Sabbat: The Black Hand is a supplement for the Vampire the Masquerade role-playing game. This supplement highlights The Black Hand and how storytellers can implement these types of vampires into their campaigns. This hardbound book is 141 pages of information on The Black Hand with full page art and rules.
The Black Hand are what vampires are scared of in the night. A ruthless group committed solely to the destruction of the progenitors and the endless war against the clans they have undertaken. Not only are these vampires ruthless and terrifying, but they are extremely volatile and adhere to a limited social structure, making them one of the most difficult and dangerous enemies players can face. This supplement will allow storytellers to start adventure seeds and flesh out the threat of the Black Hand for their players.
Those unfamiliar with the Vampire the Masquerade role playing game should start with the core rule book. In short, the overall game is about the inner workings of vampire society that entails backstabbing, lying, diplomacy, violence, and war in the vampire world.
Sabbat: The Black hand is a supplement for the role-playing game and explores the Sabbat, the fanatical rogue vampires that don’t belong to the traditional clans but have become a loose collective to try to destabilize the Masquerade and kill off the progenitors of the vampire clans. The Sabbat are who the other vampires are afraid to see when they look over their shoulders in a dark alley.
This supplement looks to make the Black Hand vampires a scalable antagonist for the storyteller’s campaigns. The nature of The Black Hand as being fragmented and decentralized lends the storyteller a liberal way to implement them into almost any storyline or location.
Chapter one gives a brief overview of what the Sabbat is and how they fit into the broader storylines of the Vampire universe such as the Gehenna war, relations to the Camarilla, and the overall nature of what the Sabbat followers feel towards humanity.
Chapter two goes into detail on each path/ideology that Sabbat vampires can ascribe to. This chapter explores each path’s ethics, storyline affiliations, and disciplines that those vampires would generally excel at. This chapter also includes the gifts, ceremonies, and rituals that these enemy vampires can be given as well as enemy templates.
Chapter three goes deeper into the ideology and how Sabbat vampires adopt their paths and the rituals associated with erasing personal identity within The Black Hand.
Chapter four explores the Sabbat’s role in the Gehenna War and how they impact the war in different regions.
Chapter five finishes the book with storyteller resources such as adventure hooks and situations to implement the Sabbat into their chronicles. This chapter highlights the long-term benefits of implementing the Sabbat into your chronicle and how to do it with the correct pacing.
Using it in Your Game:
Coming into reading this supplement for Vampire, I had already been a Vampire the Masquerade fan from the fiction and comics. This book was absolutely packed with details surrounding the Sabbat. It is well organized and leads you through the different aspects of The Black Hand and how they can be implemented into a chronicle.
The authors do a great job at painting the background and setting for each path of the Sabbat and how you can easily implement them into your game. These vampires are truly scary. They have a fanatical devotion to destabilizing the Masquerade and killing everything that opposes them. Storytellers will easily find a place to start planting seeds of a Sabbat villain group in their chronicle.
Not only that but there are specific rituals and gifts (feats) that these enemy vampires can use to really increase the challenge to player characters.
This book is also gorgeously designed with beautiful full-color art and gloss pages. The layout is easy to follow, and I really enjoyed the narrative note inserts that are found throughout.
If you are a Storyteller for a Vampire the Masquerade chronicle then you absolutely need this book. It adds another layer to having a big scary monster in the dark that can slowly become a threat to your players. Not only will players have rival clans, anarchs, and monsters to worry about but these Sabbat vampires have a completely different agenda that can easily be implemented into your game and have massive story payoffs in the end. You cannot miss out on adding this supplement to your tool belt.
Final Score: 4.5 Stars – An essential supplement that adds a whole different dimension of fanatical enemies to the Vampire the Masquerade universe.
• While there is a glossary, some of the fluff can be dense to newcomers
• Would like to see a few more enemy profiles