Bloodline: Ba'ali

Ba'ali Characters

Quote
"There are few certainties in this life sweetheart, but the eventual return of the Hidden ones is one of them. Take a look around; do you honestly believe that your God gives a fuck about you? Heaven is closed to us and Hell is overflowing, come the final trump it would be better to be a willing servant of the Devils minions than a captured prisoner of Gods unloved masses."

Contents

INTRODUCTION

The put some flesh on the bones of the Ba'ali we need to ask some questions, those we ask about all Clans such as; what lessons, skills and goals are passed down from Sire to Childe? Does the core Clan follow some semi religious belief or a unifying creation myth outside that of the accepted Cainite stories? We should also ask specific questions about the Clan; who is Ba'al and why did he want Shaitan's worship? What are his goals and are the goals of the Clan leaders the same?

No intelligent treatment of a group can rely wholly and utterly on the stereotypes and for that reason we would be rather foolish to tar all Ba'ali with the same Infernalist brush. Among the willing slaves to the Fallen Angels are a billion shades of grey. Ba'ali who realised too late that the Devil is real and all the Ouija boards and sacrificed cats in the world won't save them from eternity in torment. Occultists embraced for their knowledge without consideration for the fact that those 'in the know' would seek alternative masters or contrary roads to power. Cold evil bastards who are just too wily or too arrogant to sell their souls, unbelievers embraced by mistake, weak fools unable to retain their humanity in the face of the truth or those whose allegiance is too the ancient God of fertility and not the modern Devil worshipping Clan.

What lessons, skills and goals are passed down from Sire to Childe?

Firstly The Baali are taught the Clan discipline Daimoinon and more importantly why Shaitan developed it. Newly embraced Baali learn of the existence of Demons and the subtleties of dealing with them, specifics on Infernalism that pertain to vampires in general and to the Baali in particular. Beyond that the Baali learn the Dogma and goals of their Sires cult or Order and usually his slanted view of others in the World of Darkness.

Does the core Clan follow some semi religious belief or a unifying creation myth outside that of the accepted Cainite stories?

Certainly the Ba'ali have a detailed and complex pantheon which, over the years, has mutated with each Vampiric generation. Tales told to misdirect the Ba'ali's enemies about 'Children' and 'Old Gods' came to be believed by younger members of the Clan itself. Those who believed they could ascend the Founders empty Throne often created myths of Genesis that suited their own needs and reduced to role of the Great Shaitan so far that most of their Cults consider him a myth.

Who is Baal?

Certainly nobody actually thinks that the Demon who originally awoke Shaitan's to the powers of the Hidden is actually named Baal, that is a misdirection of epic means. The phrase Baal, or Ba'al has many uses in the Clan and the Dread lords are often referred to as the Ba'al, thus further confusing their enemies as to who is in charge and what forces they serve. Equally paradoxical is the line between Baal the Demon and Baal the Phoenician God of fertility. Is the demon patron of the Baali the deposed God of the Purple people or did this Fallen angel once rule those lands in the form of a god? Are they even the same intellect or are the Myth's of this Baal simply another Ba'ali vampire Pseudothei?

The Phrase Ba'al (Ba'alat) in one form means simply Lord (Lady) and thus acts as a title. Ba'al-Hammon, Ba'al-Shaitan, Ba'al-Zebul, the hierarchy of the damned goes on. By calling his lord Baal, Shaitan covered up to whom and to what he had given over his immortal soul and obfuscated the true depth of his fall. He also raised the Demon above all other Gods and all other masters, even the God of the Vampires, the 'One' who cursed Caine and damned them all to unlife. By simply bowing to the Ba'al, the Lord, all comparisons are cast aside.

A vampire who identifies himself as Ba'ali and by no other title protects his true name, and forces others to call him by a name of power. The Ba'ali ascribed the name Ba'al to the sleeping 'children', itself another euphemism for Infernal demons, like the names 'Hidden' or the term 'Children of Night'.

Why did Ba'al want Shaitan's worship?

The simplest answer to this question is that Baal required worship no matter who the petitioner, but beyond that the Fallen Angel saw something in the Childe of Ashur that he recognised as fortuitous. Shaitan possessed qualities that his Lord respected. Rather than enslaving the Vampire, harvesting his soul in return for a few paltry powers, barely enough for Shaitan to gain the revenge he sought, this Ba'al mentored his protégée. Tales told by Elders of the Clan suggest that in return for his fealty and devotion, Shaitan was bestowed with gifts that would cost a lesser creature his soul. Ba'al created a vampire with the powers of Hell and yet without the state of enslavement and compliance.

Showing astounding foresight and patience Baal created an army of Vampires in that moment and with the Baali he swelled his forces for the final battle by a considerable amount. Infernalism is rife among the Undead, but for others it is disorganised and exists in tiny covens. Even while the throng of Baali have allied themselves with countless Demons large and small, Shaitan is still unshakable in his fealty and with the power granted to him by his Infernal Lord, Shaitan's will shall be as impossible to resist as any antediluvian. No matter what minor pacts individuals have made, when Ba'al-Shaitan commands, all Baali will serve his master!!

What are Baal's goals and are the goals of the Clan leaders the same?

Certainly Shaitan himself is so devoted to Baal that he can be considered to be an extension of his will. Nergal also serves the 'Lord of little things' without really understanding that by adoring Namtaru he does Baal's bidding. Anath, Aretsay, Tallay and Pidray all follow Shaitan and thus are loyal to Baal, as are Hannibaal and Shaitan's former lover Tanit. Moloch, Crom and most likely Amriat too are gone from the world, and the remaining Lords of the Ba'ali have been absent so long that not even their peers remember them. Lesser Ba'al like Ahaziah, Mot, Hey-Tau, Cybele, Jerubbaal, Abimelech and Zerubbabel have scattered to far flung lands aided by minor Demons, who are, in turn servants or allies of Ba'al.

While at first glance the Baali appear to be a divergent Clan of Demonologists whose goals and loyalties are scattered across the Infernal hierarchy, closer inspection reveals a far tighter ship than their enemies realise. Baali have learned to play the field of the Demon world, but the core of Shaitan's rebellion remains intact.

The Ba'ali Vampires are an enigma much maligned and all too quickly dismissed. Described as a Bloodline, they are in fact a Clan, being the majorities of the descendants from the Bloodline of Ennoia-Ashur. As a clan they number even less than the Ravnos and they could teach the Tricksters a thing or two about prejudice. Unlife for the Ba'ali often means a trade off, the oldest trade in the book, freedom for power. Despised by every other creature in existence and at the greatest risk from his allies, a Ba'ali vampire learns to be a cold, tough mother fucker really quick or else he winds up as a pitiful thrall committing acts of evil for no reason and heading for his inevitable fate in Hell.

Ba'ali are often picked for their understanding of the Occult world, but they also value manipulative talents, an impressive lack of humanity and the ability to survive against all odds. The greatest Ba'ali exhibit all of these talents and earn both the embrace and the position of an arch Devil by their own abilities. Their skills at hiding behind their dupes has worked almost too well and any vampire you ask will tell you that the Ba'ali are evil devil worshippers and assume that is all that needs to be told. We do not accept Corrupters as the final and full description of the Setites or assassins as the broadest description of the Assamites, why would we accept the same simplicity as the be all and end all of the Ba'ali?

Description

Nicknames:

Philosophy

Bad word,
Or bad deed,
Unpunished invites grief,
- Siouxsie and the Banshees, Rawhead and Bloodybones

Every human soul is prone to wickedness, each of us has some crack in our virtue and the Baali seek to become the pry bar in that crack that opens it up to total Darkness, exposing the innate evil in the human soul like marrow from a split bone. The entities they serve can only cross into our world under certain circumstances (see Invitations), conditions that meet the exacting dictates of the pacts and the seals. They must be invited by bad deeds or by intention. The greater the taint of Damnation in humans hearts, the more widespread that taint is upon the earth and the more suitable our realm is for the Infernal to occupy.

Baali are devil-worshippers. They are more committed to utter evil then the most psychotic Malkavian or brutal Sabbat Bishop. They firmly believe in the eventual ascension of utter darkness and that Vampires are the chosen minions of the Powers that Wait on earth. They do not wish to maintain a Masquerade from their chosen prey, or even for Vampiric supremacy like the Sabbat - they wish to summon their great lords back into the world, to turn the planet into a demon-ridden hell.

By the proper use of rituals and manipulation, they attempt to increase the suffering in a given area. Those Baali who enjoy the patronage of one of the true Ba'al the dread lords, are aided by the highest powers of Daimoinon. Political unrest, racial divisions, intolerance, poverty, sickness, starvation, pain, loss of hope: these are what they strive for. Once an area is "prepared," it is suitable for occupation by lesser Demons and spirits such as Banes, Malfeans, spectres and Hellions. As greater and greater heights of misery are reached, more and more evil is drawn into the place, until the pain of the entire populace coalesce into a miasma of corruption and depravity and the power of the seals is so weak that greater powers may cross into our world.

Organization
The Ba'ali of the final nights are usually organised into small covens of between 3 and 7 vampires and their collection of Cultists and thralls. These small covens will be aligned to or defined by the philosophy of a larger Cult. The Cults grew out of the medieval Unholy Orders and have become the most obvious social dynamic amidst the Ba'ali. See Cults for a detailed look at these groups.

Weakness
The Ba'ali are affected by all religious symbols, and take double damage from Faith. This tie to sigils and symbology goes far deeper than any might suspect. While any foci of faith becomes far more powerful when used against them, symbols of their own devotion hold an almost fetishist fascination for them. They are drawn to symbols of corruption and the destruction of innocence, more than one Ba'ali makes her haven in an abandoned church or close to lonely monasteries. Often unconsciously they decorate themselves with religious paraphernalia such as upside down crosses or pentagrams, items that they see as Occult foci but that can be used against them by members of divergent faiths.

Appearance
Many Ba'ali are almost studiously nondescript, but those with high Presence seem to give off an aura of evil. As the Clan has evolved from the hedonistic Methuselah of Kala-at-Sherghat to the disparate Occultists and renegades of the Final nights the Ba'ali have always been experts at fitting in. In the modern age the Ba'ali might be the library nerd or the weird Goth kid, but then again they may be the local Priest or the landed gentry. They can be of any race and either sex and like all survivors they tend not to draw attention to their true activities.

Haven
Baali usually maintain Havens far away from Kindred or kine, such as in abandoned houses or farms - the better to practice their rites and preach to their congregation. The Ba'ali are drawn to sites of religious importance such as abandoned churches or houses with their own graveyards and the younger Vampires who gravitate towards the city make their Havens in apartments covered in symbology and iconography.

Background
Baali usually choose to Embrace humans who are intelligent, driven and completely callous with the fortitude to swim against the tide. Most of their Progeny are interested in the occult even in life, and all Baali practice it once Embraced.

Character Creation
Many Baali come from a Dilettante or Professor background. All Baali have an Occult score of at least 1, and few lack skills such as Subterfuge, Survival, Research or Ritual. Leadership, politics and etiquette are important for dealing with Cultists or with the Infernal. Mental Attributes are often primary with Social being almost as important. Many Ba'ali, although not the Elders, might have an Investment or two.

Disciplines
The Ba'ali Clan disciplines are Obfuscate, Presence and Daimoinon. The Ba'ali are also experts in the arts of Dark Thaumaturgy and the occaisional throwback might well develope an aptitude for Protean, Animalism or Fortitude.

Preferred Path
While the Path of Evil revelations that grew out of the Via diabolis and the Via celestas is common among the Ba'ali, other Paths that promote hedonism (ecstasy) and the acknowledgement of the self are just as common. The Paths of Cathari, of Caine or Lilith, of self focus or Power and the Inner Voice are well represented among members of the Bloodline.

Gaining Prestige
Prestige among the Ba'ali is often dependant upon Cult. What might gain a member of one philosophy admiration among his peers might not endear him to members of a counter viewpoint. That being said there are a few common factors: power and respect from the Infernal regions, infamy among the clan as a master manipulator and acts of audacious daring in bringing the other Clans low. By spreading corruption and discord among the Cainites without calling down the full weight of Vampiric justice, a Ba'ali is guaranteed to garner his Clanmates respect.