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Sabbat: The Black Hand (Vampire: the Masquerade 5th Edition)


Brothers and Sisters in Caine, united under the banner of the Dark Father

An antagonists’ guide to the cultic fanatics of the Sabbat, this book contains:

  • Descriptions of the Paths of Enlightenment, the foundations of Sabbat identity
  • Information on the Gehenna War, and how the Sabbat opposes the dread Antediluvians
  • New tools to expand your chronicles, including Discipline powers, versatile antagonists, and the horrifying Ritae of the Black Hand

Sabbat: The Black Hand is a supplement for the Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition Roleplaying Game, outlining in detail the lore and background of the Sabbat, including new Paths and Disciplines, histories, and new Storyteller resources for a richer roleplaying experience.

 Mature Warning: contains graphic and written content of a mature nature, including violence, sexual themes, and strong language. Reader discretion is advised.


  • Includes descriptions of the Paths of Enlightenment, the foundations of Sabbat identity. 
  • Contains information on the Gehenna War, and how the Sabbat opposes the dread Antediluvians. 
  • New tools to expand your chronicles, including Discipline powers, and the horrifying Ritae of the Black Hand.

 At a Glance

  • 134 page full color PDF
  • This is a supplement for Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition Roleplaying Game set in the World of Darkness.
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Reviews (4)
Discussions (28)
Customer avatar
Stuart C July 31, 2022 5:06 pm UTC
I'm a newcomer to VtM and purchased the hardcopy of this through Renegade and genuinely feel it was a waste of money.

My biggest issue is the thing that runs the whole way through V5: there is next to no context. They've missed out so much lore that I've only found by going through the wiki. In this book the Sabbat are NPC antagonists with a bizarre pack mindset, but fails to explain the history of the sect in any way; its origins are only minimally described in the Camarilla sourcebook. The Sabbat book continually states that they are acting to attempt to destroy the Antediluvians, but gives no information on their enemy, any direction of the war they are fighting or any information that I would actually find useful to build on. It's over-written and effectively useless for players and, from my point of view, for storytellers too.

I get the strong impression that V5 is merely a rules update of previous editions and has been written with the expectation that everyone is aware of the...See more
Customer avatar
John F September 06, 2023 4:40 am UTC
Back in the mid-to-late 90's, I ran Sabbath VTM games constantly. That sourcebook was quite excellent. The Sabbath were a whole new entry point for the game and you could really go to town with it, creating a full campaign experience. The fact that all the attendant clans/antitribu were well-documented, plus had their own books, really made a difference. I had a blast and so did my players. I created a great reputation for myself as a GM on the basis of my work with that sourcebook and other Sabbath materials. I find it deeply disappointing that the devs did THIS poor a job of bringing the Sabbath into the 5th edition. For this reason in particular, I'm going to skip 5th edition and find some other game that fills this niche. That's a shame.
Customer avatar
Tal O July 18, 2022 8:10 pm UTC
The Sabbat was my favorite sect back in Revised/3E days.
You know what was my absolute favorite thing about it? That it was playable :)
Customer avatar
John F September 06, 2023 4:41 am UTC
See my comment in reply to Stuart C above. Seeing another VTM vet like yourself write something like this just makes me double down: I'm not coming back to VTM. Thanks for confirming what Stuart C says.
Customer avatar
Carl J May 09, 2022 4:08 am UTC
Should you buy this? No. I bitterly regret it. Why? I love v5 as a system and host a great game. We incorporate a lot of great stuff from almost every other VtM book in existence. The core parts of their vision for who the Sabbat are in this could have been done in an atmospheric 15 min Youtube video. Or 15 pages with pictures in a free supplement. Honestly, why this is expensive and the Free Companion is free is beyond me. this has no content but the Free Companion has a ton of playable content.

Like, I own this book and there is nothing I can do with it. It sits on my shelf. It updated my mindset on how to use this sect, then the book ended. The scenarios it tosses out for Storytellers to use are tiny and then the book ends. No great characters. No comprehensive hooks or scenarios I remember (if they are in there I forgot them as worthless phone-ins immediately). No breakdowns and sample encounters of an amazing climactic villain fight. If it had all of those things, I would say...See more
Customer avatar
Petri W March 29, 2022 7:08 am UTC
Over $30 for a 134-page PDF? What the hell were they thinking? And in addition, no gratis PDF if you buy the print copy, which is just insulting nowadays. Pass.
Customer avatar
Davide D February 06, 2022 3:52 am UTC
I can see the Authors are trying to justify the price of $31.50 over 140 pages of pdf, by saying that the content is so good to surpasses the need of quantity.
Just how stupid do you think we are?
The Sabbat book pdf is mediocre at best! You can take the criticism, possibly apologize and improve upon this mistake, or act like a snowflake and see where it leads you.
This is the only book I'm not going to buy, unlike some brilliant material made by third parties which are actually worth the price.
the second inquisition is the same?
I'm not going to buy it and wait for another independent creator to provider me with what I really need.
The brand is not everything, unlike quality (as mentioned by someone).
Customer avatar
kyle D January 24, 2022 2:14 am UTC
Here I was, as soon as I heard this book was out rushing to the site with credit card in hand ready to buy this book up... and then I saw the price for a supplement and I burst out laughing. Whatever y'all were smoking to think $31.50 is in any way acceptable for a 140 page pdf you really, really need to share. Especially when, after reading other reviews, it has nothing of value to offer to players. Yeah, no. Sorry. No sale.
Customer avatar
Talia H February 18, 2022 6:35 pm UTC
I just wish the WoD & Renegade people were kinder; offer them the slightest criticism or original opinion and they toss you in the trash can (I've been made to feel gas-lit worthless by both).
Customer avatar
M. E. F January 22, 2022 10:53 pm UTC
I preordered the book from Renegade. I accept it as Camarilla propaganda based around the worst excesses of the sect, or even the hardcore leftovers from the sect's departure for the Gehenna war -- as a strict "antagonist" book, it's fine.

I say "propaganda" because it seems inconsistent with Chicago by Night's Lasombra details. Guide to the Sabbat told us that most Sabbat aren't even on Paths, CbN presents former Sabbat who have Humanity and express themselves comprehensibly.

But as to inspiration for how Camarilla or Anarchs should imagine/experience the Sabbat... ? Oh yes, this is fine!

I think $30 for a pdf of this book is a high bid, however. It's a shame Renegade has not continued the precedent of providing gratis PDFs for physical copies. Clearly they are trying to sell at the highest price sustainable by demand, which is certainly a choice one could make!
Customer avatar
Snorre S December 26, 2021 3:19 pm UTC
I see a lot of moaning about price and "not being able to play Sabbat"...

1: You're paying for labor, not for page-count.
2: Nowhere in this book does it say you aren't allowed to play Sabbat characters and campaigns, but the Sabbat has changed into more of a story-element, this is true. If you want to have a "kill-all-the-things" power-trip campaign, go right ahead, nobody will stop you.

With that said, my only gripe with this PDF is that (at time of writing) the bookmarks for chapters 4, 5, and the index all point to page 85 (which is late chapter 3).
Please fix this and update the book.
Customer avatar
Rory H December 27, 2021 11:05 am UTC
I have to say, I nearly fell out of my seat after finally seeing a legitimate, fair and worthwhile complaint about this item! :)

However, I have the PDF provided directly from Renegade Studios and when I checked, the PDF does have correct bookmarks and links for Chapter 4, 5 and the Index on my copy. It says that the file was last updated on December 7, so I wonder if you are accessing the latest update, whether the PDF on this site differs to the one I downloaded from Renegade or whether it is somehow peculiar to your purchase?
Customer avatar
Isaac F December 28, 2021 3:48 am UTC
I'm paying for a product and that product is worse than the one that came before, which is also cheaper on this very site. How about the devs already have rules in place instead of making the player base do the work to fix their game.

Claiming it's our fault isn't going to convince anyone to get this book. You're doing more damage than any of us possibly could.
Customer avatar
Rory H December 28, 2021 9:42 am UTC
You do realize that it is only your opinion about the relative qualities of these products?
Customer avatar
Phil H January 01, 2022 11:26 am UTC
Utter nonsense. It was down to Paradox to pay for the labour and then recoup that cost by selling a finished product. Potential and actual purchasers are fully entitled to pass comment on whether they feel that end product is value for money. Page count will inform many people's opinion of value for money, as will usability at the table and people are criticising decisions made on both counts by the publisher.
If you're happy with it, and you can internally justify a 50% price rise on 67% of the content, then absolutely go you. With that said, you don't get to tell anyone that they're not allowed to be critical of the book.
Customer avatar
Rory H January 02, 2022 4:58 am UTC
It isn’t that your not allowed to be critical, but that your comments don’t get to be ring-fenced either in a public forum.

There isn’t a mathematical formula for determining the worth of creative writing and art in a luxury good (and all gaming goods are luxury goods). If you like it, it is worth it. If you don’t, no matter how many pages there are will make any difference. The prices of RPGs are rising globally and it isn’t all to do with consumer demands about how these products are costed.

A lot of complaints on seem to be reminiscent of the joke about two old ladies in a restaurant. The first says “The food in here is terrible!” and the second replies “Yes, and such small portions!”.
Customer avatar
Phil H January 03, 2022 4:47 pm UTC
You seem to be arguing from two directions. You say there's no mathematical formula and if someone thinks its worth it then its worth it. Then you again take a shot at people being critical of the cost and content of this product. They are literally simply expressing that its not worth it to them. I'm also baffled at you saying the number of pages won't make a difference when the page count is right at the heart of many people's complaints.

As to the rising cost of RPGs. Absolutely the case due to any number of factors. Its worth pointing out however on the publisher's own page that the physical copy of this book retails for $5 less than Anarch or Camarilla despite the biggest pressure on price rises being in the printing and distribution costs. Essentially it appears they're gouging PDF purchasers to underwrite losses on the physical books. Now clearly I made my peace with paying out the money for this PDF. If this sort of pricing continues then that won't be the case for many future products.
Customer avatar
Rory H January 04, 2022 7:11 am UTC
Well, I simply think page count is a very bad way of measuring the worth of a creative work. I’m not taking a shot at people complaining, just criticizing the real value of such a criticism.

The physical cost of printing, however, may well offset the cost in comparison to other books based on page count. There isn’t any printing overhead on a PDF, however, so the relative costs of PDFs may end up differently. I think the issue I have is the automatic assumption of ‘price gauging’ over a luxury item that isn’t essential at all.
Customer avatar
Nathan C January 04, 2022 8:08 am UTC
While I may agree that the page count should not be the only determining Factor on the price of a product I still think it should be taken into account. If a product is being made by the same company within the same line of products then artistic quality and content have already been factored in unless this book is significantly better than the previous books within the line which may indicate a change in company or writers. This however is not the case. The writing and artistic quality in this book are just as good as the previous books therefore they're only two varying factors. The first being the content itself which is the other thing that people are taking issue with in this book. All previous books have content that is useful for both storytellers and players and this book is geared specifically towards storytellers. This means that it is of less value to individuals who would like to play the Sabbat. The other Factor then would be the page count. With quality of writing and art being on par with...See more
Customer avatar
Rory H January 04, 2022 8:21 am UTC
Well, for me, I think the notion of playing inhuman Sabbat was always a problem with previous releases. I honestly feel that this was an error in the game’s development from way back in 1993, as it detracted from one of the central themes of the game. As such, I am not in much agreement with anybody who bemoans the lack of rules for playing them, as I agree with the notion that they should be antagonists (in the same Nephandi are in Mage as another example). If you make them playable as protagonists it lessens their impact as ‘boogymen’ and, perversely, gives hope to some players that they don’t need to cling on to their humanity as there are alternative paths.

Moreover, there /are/ rules that could be used to play Sabbat as characters in this book, it's just the authors have expressed the intent that they are used as antagonists. A subtle, but notable difference. I would again note that the Tzimisce and Lasombra Clans can still be played anyway - divorcing Clan from Sect - which is again,...See more
Customer avatar
Nathan C January 04, 2022 11:51 pm UTC
I personally enjoyed playing the Sabbat though I am of the strongest belief that just like any other game, a good storyteller and/or group of players can make or break your view of a game or group. My storyteller didn't make the Sabbat game a game about playing a bunch of Deacon Frost wannabes. He leaned into the idea of being a young vampire learning what it really means to be in human and redefining themselves as they learn this. I myself wouldn't compare them to the Neaphandi, that's who I would compare the Baali too.

As for Clan Tzimisce, I didn't realize that they had them fleshed out in one of the supplements. I may have simply overlooked them either that or I didn't read the supplement yet cuz I haven't read them all. Which supplement s are they in?

Also for some reason I can't read anything after divorcing clan from sect which is again because for some reason right now my phone isn't allowing me to see more so if you already addressed what I just said it's not that I'm ignoring...See more
Customer avatar
Rory H January 05, 2022 1:06 am UTC
The emphasis placed on the Sabbat in this book, and to be sure whenever vampires choose to follow Paths that aren’t based on Humanity, is that they are non-human Monsters. While you can choose to play them - and you still can, technically with this book - I think it is not something that develops a core theme of personal horror about trying to hold on to Humanity that is expressed in the game. So that is where you and I differ, I guess.

The Tzimisce are detailed in the Vampire Companion, which is free and available on the World of Darkness website (although you have to register first which is also free). The Ravens and Salubri are also detailed, along with rules for mortal and ghoul characters.

It is entirely possible to take rules for any particular Clan and then convert them to Sabbat pathways using this book. It is just that the intent is to use it as an Antagonists book. The upcoming Second Inquisition book will be the same, but again, there won’t be much technically stopping...See more
Customer avatar
Nathan C January 05, 2022 7:45 am UTC
Thanks for the info, I'll have to go get me a copy of the Companion. Even if I don't play them I'm a big fan of having all the info.

As for using this book for paths that's a big negatory. They present the paths in this book as very two dimensional which is to be expected from a book presenting the Sabbat as villains and honestly if I'm looking for a book to present paths I already have it in the form of Chaining the Beast and it only cost about $12.
Customer avatar
Rory H January 05, 2022 1:22 pm UTC
Well, that is still a matter of opinion. I think that the Paths presented in this book are much more than simply two dimensional myself. They do present the Sabbat as villains, although in a game like Vampire where pretty much all vampires are villains in one sense or another, that isn’t much of a claim to make! Sabbat are presented as the monsters that give other vampires nightmares.
Customer avatar
Martin A January 09, 2022 12:38 pm UTC
Labour costs for a pdf don't compare to a published book for obvious reasons.

Just invoking that isn't helpful, because it isn't explanatory.

Clearly we accept that products are charged at a rate people can (ideally) afford. If movies, for example, reflected the hundrds of millions paid to actors and crew then no one would be able to afford them.

You can't play Sabbat characters because, as I understand it, there aren't rules within to do so. However earlier editions of the game did, that is where the Lasombra and Tzimisce come from.
Customer avatar
Rory H January 10, 2022 1:00 pm UTC
The Lasombra and Tzimisce are Clans, whereas The Sabbat is a Sect. The two Clans are detailed in other V5 supplements and are playable as they stand. In terms of the canon, both Clans substantially predate the formation the Sect - which was formed as a sort of death cult offshoot of the Anarchs. A vampire from any Clan can become a member of The Sabbat.

They are intended as an antagonist group, but there isn’t really anything stopping anybody from playing them, using the Paths and Disciplines outlined in this book. Just note that they have abandoned all humanity and are entirely bestial - which is why they are intended as an antagonist only group in this edition of the game.
Customer avatar
Jason H April 24, 2022 5:44 am UTC
The bookmarks on the drivethrurpg copy were still borked as of a couple of weeks ago (April 7 '22), but I emailed Paradox regarding it and they replied that it's been passed on to the relevant team; so, maybe it gets fixed.
Customer avatar
Mark H December 20, 2021 8:40 pm UTC
id be willing to pay a bit more than that for a physical copy but this is a hard nope

Customer avatar
Michael Stensen S December 17, 2021 1:46 am UTC
Eek! I'm saying this as a big fan of V5. A 134 page PDF is not worth 31.5 dollars. I'll just leave Sabbat out of my chronicle till you come to your senses :)
Customer avatar
Joshua B December 17, 2021 12:44 am UTC
Oh boy, where do I start? So, this book is currently listed at $31.50 which is insane when compared to the other books in the edition. Earlier this year, the moment Renegade got a hold of the publishing rights for Vampire 5th Edition they immediately raised the price of the core book to almost $40. They also changed the price of Anarch and Camarilla to $35. These changes didn't last as the quick outrage from the fans quickly saw the prices return to normal. It is very clear that the $31.50 is based off what Renegade wants to charge for the game in general but is either too scared of fan backlash or legally unable to do. I do not plan on supporting VTM 5E any longer beyond this point. The reason being the publisher's clear lack of business, which I am certain will be the doom of the brand.

I was also able to have a friend show me the book, and I got to say it's really not worth it. It offers very little information for STs to use in regard to the faction that hasn't been handled better in previous...See more
Customer avatar
Nathan C December 15, 2021 12:39 pm UTC
Who's smoking crack? I just really want to know that. They need to be fired.
1. Removing the Sabbat as a playable group is a stupid decision. Leave that choice to the individual Storytellers.
2. Making a Supliment that has ZERO use for players and barely any use for storytellers as the vast majority of what might be
needed to make a Sabbat character exists in the other books.
3. Making that supliment cost more than the Core Book or the 2 Suplements BOTH of which have USEFUL information for both
Players and Storytellers alike cost more than any of the 3 books.

Either drugs are involved or someone things their $#IT don't stink.
Customer avatar
John F September 06, 2023 4:43 am UTC
All told, it sounds like the development team is making really spectacularly bad decisions and I need to stay away from VTM.
Customer avatar
Marc T December 13, 2021 10:05 pm UTC
Best to wait on purchasing this and any other V5 material moving forward, Paradox announced it would have a platform on Demiplane but its unclear if you'd be able to access material you've bought here or via Renegade on there.
Customer avatar
Michael A December 12, 2021 8:57 pm UTC
anyone have information on the book i can use to decide to buy it or not?
Customer avatar
Nathan C December 15, 2021 12:29 pm UTC
Well that depends. It gives some stuff for a storyteller but IMO not enough to be worth $30. It's purely storyteller material, they make it clear that whatever assclown is in charge of decisions here decided that the Sabbat would be unplayable.
Customer avatar
Robert P December 10, 2021 4:01 pm UTC
I hear you can't even play the Sabbat now with this splat book. Is that true, and if so why ever not??!
Customer avatar
Robert P December 15, 2021 4:15 pm UTC
V5 is just a birth defect it seems when compared to it's older brother VtM.
Customer avatar
Nathan C December 15, 2021 7:25 pm UTC
There are SOME things I like about it. I like the Hunger Trait vs a Blood Pool. I like the idea of morality being more flexible in the sense that the ST picks 3 things that effect morality to reflect the general idea of what "moraility" means of the area, than the player picks 3 to reflect a personal morality but I could really do without the touchstones, I get the idea behind them but I don't see them working well in play. I like the idea of "You are what you eat" but if I were to run a game, I would just have an effect be random unless you are SPECIFICALLY hunting for a certian type of person.

And I will never NOT laugh at the visual in my brain of Theo Bell giving the ultimate "I Quit" by killing Hardestadt and Jan.

I will give credit where credit is due. There are aspects of 5th Edition that I like. Including actually moving forward with the storyline. There is however plenty of what they choose to do that I really don't like and top among...See more
Customer avatar
Chava H December 10, 2021 1:18 am UTC
Would normally have been an immediate purchase for me. But at this price I balked. No way.
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