Islamic kindred counterparts in that they were one of the few bay't to be majority Christian. Islam took hold in a few places in the clan, especially Iberia, and caused major rifts in the bay't. Those Christian Lasombra in Qabilat al-Khayal lands felt trapped and torn by refusing to adapt to the Islamic religion there. The Islamic ones, however, were some of the most devoted to Islam's cause.
In the early renaissance, the Lasombra had just became the leaders of the Sabbat. Their political and commercial power has weakened and they have turned to more brutal practices, such as piracy, even shifting their focuses from the dwindling Spanish kingdoms to Dutch pirates and opportunities in the New World. Their main focuses have been the eradication of the Camarilla, particularly their Antitribu clansmen.
Clan Lasombra in the Victorian AgeAdded by IanWatsonDuring this time the influence of the Church upon people's lives declined. As a result, Lasombra influence became more indirect as the years progressed. Like many other clans, the Lasombra began to influence the bourgeoisie, where most of the world's finances now flowed from. Unlike other Clans who had previously infested religious organizations, the Lasombra did not turn away from churches - indeed, the Lasombra are infamous even in the modern nights for their powerful grasp in religious circles, particularly the Catholic Church.
- Development of Paths of Enlightenment
- Lasombra vs. Tzimisce
Whether they approve or not, Clan Lasombra has changed with the times. Where once the elitist ideals saw that only those of certain lineages, ethnicities or religions were Embraced, the Clan now recruits from all walks of life. Financial influence is now increasingly important to them due to the establishment of global economy, and the Lasombra are the clan mainly responsible for bankrolling much of the Sabbat's operations in modern nights.
The Lasombra still hunt their hated antitribu, although fewer and fewer exist each night. The fervour with which their brothers are hunted has brought about a Darwinism of it's own - those antitribu surviving are generally the oldest and wiliest Keepers to still walk the earth.
Perhaps most embarrassing for the Clan was the defection of Gian Galeazzo Visconti. A former Cardinal, he was a signatory on the Code of Milan, one of the Sabbat's most important documents. At the end of the 20th Century, Giangaleazzo gathered all of Milan's Cainites to his castle. From the balcony of his Haven, he announced that he would no longer be a part of the Sabbat. With that, he tore up the original Code of Milan and sealed the courtyard. Burning his former sect mates to death, he announced himself Prince of Milan and a member of the Camarilla. As a result, Gian Galeazzo is particularly hated throughout the Clan, but too well supported by the surrounding Italian Camarilla to destroy.
Lasombra naturally seek positions of power and authority, as a result they form the bulk of the Sabbat's administrative offices - ducti, prisci and the like. Tzimisce are more likely to be pack priests, while the Lasombra focus on the practical matters of administration and leadership.
Separate from Sabbat organization, the Lasombra maintain a clan-specific organization, the Friends of the Night, usually called les amies noir (amici noctis during the Dark Ages). While a Lasombra can be in the clan and not a Friend of the Night, all Lasombra who matter are part of the organization. The Friends are something of a formalized favor network within the Lasombra - they grant prestige and prestation, but the most notable feature of the friends are the Courts of Blood, which regulate diablerie.
The Lasombra are a clan driven by ambition, and consequently they accept diablerie as a necessary facet of their existence; from the Lasombra perspective, the only tragedy in diablerie is that such an unworthy vampire as the vessel was sired in the first place. The courts regulate diablerie by accepting petitions to diablerize other Lasombra and authorize hunts - these hunts usually have conditions attached because the target must be guilty of something before the hunt is authorized. The court system ensures that diablerie is managed - Lasombra are allowed, if not flat-out encouraged to cannibalize appropriate targets, but those targets must be judged worthy of this attention by a court before the attack can take place.
|Disciplines:||Obtenebration, Dominate, Potence|
(Source- VtM: Guide to the Camarilla)
There are no Lasombra antitribu, at least, not according to the Lasombra themselves. The Sabbat Lasombra deny that “traitors” exist, while the so-called antitribu see themselves as Lasombra — nothing more, nothing less. Not all Lasombra who disagree with the clan’s stance within the Sabbat join the Camarilla -- a significant percentage of this relatively small number simply go independent and absent themselves from vampiric politics entirely. The remainder, however, seize for themselves positions of respect and authority — if not prominence — in the Camarilla.
Philosophically, Camarilla Lasombra differ little from their Sabbat compatriots on a basic level. The antitribu still fully expect to win the Jyhad; they just see the Camarilla as a more efficient and effective tool for doing so than the Sabbat is. Distaste for the rabble the Sabbat is encased in shows clearly in Camarilla Lasombra’s attitudes, as they regard the Sabbat tactic of mass Embraces as wasteful and insulting. Indeed, even the supporters of antitribu inclusion in the Camarilla see these vampires as haughty, arrogant and impatient. Few suffer fools or incompetent underlings to live, and the penalty for failing an assignment set by a Lasombra antitribu is often death. The position occupied by these few self-exiled Kindred is an ambiguous one. On one hand, these vampires are Lasombra, the core of the dreaded Sabbat, and no Camarilla vampire is ever completely certain than the defection is a real one. On the other hand, essentially all Lasombra antitribu are creatures of undeniable power and presence, and are devoted to the destruction of the Sabbat in a way that few other Kindred are. The Camarilla cannot afford to waste these Cainites’ talents, powers and knowledge of the enemy but cannot afford to trust them entirely, either.
Lasombra are fiercely predatory creatures, and the Lasombra mindset is defined by an enthusiastic embrace of social darwinism. The Lasombra firmly believe that power is best held by the most worthy, and that the primary test of worthiness is acquiring said power. As a result, they are predatory, backstabbing, power-hungry and unapologetically arrogant about their position. Needless to say, the Lasombra and Ventrue despise each other. Historically, the two clans have sought out parallel dominions - the Lasombra focused on the Mediterranean, the Ventrue on Germany. The Lasombra went to the Church, the Ventrue went to the state. The Lasombra went to the Sabbat, the Ventrue to the Camarilla. That stated, as the ruling clans of their respective sects, they are naturally prone to come to loggerheads.
That stated, the Lasombra embrace of the Mediterranean and the Church has left odd marks on their clan culture. Many Lasombra are drawn to the sea, and the majority of antitribu are sailors. Even now, the Lasombra are prone to some ancestral Catholicism, notable figures such as Archbishop Ambrosio Luis Monçada still view the world in Catholic terms - they believe in the God and their own damnation with equal certainty. Elder Lasombra in particular place a strong emphasis on confession, although without redemption.
The Lasombra are also noted for a strong fascination with Chess; the game serves as a metaphor for Vampiric existence (or at least, as the Lasombra see it), and consequently any Lasombra who plans to get anywhere in the clan is proficient in the game.
Finally, something must be said about the impact that the lost visage has on the Lasombra. The clan weakness makes it impossible for a Lasombra to ever see his own image again - mirrors, photography and other reflective media fail, and the Lasombra react to this problem in a variety of ways. Clan culture places a strong emphasis on not overreacting to this problem - it is generally acceptable to sit for a portrait every few years, but extreme reactions (such as hiring a Tzimisce to fleshsculpt a ghoul) is considered a breach of good taste and grounds for diablerie.
The Lasombra, as a rule, loathe ghouls with a passion. To them, a mortal in the world of Cainites is as absurd as a poodle putting on a tutu and walking around on it's hind legs. Due to their command of Potence and Dominate, mortals are laughably easy to control, both physically and mentally - how could the Lasombra possibly respect or value such a pathetically weak and frail thing? As a consequence, the ghoul of a Lasombra is typically a sniveling and timid wretch, living in terror of a single mistake which could end their lives.
Lasombra ghouls fall into two broad categories. The first are the raft of accountants, lawyers and bankers that the Lasombra need to keep the finances rolling in, and perhaps these are the luckier of the two groups - as long as the books balance at the end of the day, they'll live to see another one. The second group cater to the Lasombra's difficulty with their own image. Some Lasombra keep an army of personal attendants - scores of ghouls to brush the mistress' hair, do her makeup and dress her. Such attendants are punished severely for infractions. If the hair is not brushed with exactly one hundred strokes, the ghoul might find themselves on the wrong side of the hairbrush, a Potence fuelled hand wielding it. Also due to the Lasombra's curse, ghouls of either stripe might have their faces reduced to identical spider-webs of scar tissue, or be forced to wear featureless white masks.
The Lasombra embrace is notably sadistic. The clan generally has traits that they're looking for: strength of will, ability to manipulate events, self-control, and an ability to evade the limelight for positions of power. When a candidate is identified, the sire will usually "test" the candidate.
Testing, in this case, generally means totally destroying the target's life and seeing how the target reacts. If the candidate falls apart, then he was obviously unworthy of the embrace. If he can continue to survive and even overcome the challenges, then these challenges tend to become more extreme, until the Sire decides that the candidate has demonstrated enough merit and is taken into the night.
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