by Palika Goldstein (17 Mar 95)
Discipline of the Black Paladins by Palika Goldstein (Darkslayer) Goldpul@minna.acc.iit.edu
The Black Hand, feared by all, who insure the cohesion of the Sabbat, have been a mystery for countless centuries... Where do they originate from? Who are their leaders? Even the Sabbat Arch Bishops themselves do not know. The Hand has remained clouded to the Sabbat by the very members who join it. Not all make it in, and few new Hand members survive their first assignment. But any Kind will tell you, the Black Hand is nothing to toy with, and everything to fear. The oaths of loyalty are so strong they can overcome frenzy and individual survival. Magical rituals are used by the members to bind their undead souls to dark beasts and powers of the night. They are the Ninja of the Vampire community, available to the bidding of their local dominions, and the higher Seraphims called the Four. They are loyal to first themselves, and second to the Sabbat. Detailed below are some of the levels of the mysterious discipline called the HAND, given to only the most courageous and proven of the Black Hand members.
 Silent Passages: The hand may employ this level to pass with out a trace, leaving no unconscious marks that they were there. No fingerprints, DNA samples, bent blades of grass, dust impressions, etc. are left behind. For example, a member may walk across a leaf strewn field and leave no trace that he had passed, unless the member consciously breaks a twig or makes a trail for others to follow. This power is activated at will and includes all members of the Hand who are using it. This power will still the movement of air around the member, making his passage silent, and preventing noise from alerting those around him that he is near. The member leaves no footprints, and makes no sound when employing this level when walking, but may at any time speak or focus this power to allow others to hear something necessary (like echoing footsteps). Add 2 dice to all rolls that require stealth, being sneaky, silent or leaving no trace of one's presence. Difficulty numbers to investigate a place that the Hand has done something in that this applies to are raised by two (max 10) and require twice the amount of successes (or five more, which ever is appropriate).
 Blood Hardening: The Hand's Blood thickens and becomes more impervious to damage, the skin knits and becomes like iron. Reduce the amount of damage the Hand takes in an attack by two successes (two health levels) after the Soak roll. This level is usable against all trauma including fire and sunlight (and aggravated wounds).
 Grasp of the Shadow: The darkness of the Hand becomes more apparent as parts of his being are infused with the stuff of shadows. The Hand at this level may cause the shadows around his area to reach out and engulf his form, usually while in combat or to remain unseen. Reduce the amount of successful to hit rolls made against the Hand by two. This is usable against all attacks, even if the attacker can see in the dark, or is using a mental power to see the target (aiming, indirect, etc.). Reduce all target numbers to hide in shadows or stealth by two.
 Cloudy Minds: When activated, this level causes all those who view the Hand to creatively forget the occurrence and situations that surround the Hand and what happened. This memory loss is replaced by the subjects own fantasies or best guess as to what should have occurred to produce the outcome. Say, for example, a Hand draws a shot gun and shoots a Camarilla vampire, wanted for questioning and torture by the Sabbat bishops, and then drives a stake into his heart. All in front of a family of tourists from Wisconsin. After the Hand carries the body off in his Vector, the police come to question the witnesses. Each family member will recount a different, probably conflicting stream of events about the Hand member. What the Hand looked like, what weapon was used (a pistol! no, a large green banana! wait- it was a hair dryer!!), what the car was that he got into, etc. The details that Mr. Vampire was shot, the blood evident upon the sidewalk, the tire tracks, etc. are unchanged. Only the events surrounding the Hand when this power is employed. Another example; say a Hand walks into a bar and orders a drink. Once the bartender turns around to get him a drink, he forgets that the Hand was ever there, that he ordered a drink, that he even spoke (if the Hand wanted this). The bartender then makes up a situation to fill in his apparent lack of memory of the time, say that the woman down the bar ordered this nice gentleman here a drink, and then follows that course of action as if it really happened. This power is used with care, for several vampiric and mortal conflicts can arise that only leads to a more detailed investigation of something the Hand may want covered up. To successfully use this power the Hand rolls Manipulation + Empathy (tn=7) and must get three successes. A botch means that all actions by the hand are remembered clearly for 24 hours by all who would actively take notice in what he is doing (secret service people always notice everything). To actively find out what is going on in a situation like this when this power is used against you, roll Intelligence + Investigation (or Meditation. tn=8) and get 10 successes (for a normal investigation, some things are simpler and may only require half that amount). An individual may be Dominated out of this, and the memory set straight with four successes at the power The Forgetful Mind. The Hand themselves are not affected by this power.
 The Black Hand: The Hand strikes the subject with his or her right hand, and utters a curse. If successful in hitting the target, the subject bursts into flame. The damage of this blow is strength + 5, and each success at damage is resisted normally (tn=6). The following action (the Hand's) the target must again resist the flames, this time with Fortitude only (tn=7) and the damage is 5 agg dice. The fire is magical, and continues to burn for one turn after (extinguishing it's self at the end of that second turn). The Hand member may use this power by expending one blood point and concentrating. If the attack misses, then the Hand may reserve this power until the next strike occurs, but not more then five minuets may pass before the Hand looses this ability.
 Killing Mind: To kill your opponents with a thought. You must have sight of the person that you wish to use this power against, or at least some knowledge of that person. If you have some personal item, this can be used instead- but the target number is two higher. Roll Manipulation + Occult, tn=stamina of person or difficulty of object (ST ruling as to tn, depending upon what it is you are affection and how you wish to destroy it). Each success is one normal damage, soak as normal, without armor bonus, at tn=7.
 Shadow Shroud: To become unseen to your opponents. The Hand's shadowy substance (as from the Grasp of the Shadow) grows out to encompass the Hand member to hide him from sight. This is usable against technological devices, but not a higher level of Auspex (i.e. if the person looking for the Hand member has a higher Auspex rating then the Hand members Hand rating then the Shadow Shroud appears as a misty black form superimposed over the Hand member). Else, the Hand member is hidden from view. This does not make him or her silent, however; and the Shroud can not extend to encompass objects or people that the Hand acquires after invoking the Shroud. The general mass is 1/2 vampire to carry it and still be in the Shroud. In all aspects, it generally conforms to the lvl 4 power of Sombra: Roll Manipulation + Stealth  and get one success. The Shroud also hides the Hand's aura, so the lvl 2 Auspex power will only work if the user's Auspex is higher then the Hand Discipline.
 Manus Nigrum Temportal: To move your body through portals and over distances with but a thought. Usable up to 50', this power acts as a limited form of teleportation. Roll Intelligence + Stealth, tn=7 to get one success to arrive at your destination. Nearly any sort of trick can be added to the teleportation- ninja smoke cloud, fading out of sight, sinking into the ground, becoming smaller until disappearing, stepping into a shadow, et.al. Getting no successes means that you go nowhere, while a botch means that you have angered the ST and anything can happen (ST discretion). You need not know exactly where you want to go to get there, teleporting 50' straight down would get you into a sewer that was 10' below you if nothing was available at the 20' to 50' mark. Teleporting to the 5th floor can put you straight up, or stuck in a closet. If the ST ordains that there is just nothing there for you to get to, then you won't move (power fails, although with some proper thought and wording this can be avoided).