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Lasombra

The Lasombra clan has fallen from grace - and its members enjoy it. Simultaneously graceful and predatory, the Lasombra guide - and, when necessary, whip - the Sabbat into an implacable force. Turning their backs upon the humans they once were, Lasombra give themselves wholly over to the dark majesty of the Embrace. Murder, frenzy, predation: Why fear these things, many Lasombra ask, if one is meant to be a vampire ? In contrast to the Tzimisce, though, Lasombra generally seek not to reject all things mortal, but to shape, them for their own pleasure.

The Lasombra have been involved with the Church since its inception, and some Kindred whisper that the clan was instrumental in the spread of the Christian faith. In modern nights, however, Lasombra have turned their backs on that divine institution. There are exceptions, of course, but for the most part, Clan Lasombra bears only contempt for the notion of salvation. In fact, the Lasombra brought many of the Church's rites and rituals into the Sabbat sect, twisting them into mockeries of Christian doctrine. The Lasombra ordained many of the sect's auctoritas and ignoblis ritae, so that the vampires of the Sabbat might never forget who and what they are. Lasombra are best known for their Discipline of Obtenebration, a means by which they call forth a tangible "living" darkness, manipulating it at their whim. Clan doctrine holds that this darkness" is in fact the stuff of the vampiric soul, which has been simultaneously strengthened and corrupted by the Embrace. Through the Curse ofCaine, some Lasombra believe, God has cast them out, and thus it is their duty to build a new order on Earth via the Sabbat. More scientific Lasombra scoff at this superstition, but even they tend to believe that, as vampires, they represent a new and more advanced breed of sentience, one unconcerned with petty human notions of ethics.

Let the milksops of Clan Ventrue burn in the solar fires of martyrdom; the Lasombra are happy with what they are. Naturally, this villainous outlook is not universal among the clan, but many newly Embraced Sabbat Lasombra take great glee in the wanton destruction and vulgar depravity that such a philosophy allows. In striking contrast, some elder Lasombra still maintain their ties to the Church, though even they seem to consider themselves "tools of the Devil." The two groups do see eye to eye on one matter: Members of Clan Lasombra, as consummate manipulators themselves, adamantly refuse to submit to the antiquated whims of the Antediluvians. They fight the Jyhad proudly, but unlike many Kindred, they firmly believe they can win.

The typical Lasombra possesses a gift for manipulation, as well as keen leadership skills. Lasombra are the most common leaders of Sabbat packs, as their motivational and Machiavellian natures make them ideal for orchestrating the movements of the sect. Unfortunately, pride goes hand in hand with this dark nobility, and very few Lasombra acknowledge other vampires as equal, let alone superior.

Nickname: Keepers (as in "my brother's...")

Sect: The Lasombra are the ruling clan of the Sabbat, as much as any clan can be said to "rule" that chaotic body. A few elder Lasombra hold membership in the Camarilla or Inconnu, but such creatures lead lonely and perilous existences.

Appearance: Many Lasombra of elder generations hail from Spanish or Italian stock, and some still show their Moorish or Berber heritage. Lasombra neonates and ancillae, however, run the gamut of cultures and ethnicities. Almost all Lasombra are reasonably attractive, with well-bred, aristocratic features - blue-collar Lasombra are rare, and one hardly sees the callused hands or broken noses of the working class among the Keepers.

Haven: Many young Lasombra disdain private havens, sleeping with the pack and maintaining communal lairs "for the good of the sect." Old habits die hard among the Keepers, though; certain elders maintain ancestral manses or other ostentatious havens.

Background: Lasombra may come from any background, but are typically professionals, politically inclined or well educated. Lasombra tend to be aggressive., both physically and socially; the clan has little interest in weaklings and: does not, hesitate to cull unworthy vampires from its ranks. Lasombra are universally skilled at social discourse and pulling the strings of others - coarse manners are viewed poorly, for the Lasombra are refined monsters.

Character Creation: A Lasombra may have any Demeanor (the better to hide her true Nature!). Most Lasombra favor Social Attributes, though Mental Attributes are prized almost as greatly. Many Keepers cultivate extensive Influence, Status Sabbat) or Resources, and favor Backgrounds more than additional Disciplines or Abilities. Lasombra founded the Path of Night, and this Path has a number of followers in the Keepers' clan (though many choose to follow other Paths of Enlightenment, and some Lasombra keep vestiges of Humanity).

Weaknesses: 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.

Organization: Clan Lasombra's structure is simultaneously formal and open. Respect and homage are afforded to the elder warriors who helped found the Sabbat, but younger members operate with almost no guidance from the clan as an entity. Quarterly meetings, known as conventicles, serve to keep the Lasombra informed as to each other's status, and blooddrinking rituals are performed at these meetings. While no Lasombra is ever told "You may not do that" (at least not publicly), almost all Keepers have a profound respect for tradition. A secret Lasombra coterie known as Les Amies Noir is rumored to hand down "death sentences" on those Keepers who bring undue shame, attention or ignominy to the clan or its members.

Bloodlines: Lasombra antitribu are among the staunchest supporters of the Camarilla, though the sect largely distrusts them. Some of the eldest members of Clan Lasombra hold the Sabbat Lasombra in contempt. Naturally, the Sabbat Lasombra greatly fear these powerful Kindred who oppose them, and nothing rallies rival Lasombra like the rumor of an antitribu in their midst.

Quote: Shadows? Hah! I wield Darkness itself, not mere shadows! Tell me - could a shadow do this?


Stereotypes

Assamite: Useful tools, though a bit too... independent of late.

Brujah: Their fiery passion, once harvested, makes a wonderful means through which to use them toward your own ends.

Followers of Set: Hmm... How best to keep them in Egypt?

Gangrel: Easily excited; terrible, monstrous foes. Agitate them and turn them loose on your enemies.

Giovanni: The tree that does not branch hides rot within.

Malkavian: Madness sometimes offers insight, but usually simply obstructs those who would glean its benefit.

Nosferatu: Useful as flies on the wall when you need them, but Nosferatu tend to draw too many flies themselves.

Ravnos: Rather than deal with them directly, it's best to goad them somewhere else and let whoever dwells there address the problem.

Toreador: They possess the most tortured of unlives, and devious minds often lurk under their flighty facades.

Tremere: Inelegant, yet effective in their own way. Their continued existence certainly keeps the Fiends' attentions constructively channeled.

Tzimisce: Valorous allies and venomous rivals, often simultaneously.

Ventrue: Their potential is dissipated by their weakness. They squander their curse by lurking among mortals.

Caitiff: I find it unimaginable that any of these survive past the initial disappointment of learning what they are.

Camarilla: Acceptable, if you're talking about a kine institution. If you're a blood-sucking devil of the night, though, why hide train those upon whom you prey?

Sabbat: If it would merely listen a little better, it would almost lie worth the effort we invest in it.

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