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What’s in a Sect

While belonging to a Clan (or bloodline) is part who what a Vampire IS, and it can’t be changed (well, there are exceptions, as we already have seen). A Sect is an organization that you chose to BELONG to. Of course, the circumstances of your Embrace (sort vampiric birth), like who is your Sire, which city, and when it happened has lots to do with it, it is not something that is in your blood and you need a super duper arcane magic ritual to switch.


When the game was first published, this was the default sect. It didn’t even say so in the cards, because… of course you are Camarilla. There is nothing else! Beyond the limits of the Camarilla there were only dragons and boogeymen. The Camarilla kept you safe.

The Camarilla, also called the Ivory Tower, is one organization born around between the end of the XIV and the beginning of the XV centuries, as an answer to the First Anarch Revolt, when a lot of younger vampires revolted against their elders. The original founding clans where the Brujah, Gangrel, Malkavian, Nosferatu, Toreador, Tremere, and Ventrue clans. Ruled by an Inner Circle through their appointed Justicars, they enforce the Traditions, designed to maintain the peace and the secrecy of their existence from mortals. Other voting positions in the Camarilla are Prince (leader of a city) and Primogen (eldest vampire of a given clan in a city)
WotC published a couple of further expansions, featuring the first vampires from clans no belonging to the Camarilla. These were the Assamite, Followers of Set, Giovanni, and Ravnos clans. These were simply tagged as Non-Camarilla.

Then, came the boogeymen!


The fourth (or fifth, if you count the reprint of the base set as a different one) and final set by WotC was published. At this point, the sect name started to be explicitly stated on the cards, and Non-Camarilla was no longer enough. All vampires had the Sabbat allegiance stated in bold as the very first word in the text box.

Remember the Camarilla was created as an answer to the First Anarch Revolt? The Sabbat was the evolution of those first anarchs. However, as is the sad fate of most idealistic revolutions trying to get rid of the yoke of their rules, it eventually devolved in something as rigid as what came before. The Sabbat is organized almost like a religious sect, with a Regent at the top, the Priscus council, Archbishops, and Bishops.

One main difference between the Camarilla and the Sabbat is that while the first try to dismiss the mythic origin of vampires, as told in the Book of Nod, the Sabbat embraces their role as descendants of the cursed Caine from the Bible. Many of them are actively bring about Gehenna, the end times, when Caine will return and their enemies will be destroyed.

The Sabbat was formed by the Lasombra and Tzimisce clans, along with those members of the seven clans of the Camarilla who didn’t submit to their rules, called antitribu.


Now that the game had no “default” sect things had to change. Also, the game switched hands and went to WWP. Their first release was a partial reprint of The Sabbat set, under the name Sabbat War. Much like the original, all vampires belonged to the Sabbat. All of them? Well, all except one. Lucita, a wayward member of the Lasombra clan was not Sabbat. A Non-Camarilla clause was no longer enough, and a Non-Camarilla, Non-Sabbat one didn’t make sense. She was the first Independent vampire, and all previously published Non-Camarilla ones were retroactively errataed as just Independents.

While functionally a sect, in the sense that playing a card may require an Independent vampire, like it may require a Camarilla or Sabbat one, it is not really a sect in the sense of a common philosophy or outlook. Independents really don’t have a sect.

Further sets would print new vampires, with Camarilla vampires now explicitly printed with their Camarilla trait. Also, more and more Sabbat and Independent vampires where printed, and in general they mostly kept their allegancie to the default of their clans. There were several outliers thought, including some plot twists and reveals.


One of the few sets after Sabbat War a set called the Anarchs was published. However at this point the Anarchs were not a proper Sect. There was a mechanic to make a Vampire to become Independent and gain Anarch as a trait, but strangely enough there was no Anarch printed in the Anarchs set. Anarchs would become their only sect only many years later with the game in the hands of Black Chantry, and with the coming of the Second Anarch Revolt.


But before this, another sect was featured. First on the Legacies of Blood set, then again on the Ebony Kingdom mini-set.

The Laibon are an Africa-based sect. They are formed by the Akunanse, Guruhi, Ishtarri and Osebo bloodlines (or legacies), along with several lone members of other clans.


Absolutely not a Sect, and absolutely not vampires. These are the Imbued, human hunters of the supernatural, they even have different card types and mechanics used exclusively by them. However, in exclusively in mechanic terms you could consider them a sect. This mini-set was probably the least popular and lowest ever in the history of vampire. Because they were very self contained, there was nothing for regular players to better their existing decks, only making completely new decks based on their new rules. It was almost a completely separate game under the same overall framework.


With the nearing of Gehenna and the cataclysmic events surrounding it, there have been several changes in the fate and composition of the sects. First came the defection of the Gangrel from the Camarilla; while there are still some that still belong to the sect and even hold important positions within it, most net Gangrels are now Independent. While this was a fairly civilized deal, the one of the Brujah some time later was really bloody, and left the Camarilla reeling from the impact. Lead by Theo Bell, trusted enforcer during centuries, the Brujah rebeled and headed the Second Anarch Rebellion. This lead to the creating of the Anarchs as their own sect. The rebellion affected the Sabbat even harder. Effectively, the Anarchs have taken their position as counterweight to the Camarilla, and retreated into hiding.

But as the Camarilla “lost” two Clans, they also gained a few ones. The Banu Haqim (previously know as Assamites) had a serious and bloody rift, and the largest part of them joined the Camarilla.

The Followers of Set (now The Ministry) tried to join the Camarilla. However, they weren’t accepted as a whole. A few were, individually, others joined the Anarchs, and most remain independent.


The Giovanni have suffered great changes. During the Family reunion, they joined together with other Cappadocian related offshoots into a larger clan called the Hecata. Sometime soon hopefully this year 2024, we will see what the designers at Black Chantry have done with this new clan, made up of the bits of the old one. One big change is that their discipline of Necromancy has been subsumed into Oblivion. Will they continue to be Independent?

Speaking of which, Oblivion also incorporates Obtenebration, previously the signature discipline of the Lasombra. With the “fall” of the Sabbat, Lasombra are on the wind. As with the Hecata, we will see son what their allegiances are, probably a mix of Anarchs, Camarilla, and Independent.

Further on the horizon, there are new Sabbat decks on the making. We have already gotten an Anarch Tzimisce deck, and it is to be expected that there will be a Sabbat version. Will it by significantly different in playstyle?


The Ashirra are a sect of vampires based on North Africa and the Middle East. Their main distinguishing characteristic is that they follow Islam. They are currently allied with the Camarilla. Religion is always a delicate matter, so it is risky to even touch. Probably, even if the designers at Black Chantry were willing to do it, the risk-averse IP holder would balk at it.

The Inconnu are the Illuminati equivalent of vampires. Rumored to be composed of very old and powerful vampires that have reached Golconda (sort of the vampire Nirvana), they are believed to manipulate even the manipulators. In that case, wouldn’t the Inconnu be none others that the players of VTES themselves?

The Bahari. If the Book of Nod is an obscure “lost chapter” from the Bible telling the true story of Caine, the Revelations of the Dark Mother is more obscure yey; heretical even. According to the Bahari, Lilith, the First Woman, cast out of Eden and substituted by Eve, was the one who taught Caine magic (Disciplines) to offset the curse of God. There were several promo cards around Lilith in the final times of WoD time. Maybe there were plans of developing some sort of Bahari sect next?

The Kuei-jin. Also called Kindred of the East, are not really vampires. The challenge would be not to fall in the same trap as with the Imbued. To design both the crypt and library cards so that enough of them were usable outside with the rest.

Look for Clan and Sect based searches here!


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