Even though the members of the Black Hand are often isolated from another and work alone, they have some basic organizational structures. But because the Black Hand’s member are so scattered within the Sabbat own organization (not to speak of the secretive nature of the Black Hand), the Black Hand’s own groups and ranks are often only temporarily given/set up.
Here’s a short list of the the ranks and groups within the Black Hand.
- 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.
- Cadets are trainees of the Black Hand. They have been accepted as candidates, but they’re not yet initiated into full membership in the Hand. This puts them even lower in rank than a rookie.
- A Rookie is a member of the Black Hand who has participated in less than three missions. They are the newly initiated members of the Black Hand, formally known as Mustajib (“deserving ones”).
- “Shakar” (pl. Shakari) is the formal (Assamite) term for an assassin, but among the younger operatives of the Black Hand, slang terms such as “eraser”, “hit man”, and even “terminator” have become equally popular, particularly among those who do not actually function as assassins themselves.
- Removers are the brute strength and paramilitary muscle of the Black Hand, the Cainites whom the dominion can point at an obstacle and simply tell them to “remove” that obstacle.
- A Watch Commander, also known as “Field Marshall“, is an intermediary rank within the Black Hand. He is the leader of the Black Hand operations in a given territory.
- A Second serves a Dominion or Seraph as his trusted right hand and second-in-command (a Seraph’s second has the rank of dominion), whose responsibility it is to see that her supervisor’s orders are carried out.
- Dominions compose a permanent rank between the Seraphim and the rest of the Black Hand members. The dominions are the senior executive officers, the mission commanders who oversee anything from a small operation involving only a single Kamut to a full-scale siege.
- A Seraph (pl. Seraphim) is a Black Hand general, who answer only to the Regent of the Sabbat, and who collectively has absolute authority over all members of the Black Hand. The office of Seraph was created in honor of the fallen Assamite warrior, Dastur Anosh.
In the World of Darkness, the Inquisition is an organization within the Roman Catholic Church tasked to rid the world of evil and heresy in all its forms in the name of God. Part of the Inquisition is the Society of Leopold. The Society specifically pursue and fight supernaturals, as they believe that all supernaturals are part of the army of the Antichrist. They are a major threat to every group of supernaturals because of their extensive knowledge, training, equipment, preparation and fanatical zeal.
The roots of the Society of Leopold go back to the Roman days, but the official formation of the group goes back to 1231, when Leopold von Murnau, a German Dominican, was granted special dispensation by Pope Gregory IX. to combat supernatural evil. The following centuries saw quite a few ups and downs, until in 1908 Pius X reorganized the Society, and gave them the freedom to act more independently from the Catholic Church.
With the publication of the V20 Dread Names book (on June 24th, 2015), the list of vampires on the Red List has been updated. There are some old acquaintances, but also nearly half of them haven’t been on the “old” Red List. (And for these six new vampires currently no VTES cards exists).
- Kemintiri (Followers of Set) – Trophy Clan: Ventrue
- Petaniqua (Baali) – Trophy Clan: Malkavians
- Dylan (Bruce) (Ventrue antitribu) – Trophy Clan: Tremere
- Valerius Maior (Tremere antitribu) – Trophy Clan: Tremere
- Karen Anotos (Gangrel) – Trophy Clan: Gangrel
- Ayisha Jocastian (Malkavian) – Trophy Clan: Ventrue
- Francisca Santos dos Rodriguez (Lasombra) – Trophy Clan: Brujah
- Count Germaine (Brujah) – Trophy Clan: Toreador
- Alex Swift – Trophy Clan: Gangrel
- Christopher Barrow (mortal?) – Trophy Clan: Gangrel
- Kyoko Shinsegawa (Tremere) – Trophy Clan: Toreador
- Raymond Narcisse (Toreador) – Trophy Clan: Brujah
- Rabbat (Nosferatu) – Trophy Clan: Nosferatu
The links refer to the White Wolf Wikia pages with some background information on these Red List vampires.
Among the stories’ passed around the fire at Sabbat esbats or at the communal haven are the exploits of the Black Hand Shakar known only as the Ebony Fox. Most stories identify the Fox as an Assamite of great skill and tenacity, with a quick wit and clever tongue. These stories typically feature daring escapes, dazzling martial arts and the gruesome details of the killings. The Ebony Fox has become a veritable legend, particularly among the assassin groupies who make collecting the known lore and tidbits about the elusive shaker almost an obsession.
In fact, the Ebony Fox is a creation of the Nosferatu antitribu known as Tarbaby Jack as a piece of Sabbat propaganda. Tarbaby’s greatest success came when the Camarilla Justicar Cock Robin declared a Blood Hunt on the infamous Ebony Fox after the Final Death of his mentor and sire, Petrodon. Needless to say, the Ebony Fox has thus far skillfully eluded all attempts to capture or destroy him. Tarbaby Jack, on the other hand, was recently elevated to dominion, and plans to do the same for the Fox, as soon as he comes up with a sufficiently spectacular story.
VTES Cards with reference to the Ebony Fox:
The Treaty of Tyre was a truce called between the Camarilla and clan Assamite in 1496. The Camarilla agreed to call off all hostilities towards the clan and stop contracting Assamite assassins, whereas the Assamites agreed to cease their practice of diablerie against Camarilla members , dismantle the defences of their stronghold Alamut, and no longer work as assassins. The Assamite subsequently submitted to a blood curse imposed by the Tremere to prevent any member of the Assamite clan from committing diablerie.
The Treaty followed ten years of violence and near-open warfare between the Camarilla and the Assamites, begun in 1486 when the Camarilla called a Blood Hunt against them (the first and only time a hunt was called against an entire clan). The conflict would likely have continued indefinitely, probably ending with the death of every Assamite in Europe, had not a lone Nosferatu been found to have somehow breached Alamut’s defences in late 1495. The worrying revelation that their stronghold could be found by Camarilla agents forced the elders of the clan to sue for peace, and they agreed to the Treaty early the next year.
Cards in VTES with reference to the Treaty of Tyre:
- Revocation of Tyre
- Treaty of Tyre Enforced
In the World of Darkness, Golconda is a mystical state of enlightenment where a vampire has shaken off the beast, or at least where the beast and the humanity aspects of a vampire are balanced. Golconda was promised to Caine by the archangel Gabriel, while he was in exiled in the Land of Nod. Although Caine never achieved Golconda, the way to Golconda was supposedly achieved by Saulot after traveling to the East, studying under Hindu gurus.
The word Golconda was originally the name of an ancient city in India famed for its wealth of diamonds, and eventually the word came to be used generically as a synonym for wealth. When Danava mystics first applied the word Golconda to the transcendence beyond the feral vampiric state, they were poetically referring to the “spiritual wealth” that this transcendence brings. Golconda is not the first word that the Danava mystics used to describe this transcendent state, but due to proselytizing by Saulot and other Salubri it is the word most well-known to Western Cainite vampires.
One of the vampire social groups associated with Golconda are the Inconnu . The Inconnu are extremely secretive, and one of the theories about the group is, that they have forsaken the Jyhad in order to pursue Golconda. There are rumors that they have abandoned the eternal struggle during the Middle Ages after the diablerie of Saulot by Tremere and (later) after the Sabbat-Camarilla conflicts resulted in an never-ending conflict.
In the World of Darkness, the Red Star is celestial body, appearing during the Week of Nightmares on July 15th, 1999 and heralding the coming of Gehenna. Initially it was only visible to supernatural beings, and to vampires with Auspex in particular. The Red Star is known under different names by the various supernatural beings: Wormwood to vampires, Anthelios (the anti-sun) to werewolves, Telos to mages, and the Eye of Balor to changelings.
Gehenna is the time when the Antediluvians will rise to consume the blood of all the younger vampires and construct a city in which they will rule for one thousand years. The prophecy of Gehenna is most thoroughly detailed in the Book of Nod, the story of Caine’s banishment and cursing by God.
There was a prominent seer cult named The Heralds of the Red Star, which tried to convince other Kindred that the end is much closer than is widely believed. The cult’s leader, V. Harriet Bakos, then tried to persuade the warring factions to put differences aside in order to survive Gehenna.
There are currently two VTES cards, where the Red Star is depicted, Anthelios the Red Star and The Fourth Cycle.