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Christopher Kobar et al

Lasombra
You may rule from the shadows, but I am the shadows.
The Ventrue lineage called Lasombra flourishes in Spain and Italy, though members of the bloodline have moved to other countries as well. Potentially over a hundred Lasombra now walk the night, an impressive number for a bloodline thats just five centuries old. According to accepted histories, the bloodline began with a Ventrue named Betriz, a Spanish abbess Embraced in the kingdom of Aragon during the 14th century. Betriz maintained connections with the royal family of Aragon, and stronger connections with select members of the Spanish church hierarchy. Her undeath and damnation did not quench Betrizs piety. If anything, her devotion burned stronger. Betriz never claimed that she drove the Christian reconquista of Spain from the Moors, but she certainly became an important supporter in the long struggle. During the 15th century, Betriz fought and destroyed a mortal mage. As a result, Betriz developed a shadow-shaping Discipline that she called Obtenebration. Other Kindred learned to fear its eerie power and dubbed her La Sombra Prelada, the Shadow Abbess. Betriz also rose to become the Sanctified Bishop of Barcelona and, in time, its Cardinal. In the 16th century, Betriz sired eight childer (an unprecedented number within just 100 years) and maneuvered them into positions of power throughout Spain and Aragons possession in Italy. Her childer followed Betrizs example by cultivating influence within the Roman Catholic Church. They also inherited her mastery of Obtenebration. By the early 18th Century, her descendants achieved general recognition among Europes Kindred as a distinct bloodline, the Lasombra. Cardinal Betriz remained one of Europe s most powerful Kindred, in blood, descendants and mortal influence, into the 18th century and despite two voluntary torpors. She disappeared after a fire destroyed her haven. Some Kindred in Barcelona, and many of her descendants, suspect that Betriz still exists but chooses to exercise power from even deeper in the shadows. The Lasombra stand out as some of the most ambitious and despotic members of an ambitious and despotic clan. The Confessors seldom play the emotional games of other Ventrue. They prefer the mastery of Dominate and the subtle terrors of Obtenebration and a great deal of blackmail. Lasombra have a reputation for moving among their enemies as unnoticed shadows, hearing their secrets. These confession, however, only remain secret if the Kindred do what the Lasombra wants. The Confessors are also not above threatening the kine associates of their victims. Many Lasombra keep a connection to the Roman Catholic Church and wrap their ruthless power-mongering in a cloak of religious authority as the mailed left fist of God. These Lasombra repeat Betrizs argument that the Kindred have a place in Gods plan. They are the evil that exists to remind mortals to fear God and seek His protection, and to punish mortals when they stray. The Lasombra claim the right to rule other Kindred because they see this duty most clearly. Some of them even believe it. Parent Clan: Ventrue Nickname: Confessors Covenant: Most Lasombra join the Lancea Sanctum. They have become an important force in the sect, and they supply some of the Sanctifieds leading ideologues. Their moral influence stretches far beyond Europe. Invictus Lasombra tend to care less about the forms of tradition and more about maintaining power over kine and other Kindred. Some of the youngest Lasombra chafe at the slow pace of advancement in the Invictus and the Sanctified, and they turn to the Ordo Dracul or Carthians in hopes of gaining power more quickly in these less traditional sects. So far, few Lasombra join the Circle of the Crone, and the notion of an unaligned Lasombra sounds more like a joke than any Confessors true political stance. The Confessors in other covenants still tend to keep strong ties to Sanctified Lasombra. In fact, it s not unusual for Lasombra to serve as double agents within a covenant pretending to serve the goals and believe the doctrines of a covenant, while actually remaining loyal to the Lancea Sanctum. Loyalty to the bloodline, however, often trumps all other allegiances. Appearance: So far, most Lasombra come from Spanish or Italian stock (including Sardinia and Corsica). They show the same range of appearance as south European mortals, from the duskiness of a part-Moorish Andalusian to the blonde hair of a part-Nordic Lombard. They dress as tastefully and expensively as other Ventrue do. Some young Lasombra follow more contemporary, radical-chic fashions, such as fine leather jackets instead of tailored silk suits or clerical habits. Haven: Many Lasombra seek luxurious havens that reflect their own wealth and power, such as secluded mansions, flashy condominiums or pricy townhouses. The fraction that operates within the Church (or at least appears to do so) often lodges

Christopher Kobar et al
within churches or small monasteries, enslaving the priest or other residents as their retainers. Background: The Lasombra look for ambition in prospective childer. Some prefer to look among the upper classes, who accept power as their due. Others prefer to watch the lower and middle classes, for people with the will to lift themselves from humble origins. Most new Lasombra follow professional concepts. The bloodline retains an edge of piety as well. Some Lasombra still prefer to take childer from holy orders, and few Lasombra childer were notably irreligious before the Embrace. Confessors who were in holy orders when alive may adopt other occupations in undeath, as part of their personal Masquerade. Many Lasombra cultivate contacts, allies or influence within the Church (or Catholic lay orders such as Opus Dei), though they take power wherever they can get it. For all their aristocratic pretensions, few Lasombra scruple to gain influence among the lower classes. Unlike some Ventrue lineages, the Lasombra recruit from women as much as men. Bloodline Disciplines: Dominate, Majesty, Obtenebration, Resilience Weakness: The Lasombra retain the Ventrues propensity for madness. In the case of Lasombra who operate within the Church, derangement often takes the form of religious obsession. For instance, a Confessor might refuse to conduct serious business with another Kindred until they both scourge themselves and pray for God to forgive their sins. Lasombra also suffer a greater fear of sunlight and fire than other Kindred. The 10 again rule does not apply to Lasombra for rolls to resist fear frenzies triggered by flame or light. Additionally, any 1s that come up on the roll subtract from successes. (This latter part of the weakness does not affect dramatic failure rules.) Organization: Barcelona remains the center of the bloodline. Betrizs eldest surviving childe still rules the city s Kindred as her viceroy. Sires stay in contact with their childer, even after centuries of separation. Elder Lasombra often demand that their childers childer spend at least a year under their grandsires training, to make sure they can uphold Lasombra tradition and prestige. Concepts: Priest to the Damned, mob boss, shadowy headmistress, high-class madam, business tycoon, political consultant, retired army officer, Our Lady of the Addicts Betriz distinguished herself through her writing. A collection of her mystical meditations on the suffering of Christ and the martyrs was popular for a time (though now known only to a few historians). She also wrote a series of letters to kings and nobles exhorting them to war against the Moors who still ruled part of the Iberian peninsula. In time, Betriz political skills and piety made her abbess of a Dominican nunnery in Barcelona. They also brought her to the attention of Bohemund of Marsala. This Norman knight from Sicily fought in the Crusades before his Embrace into the Ventrue clan. Two centuries of undeath did not quench Bohemunds desire to reclaim Christian territory from the Paynim. He saw Betriz as a tool to promote the reconquest of the Iberian peninsula. Betriz spent ten years as Bohemunds ghoul, making contacts among Aragons nobility and bishops and arranging her affairs for after her transition to undeath. Betriz remained abbess for 20 years after her Embrace. Eventually, she faked her death and left the abbey, though not Barcelona. Betriz remained powerful in the Church, however, by enslaving nuns and priests to her blood and her will. Many noble daughters of Aragon received Betriz the Dominican tutelage. Those who became nuns joined Betriz propaganda machine, while the girls who returned home passed Betriz s views to their families. It was soft power, but she could open many doors to other Kindred through her aristocratic and Church connections. She also gained a stable of informants about the plans and activities of the nobility. Like her sire, Betriz joined the Lancea Sanctum. Undeath did not reduce her piety. Her tracts on the role of the Kindred as Gods scourge against mortal wickedness remain popular in that covenant. Early in the Fifteenth Century, she became the Sanctifieds Bishop in Barcelona. Betriz secret influence within the Church attracted less welcome attention, too. In 1448, she clashed with a mortal mystic, a fellow Dominican who possessed magical powers. Although this monks sorcery made him as much a violation of the order s doctrines as Betriz, he sought to destroy the vampire and purge her influence from the Church. Their duel lasted a full year, as they hunted each others servants and allies. The monk finally found the vampires haven and tried to expel her into the Outer Darkness of destruction. Instead, Betriz slew the mystical monk, a deed that further raised her prestige among Barcelona s Kindred and helped her become a primogen several years later. No one knew right away that the monks curse changed Betriz potent vitae. Only Betriz herself knew when her power over shadow first manifested. She kept her new Discipline secret for decades. Only much later did other Kindred realize how Betriz must have spied on them in the form of a shadow. By 1500, the onetime abbess arranged her promotion from primogen to prince and cardinal, as one of the most powerful Kindred in the new kingdom of Spain. Her new rank brought Betriz new enemies, from primogen who sought to usurp her in turn to jealous rivals within her own covenant. A group of Carthians tried to murder Betriz in 1512, and she escaped by turning into a shadow. Much to her annoyance, did not manage to destroy or drive away the Carthians before they told other Kindred about Betriz power. Her

History
Until the Nineteenth Century, the history of the Lasombra was the history of its founder, the Shadow Abbess Betriz. For centuries, she shaped the Lasombra into an instrument of her will. Some Kindred wonder if she still guides the bloodline from the shadows or from beyond the shadow of Final Death.

Life and Death


Betriz Maria de Castrovejo y Gasset was born near the end of the Thirteenth Century. She came from a noble family of Aragon. She distinguished herself at an early age for fervent piety. Noble families often sent sons and daughters into the Church to watch out for their interests in that powerful institution. Her parents readily acceded to Betriz desire to become a Dominican nun.

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primogen council demanded that Betriz demonstrate and explain her power, which made it common knowledge among all Barcelonas Kindred. Betriz new Discipline, with her remaining ties to the Roman Catholic Church, immediately led to her nickname of the Shadow Abbess. Her Mekhet primogen coined the name of Obtenebration for the new Discipline. Becoming known as the inceptor of a Discipline raised Betriz prestige even further among the Lancea Sanctum, and reinforced her rule over Barcelonas Kindred. No one dared to challenge the Shadow Abbess. Betriz used her immense prestige to fight a new foe she considered deadlier than any she faced before: the Reformation. Betriz wanted the Lancea Sanctum to silence Martin Luther and his followers. After centuries of undeath and predation, the Shadow Abbess still considered herself a loyal daughter of Holy Mother Rome and took Luthers defiance as an attack on Christ Himself. She soon found the limits of her influence in the covenant. Bishops in other cities considered the Reformation a merely mortal affair, or they did not want to be seen following another Sanctifieds lead. A number of anonymous tracts circulated through the Lancea Sanctum, accusing Betriz of seeking to become a She-Pope of the covenant. Since the Shadow Abbess found herself without Kindred allies who shared her obsession, she made her own. No Kindred known has equaled Betriz record of siring eight childer in one century. She also adopted four Ventrue neonates. All her childer came from Church backgrounds as priests, monks, nuns and lay devotees. Once she considered each childe adequately trained, she sent him or her to another city to work their way into the Lancea Sanctum or Ventrue power structures and oppose the Reformation any way they could. Most of her childer hid their identities. A few operated openly as envoys from the Shadow Abbess to princes or bishops who sought her favor for one reason or another. Early in the Seventeenth Century, Betriz found the potency of her own blood too much a burden and entered a voluntary torpor. Her eldest childe, Monsignor Tebaldo dArroscas, ruled Barcelonas Kindred as her proxy during her torpor. During his regency, the Monsignor proved that he knew Obtenebration. After Betriz awoke and resumed the cardinalcy, she ceased siring childer but continued to adopt other Ventrue into what Barcelonas Kindred now acknowledged as a distinct bloodline, the Lasombra. The rest of Europe took longer to learn about the Lasombra, since so many Confessors hid their identities. The Shadow Abbess continued to exhort the Lancea Sanctum to support Holy Mother Church against Protestant heresy, but her influence evaporated beyond Barcelona. Other Sanctified elders still respected Betriz for her work at developing and explaining the covenants doctrines, but her campaign against a social movement now centuries old made younger Sanctified view her as a crackpot. In 1839, Betriz haven a small nunnery shed used for decades burned down during the day. Barcelonas Kindred presumed the Shadow Abbess had met Final death at last. Very few of Barcelonas Kindred believed the fire was an accident. One popular theory suggests that a group of primogen arranged the cardinals murder to clear the way for new leadership. Another theory says that rivals in the Lancea Sanctum murdered Betriz. Other Kindred speculate that Monsignor dArroscas did it, to secure his sires job for good. A few Kindred even wonder if Betriz burned herself as a suicide so she could face Gods judgment at last, or to fake her Final Death as part of a deeplaid scheme. After a year of infighting, Monsignor dArroscas established himself as her successor. Betriz childe refused to take the titles of prince, bishop or cardinal, though. He declared himself merely the regent of Betriz, until God chose to return her. The Monsignor met Final Death himself during the chaos of the Spanish Civil War. Betriz next childe, a former nun like Betriz named Corazn Almagro, took the regency in turn and remains leader of Barcelonas Kindred. Unfortunately for romantics with fantasies of Betriz returning to power in the guise of her own childe, the citys elders remember many times when Betriz and Corazn were seen together. The Twentieth Century saw steady expansion of the Lasombra. The bloodline chiefly grew through Embrace; adoption of Ventrue neonates declined without Betriz powerful blood and driving will to build an organization throughout Europe. Several Lasombra made the perilous journey to other continents. At least two dozen Lasombra now dwell in Latin America, and smaller numbers occupy North America and the Philippines. The bloodlines most rapid growth now occurs in these colonial regions rather than in Europe.

Society and Culture


The Lasombra never suffered any serious conflict within its ranks. Some Confessors cut their ties to the Shadow Abbess, but no Lasombra directly challenged her leadership of the bloodline. While Betriz existed, most Lasombra schooled their childer in loyalty and obedience as carefully as the Shadow Abbess trained them. The bloodline no longer pretends to serve one overriding goal. The Lasombra retain strong loyalty to each other, though. A Confessor must work to sever ties with the rest of her bloodline.

After Betriz
The Cardinals campaign to quash the Reformation proved almost totally ineffectual. A few dozen Kindred simply could not control events on an international scale. By the Eighteenth Century, some of Betrizs childer gave up the project as hopeless, and simply tried to acquire power in the Lancea Sanctum, the Roman Catholic Church and the secular world. Betriz, shielded by distance from her childer, did not know how far they strayed and took another voluntary torpor. Once again, Monsignor dArroscas served as her regent. By the time she woke again, the Lasombra were widely known in Europe as new but large bloodline.

Cestus Dei
Members of the Lancea Sanctum often study Cestus Dei, a collection of Betriz commentaries on the Testament of Longinus. The title roughly translates as Gods Brass Knuckles. Older Lasombra, most of them Betriz childer or adoptees, still insist that sires catechize their childer from Cestus Dei. Few

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Lasombra now follow Betriz teachings in every detail, but the book still shapes the attitudes of many Confessors. This slim volume puts forth the argument that undeath is not some pointless curse inflicted on humanity. Rather, God created vampires to serve as His instrument to test and punish a sinful humanity. Just as God permitted Satan to torment Job as a test of his faith, the Kindred may tempt and torment mortals to expose their secret sins. A sin committed in thought consigns one to Hell just as surely as one committed in the flesh; but sin can only be exposed and punished once a person actually commits an evil deed. Therefore, vampires should push mortals to act on whatever vices lurk in their hearts: Once a mortal confronts his own depravity, he will repent and ask God s forgiveness if he is truly righteous at heart, whereas he might have died unrepentant and damned otherwise. If a mortal refuses to repent, he should die, so he cannot lead other people into sin. The greatest sins, Betriz argued, are despair and lack of faith in God. Through their depredations, vampires automatically tempt mortals with the sin of despair, through fear for their own lives and grief at the deaths of their loved ones. Cestus Dei encourages vampires to prolong the hunt, giving the victim s fear time to grow. The book also recommends that vampires make their feeding as frightening as possible: Terror shall teach mortals how quickly death may come, and so impel them to make peace with God. Those who fear God, Betriz reminds her readers, have nothing to fear from death. Betriz taught her childer, however, not to kill a victim begged Gods forgiveness and protection not unless they were sure the mortal had recently attended Mass, or had received confession and absolution. She considered it unjust to kill anyone whose fate after death lay in doubt: A mortal who died before the Church could shrive him might still go to Hell despite his repentance. Many Lasombra, and other Sanctified, dispute the point and argue that a repentant but unshriven victim merely goes to Purgatory. Others suggest that a mortal who dies while praying has a better chance of Heaven than at any other time, so this is the best time to kill a victim. Cestus Dei has more to say about the Kindreds duties when people commit evil openly and without repentance. In this case, Betriz exhorts her readers to strike in Gods name with all their power to make an example of the evildoers that will terrify others and remind them of their duty to God. When a mortal responds to temptation and terror with resolute faith and virtue, however, Cestus Dei tells Lasombra to rejoice and thank God. The chance to witness true holiness is a gift greater than rubies and sweeter than vitae. Betriz exhorts her readers to defend such holy mortals as fervently as they tested them before, even to sacrificing their unlives. Following Betriz own example, Lasombra often write accounts of mortals who resisted their worst torments, or who confessed their crimes and found their way back to righteousness. Such testaments help Lasombra and other Sanctified combat despair at their own damnation.

Power in the Shadows


Vampires supernatural gifts are not enough for them to serve as Gods Brass Knuckles. They need worldly power as well. Betriz particularly sought influence in the Roman Catholic Church, because she considered it the most important of all institutions. The Church needed the most protection, and the most severe testing to winnow out sin. Betriz also came from an age when the Church could humble kings, or at least strongly encourage them to negotiate. She never really accepted the Church s decline in power. Therefore, she helped her childer build influence in the Church, as she did herself. Betriz never told her childer or disciples to restrict themselves to the Church, though. In fact, she taught them to use their influence in the Church as a springboard to any sort of power they could find, over Kindred and kine alike. Lasombra seek influence in business, politics, Kindred society and everywhere else, just like other Ventrue, but they have a few favored venues and methods. Their Disciplines provide their first avenue of power. The Lasombra discard their parent clans facility with Animalism; Betriz did not consider animals very useful as tools. She wanted to control the emotions of Kindred and kine, not just their thoughts, and so she gave her childer an aptitude for Majesty instead. Kindred who encounter Lasombra often note the Confessor s readiness to employ both supernatural charisma and outright mind control in pursuit of their goals. Lasombra often use both Disciplines when they recruit mortal minions. Majesty removes a mortals will to resist: He wants to believe whatever the Confessor tells him, and then Dominate adjusts his thoughts and memories so he thinks his new goals are his own idea. Lasombra often condition their minions to incredible loyalty. The Confessors chief use for Obtenebration is to spy on other people. Vampires often keep the lights low anyway, so who would notice one more shadow? Lasombra use their unique Discipline in many other ways, though. Vampires spend much of their time in darkness; but even a vampire might not notice an area of even deeper darkness where a Lasombra might hide. Animating shadows and changing their shape can provoke vague disquiet or stark fear, depending on how obvious the Lasombra makes the alterations. Lasombra can also use shadow-play to send simple, silent messages: While a Confessor talks about one subject, shadows act out playlets about something else, or twist into words. A Lasombra who fully masters the Discipline can reach almost any place she can see: Just about every location a vampire might go has a shadow nearby. For instance, a Confessor who wants to kill someone inside a locked building could look through an uncurtained window, step into a shadow, and emerge from another shadow inside the building and then leave the same way, leaving a perfect locked-room mystery. Disciplines, however, merely ease the way in gathering power over Kindred and kine. Many Lasombra still use the Church as their first avenue of mortal power. In strongly Catholic countries such as Spain, Italy or Mexico, the Church remains highly influential. Priests (and to a lesser degree, nuns and friars) in-

Christopher Kobar et al
teract with mortals from every level of society; few doors are closed to them, and this mere fact of access is a useful commodity a Lasombra can sell to other Kindred. They hear confessions a valuable source of information for blackmail, or simply to learn the passions and vices by which a mortal may be tempted, bought or threatened. The spiritual authority of the Church compels obedience from the faithful: Congregations offer a reserve of political power, mobs to put pressure on secular authorities, or simply a pool of labor. Lay orders are especially useful for the Lasombra, since their members tend to be especially fervent and loyal to each other: Ambitious people in business and politics may join a lay order simply for the chance to network conveniently gathering them in one body for a Lasombra to cultivate them as contacts or enthrall them as minions. Tithes and Church properties can finance other ventures. Church-run schools place the children of the faithful in a Lasombras claws, to indoctrinate or hold as hostages for their parents good behavior. Exploiting the Church demands a lot of careful work from a Lasombra, though. The faithful usually expect to see their priest during the day, at some point or another. Lasombra usually find they must drop out of direct Church participation and work through mortal proxies, or at least use mortals to cover for them: Im sorry, you just missed Father Alvarez, but maybe he can see you this evening. Even the most pious congregant may also grow suspicious if their local priest, monk or nun keeps recruiting them for projects or protest rallies that have nothing to do with Church affairs or their own lives. For instance, a Confessor might have trouble convincing a Catholic contractor that adding secret chambers to a churchs crypt is a pious activity. The Church also watches its own finances closely: A Lasombra might explain funneling money into a new software company as a venture to build the Churchs assets, but a (mortal) archbishops auditor might look askance at payoffs to local crime bosses. Despite these difficulties, a clever and circumspect Lasombra can leverage influence in the Church into a spreading web of secret power they can turn against their rivals, or sell to their supplicants. Betriz taught her childer to shirk from no crime or betrayal in their pursuit of power. They were already Damned; their deeds were redundant. On the other hand, she also drilled into her childer that nothing they did was for themselves. Every deed, and all the power they gained, they must dedicate to the greater glory of God. The Lord would not pardon them because of their devotion, but they must serve Him anyway. At most, God might reward the Damned by granting them annihilation after Final Death instead of the eternal torment given to the unrepentant and defiant. Most Lasombra prefer not to combat what they perceive as heresy or evil through direct attack. They regard themselves as priests, not soldiers. Confessors prefer to recruit other people, Kindred or kine, to perform any violence. Lasombra dont get their way by threatening to beat people up, or even through the direct use of Dominate and Majesty to compel obedience. More often, a Confessor obtains service by threatening someone s reputation, assets, or loved ones or simply by possessing the authority to give a command.

Favored Offices
Like other Ventrue, Confessors usually seek offices and titles in Kindred society, and often obtain them. They favor some offices more than others though of course, every Lasombra creates her own career. Any statement about most Confessors might not apply to any particular individual. A Lasombra may also take whatever office she can, and make the most of it until some more congenial position becomes available. The Lasombra often make their own job openings. Prince: The highest Kindred office is not the one most sought-after by Lasombra. While the Prince wields the greatest authority in a Kindred community, he also attracts the most envy and hatred. Many Lasombra prefer to take offices with a lower profile to be the kingmaker rather than the king. So far, the few Lasombra Princes all belong to the Lancea Sanctum and therefore use the title of Archbishop. Seneschal: Many Lasombra would rather be Seneschal than Prince. The Princes Shadow an unofficial nickname for a Lasombra Seneschal can easily become his gatekeeper, screening the Princes information as well as his petitioners. The Seneschal often handles night-to-night administration of the Princes properties as well, and many Lasombra relish this sort of direct, hands-on control. Herald: On the other hand, most Lasombra consider the Heralds post demeaning. The Herald is too much a subordinate, with too little authority of his own. A Lasombra Herald faces great temptation to misuse her role as the Prince s proxy, and issue commands she thinks the Prince ought to give. Primogen: The Lasombra are simply too new for many of them to reach this office, which often requires seniority as well as raw power. Priscus: Some older Lasombra manage to become Priscus for the local Ventrue. Any Confessor who achieves this office must be exceptionally ruthless, cunning and power-hungry even by the standards of this ambitious and competitive clan. Since the Priscus power depends entirely on her reputation and skill as an arranger, troubleshooter and power-broker for her clan, without the veneer of legitimacy and accountability that accompany other offices, many Lasombra consider this the perfect title. Whip: Lasombra who prefer direct coercion through Disciplines and threats to more subtle forms of persuasion often seek this office. Whips who also belong to the Lancea Sanctum often bully their fellow Ventrue to support Sanctified theology and attend the covenants ceremonies, even if they aren t members. A Lasombra Whip who tries to avoid this conflict of interest may come under pressure from her bishop to represent the Lancea Sanctums interests. Harpy: Most Lasombra disdain this office. Betriz had little respect for public opinion in pursuing what she thought was right and necessary. She taught her childer to share her contempt, making the Lasombra notably unfriendly to Harpies. Sheriff: Though few Confessors seek this office, the few who achieve it tend to be frighteningly enthusiastic about their

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job. The Sheriff has an active mandate to ferret out secrets and force other Kindred to obey. Sanctified Sheriffs may believe they uphold the laws of God as well as the Prince, and view inquisition and punishment as holy acts. Such zeal can lead to conflicts with their nominal master, who may want some crimes to remain hidden. Hound: Lasombra often regard this office as too servile, but some Confessors enjoy the license to push around other Kindred. Master of Elysium: Lasombra who achieve this office generally make a mockery of it. Confessors face the temptation to spy on their guests or temper with their minds, seeking influence for themselves instead of providing a neutral ground where other Kindred can gather safely. The Lasombra are hardly alone in this temptation, but perhaps they give in to it more easily than other vampires might. Regent: The Lasombra actually prefer regency over unconventional domains. The Regent over a domain defined by an institution or sphere of activity can push the boundaries of his authority more easily than can a vampire whose tenurial domain is defined by geography. If the Prince says a vampire s regency extends to 30th Street, that vampire cannot easily argue he thought the Prince meant 35th Street instead. Where, however, does authority over monitoring the police end, or media control? A Lasombra who goes too far can simply apologize for his excessive zeal in seeking control over his delegated institution, and thank the Prince for clarifying the limits of his power. Regents often clash over the limits of their domains, but the aggressive Lasombra are more likely to relish such conflicts than avoid them. Their favorite domain is, of course, the Church. A Prince often finds that a local Confessor is the go-to guy for anything dealing with the Church, and formally recognizes that influence through a regency. A Confessor can turn nearly any institution or profession into a tool, however and such a tenurial domain may entitle the Lasombra to enter and meddle in hunting territories and geographical domains throughout the city. Of course, many Lasombra seek offices in the Lancea Sanctum as well as in general Kindred society. Bishop: For Lasombra who prefer covenant politics, this is the highest honor they can attain. Zealous Confessors often feel they are especially well qualified to lead their fellow Sanctified and keep them focused on their covenant s holy mission. Only a cardinalcy, like Betriz, could hold greater attraction. Priest: Few Lasombra dont try to become Priest to their pack. After all, not a few of them held some holy office in life, and the bloodlines tradition encourages them to see undeath as a continuation of their duties (however twisted). Any Lasombra who joins a multi-covenant coterie certainly faces pressure to promote Sanctified views to other members. Even if a Confessor doesnt join the Lancea Sanctum, other Lasombra urge her to act as a spiritual guide to her comrades. Inquisitor: This office holds every feature of the Hound or Whip that could appeal to a Lasombra, and adds religious authority to boot. Not a few Lasombra become Inquisitors. Indeed, Betriz exhorted all her childer to expose and combat heresy, whether the Lancea Sanctum gave them formal authority or not. Lasombra Inquisitors tend to approach their job with utter devotion: A Confessor who abused his inquisitorial power for entirely selfish ends would receive great scorn from other Lasombra. If the Sanctified have one complaint against Lasombra Inquisitors, its that they often show as much interest in exposing the crimes of mortals as in enforcing orthodoxy among vampires.

Devotions
Echo of the Subtle Vizier
(Dominate , Obtenebration ) A Lasombra with this power may silently whisper commands to a targets shadow without ever making a sound. Cost: 1 Willpower Dice Pool: This power involves no roll. It allows the Confessor to follow up with an application of Dominate or . Action: Reflexive. The Willpower point is spent in the same turn that the Lasombra uses Dominate. All rules, rolls and modifiers apply to the use of the follow-up power, as normal. Because Willpower is spent to activate Echo of the Subtle Vizier in the same turn as Dominate, Willpower may not be spent to increase dice pools during that turn. This power costs 12 experience points to learn.

Eminence of Shade
(Dominate , Obtenebration ) This power allows a vampire to become insubstantial and physically enter a host, controlling them from within like an obscene marionette. Cost: 1 Vitae, 1 Willpower. Dice Pool: Intelligence + Intimidation + Dominate versus Resolve Action: Contested. The vampire must be in shadow form, and must surround a target. There is no discreet way of doing this other than doing it in a secluded area, as victims will panic and scream as they fight back. This facilitates the physical union of the vampire in the body, as it enters any available orifice. The Eminence of Shade is different from Possession, in that the possession is rapid and unstable, and leaves the victim some willpower. The physical presence of the vampire in all parts of the victims bloodstream allows him to overwhelm what s left. Roll Results Dramatic Failure: The vampire becomes a prisoner inside the targets body, vaguely able to perceive what he does but unable to leave. The vampire may attempt to escape with a Resolve + Stamina roll, maximum of one per hour. Tales tell of foolish vampires who were trapped only to free themselves too close to dawn to find safety. Failure: If the victim acquires more successes, it resists the vampires attempts. Success: If the vampire acquires more successes, it takes possession of the victim for a number of hours equal to its success-

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es. Subtract its successes from the victims willpower. The result is the number of times per hour that a victim can attempt to reestablish control. Exceptional Success: As per Success, but the vampire may re-enter the same target at a later night without spending a Willpower point. This power costs 30 experience points to learn. spectre needs to spend 1 point of Vitae for sustenance or the familiar dissolves into thin air. Often, torpid Lasombra task their childer or associates with providing their shadow servants with the vitae needed, lest they risk losing memories that will undoubtedly be altered by the Fog ofEternity. This power costs 15 experience points to learn.

Shadow Tentacles
(Obtenebration or , Protean ) This notorious devotion has brought much notoriety and respect to the Confessors. It seems like yet another fairytale to keep fledglings in line; Do not disrespect your sire or the Bishop, childe, for the shadow tentacles may get you. Yet, the threats come true by intolerant Lasombra elders who need to keep the younger Sanctified in line, or even protect their domains from intruders who have no idea what they re up against. The Lasombra using this power, either takes her Shadow Form, as per the fifth-dot ability of Obtenebration, or manipulates shadows into taking the form of the tentacles. Then, the tentacles appear and spread around the caster, attacking according to her commands. Cost: 1 Vitae Dice Pool: Wits + Crafts + Obtenebration. Action: Instant On a successful roll, a number of tentacles equal to the characters Resolve transform from a disturbing two-dimensional illusion into a tangible, six feet horror of great strength. The tentacles have ratings in all physical attributes, equal to the characters ratings and can attack with a +1 damage modifier (as well as grappling foes). They inflict lethal damage if the devotion is activated by the second-dot ability of Obtenebration. When activated along with Shadow Form, the tentacles are part of the characters shadow and grow small claws on various parts that inflict aggravated damage. This power costs 15 experience points to learn.

Umbral Familiar
(Dominate , Obtenebration ) Another devotion that has become an essential and iconic application of Lasombra power, even when in Torpor, the Shadow Familiar allows a Confessor to literally bring darkness and shadow to life. Its powers allow the Lasombra to shape shadows of themselves and instill a small part of their consciousness in to the shadow, creating a familiar. The bloodline has found great use for these creations, which serve its creator as either a vessel for memories or even a spy that can move anywhere, at any time, even if its creator slumbers. Cost: 1 Vitae Dice Pool: Manipulation + Crafts + Obtenebration. Action: Instant Success on the creation roll creates the shadow servant which through the power of Dominate, gains basic consciousness. These creatures, though, require Vitae to sustain their unnatural state much like their creators do. For every number of nights, equal to the successes gained on the activation roll, the