Cults"Know thy enemy and know thyself; in a hundred battles you will never be in peril."
- Sun Tzu c. 500BC
- Ba'ali - The Ba'ali Bloodline revised
- History - Legends of the Ba'ali
- Cults - The organisation of the Ba'ali
- The Descended - Infamous Ba'ali
- Wicked ways - Traits & Paths of Twisted Enlightenment
- Stereotypes - Ba'ali views on their foes
- Itzcoatl - A Ba'ali corrupted Setite Bloodline
- Chatiphata - A Revenant Family of the Ba'ali
- Shi'lat - A Revenant Family of the Ba'ali
Since the Great Dispersal, the Ba'ali have held a very open structure. They gather around charismatic leaders, often one of the 13 lords themselves, or around certain philosophies, and these Cults develop almost completely independently of each other. Some await the return of Shaitan himself, creating a web of myth and legend that raises him to the role of a dark father who will one day return like a perverted King Arthur, others seek to understand the truth of themselves or of Baal or to find new patrons better suited to their philosophies. While any city, or indeed any back water village, might harbour a small nest of Baali and their mortal cult, here are the largest and most widespread Cults that have plagued the World of Darkness since the fall of Kala-at-Sherghat.
Some of those few who have heard more than old wives tales about the Baali believe internecine squabbles rooted in individual (and often irreconcilable) philosophies, practices, and political divisions to be the sole reason the Baali have not triumphed. The more energy they expend on internal strife, the less is available to use in an attempt to summon the universal demiurge.
Despite their fervour and fanaticism, it is clear that a fundamental division of ideology and practise strikes at the heart of these perverse practitioners, leading to vicious battles between nests, and even the occasional betrayal of the odd infernal school to mortal witch hunters.
- Clanbook: Baali. White Wolf Publishing.
THE ANCIENT ORDERS
For the first millennium AD and into the second, the Baali had strictly defined orders. They began to resemble the Western church and by the time of the Dark Ages setting were almost indistinguishable from the Holy orders and heretical cults of Christianity and Islam. Much of their former eastern structures were unknown by all but the eldest among the bloodline. To weather the times without strong leadership, the Baali Ancillae demanded strict adherence to the unholy orders and the Baali knew their duties. In many ways these lost sheep were setting the scene for the bloodline, as it is in the modern nights, adrift and ignorant of its beginnings. Just as Shaitan wanted it.
"The time would be easy to know, for then mankind would have become as the Great Old Ones; free and wild, and beyond good and evil, with laws and morals thrown aside and all men shouting and killing and reveling in joy. Then the liberated Old Ones would teach them new ways to shout and kill and revel and enjoy themselves, and all earth would flame with a holocaust of ecstasy and freedom."
- H. P. Lovecraft, "The Call of Cthulhu", (1926)
The Seminatrices Malorum spread warfare and chaos in an effort to appease their masters and in the hope of quickening Armageddon. If, they theorise, the Order of Gods kingdom or of the civilizing aspects of creation, are the enemy then the best way to combat them must be chaos. The Seminatrices Malorum are taking what to them is the most direct action of any Baali, actively creating a world for their masters to enter and to rule. Therefore they believe that they will be granted the greatest rewards when Earth finally falls to the creatures beyond.
Seeing the face of their patron in the Gods of war across the globe, the Seminatrices Malorum find each other with ease. Whether they worship Ares or Mars, Huitzilopochtli or Abbadon himself they are comforted by the glory and pleasure Victory brings. The misery and suffering caused by wars become their hymns and the clash of steel their call to worship as they live bright but thankfully short lives in pursuit of destruction and conflict. Abbadon hardly needs to break sweat because mankind already thirsts for war and conquest and placing one Baali in an army is enough to turn the entire force to his ends.
Militant disciples of ultimate destruction, they have been behind assorted fabrications and folktales about depraved Infernalists and demon-worshippers. Indeed, to welcome the coming of their venerated Master, they engage in blatantly obscene rites and rituals, and even muster great armies, mortal, monstrous, or otherwise, in misguided attempts to slaughter entire cities as sacrifice.
- Clanbook: Baali, White Wolf Publishing
Whether acting as an agent provocateur to incite a mob or leading an army of Mortal Cultists against a foreign state to destabilise the status quo, members of the Seminatrices Malorum are rarely subtle or secretive. Their goals are simple and straight forward and their tactics even more so. That being said a certain amount of subterfuge is always handy, convincing freed9om fighters to take up terror tactics for the greater good is as worthy a victory as leading a legion of career soldiers against a democratically elected leader in order to force a coup. Baali of the Seminatrices Malorum are experts at infiltration and many of them act as sleepers, running with the anarchs or even the Sabbat until the opportunity to cause havoc presents itself.
Mortals will always flock to those leaders who can promise Glory and the spoils of war and thus the Cults of the Seminatrices Malorum quickly grow to become vast armies and are just as quickly swept from the face of the world by equally destructive forces. While they last however, these cults are tigh knit and effective and few Ba'ali can hope to gather as much devotion or influence in such a short time.
Childer are chosen from varied walks of life, but the armed forces have long been a favoured recruiting ground. Those leaders with a blood thirsty urge and the charisma with which to enforce it make perfect Seminatrices Malorum. However in the modern world professional soldiery and warfare as a way of life are less prevalent skills and the Cult embraces anyone with a flair for chaos and destruction; arsonists, political activists, assassins or even terrorists.
The crucible of battle hones these Cultists into single-minded Vampires ridden by the base urges of the beast. Like their subtler brethren who commit acts of barbarous torture behind closed doors, the Seminatrices Malorum are slowly dividing. The Baali who follow Abbadon and his Furies espouse a course of war and destruction for its own sake while the followers of Anath have begun to splinter away to find their own way. These two cults of personality will eventually become large enough to be considered major players while those Seminatrices Malorum without such patrons fail to stand the test of time.
The pleasurists are those Baali who either through slavery to their own desires or a deeper thirst to break the rules of morality seek to indulge their lusts. Wickedness is for them an art to be worked at, performed with panache and savoured with relish. While the act itself brings its own rewards, the fact that each sin chips away at the strangle hold righteousness has on the world is a further blessing.
The Baali propensity for exploration and veneration of the vile and unspeakable is as much a part of their legend as their fear and revulsion when confronted with the upright and virtuous. Iniquity is not just a way of life for the Vasa Iniquitatis, it is an act of devotion, of rebellion and of meditation. The freedom and empowerment gained from the loosing of the shackles of virtue quickly becomes addictive and requires endless fixes to keep the palette from becoming jaded.
Baali of this Cult might deal with Demons such as the Succubi for the procurement of exotic bed mates or illegal highs, but they rarely if ever seek to barter their souls for power, at least at first. Once they become slaves to their vices it is not uncommon for them to betray everything they once valued for that next hit. If a junkie would rob his grandmother and suck cocks to raise his stake, how much harder can it be to portion off his soul and sell it to the Infernal?
From the pleasure palaces of Babylon, through the Orgies of Rome and the indulgencies of bohemian Europe to the pent house suits of the modern world, the Vasa Iniquitatis have never lacked cultists and means to worship their patrons. The opportunity to indulge all senses is mankind's greatest temptation and the Vasa Iniquitas have always enjoyed a large stable of mortal vassals.
the Vasa iniquitatis never need to search for worthy childer, those with the balls will seek them out. While each individual holds their own benchmark for what it takes to be a Ba'ali, those who make the grade need to be special. Simply indulging in iniquity does not a Ba'ali make, one needs to be a true trailblazer, a sexual revolutionary or a substance abuser of epic and ever challenging proportions. A party boor who simply follows the herd or a sycophant will soon wind up as a Ba'ali repast but the avant-garde seeker may well be granted an eternity to study her appetites.
Of all the ancient orders it is the Vasa Iniquitatis that survives fullest to the modern day, mutating to become Cults such as the joyous. When Cocaine flows like snow and the morals of humanity are so weak, the Wicked live like Kings. Simply living a life that others disapproved of was enough in the ancient world, but as the years passed and civilization spread, so the watermark for what was acceptable and what was just not done got higher and higher. In the modern world where the rules are less rigid, where adulterers and unmarried mothers no longer face a public stoning, Sinfulness is harder to commit. That being said, most of the Vasa Iniquitatis see this simply as a challenge to be bested and never shy away from the search for the profane.
Although the Baali leant the lessons of subtlety well and never again lifted their heads high enough to have them cut off, the defeat handed to them by the other Clans stung. Shaitan eventually moved on but his siblings and their childer could not so easily forget that act. Revenge wanted to be had and it whispered to the Baali as they slept, leading to the formulation of many schemes. As they began to reaffirm their holdings the Baali sought to return the favour the other Vampires had granted them and they began to watch their enemies. A few of the other Clans were tempted and corrupted into Baali cults and this expanded their knowledge of Caines other children, but it took spies and infiltrators to gain the real edge.
While a special hatred is reserved for the Assamites, Brujah and Gangrel Clans for their role in the destruction of the Baali's first pleasure palaces, none of the 13 fully escapes the revenge of internal corruption brought by the Virus of the infiltrators. The Ultores Scelorum became the ultimate experts on Clan lore and they founded colleges purely for the training of faux Clan members in Iberia and Macedonia.
The infiltration of the other Clans has been going on since before History began and in the Final nights it is anybodies guess as to how many of the lineages of the 13 are in secret members of the Baali. Because of their descent from Ravnos via Ashur the Baali are harder to detect when posing as members of the Clans those creatures founded. Certain tricks and Investments can be learned to fool the Tremere's investigators through Blood magic but the cost is often prohibitive. What few Mortal cultists there are in the Ultores Scelorum are trained to be Ghouls and retainers and have thier minds conditioned to beleive the lie, adding an extra line of deciet for the imposter.
For some Baali it is a simple matter of survival rather than of revenge that drives them to reinvent themselves as Brujah or Lasombra, and a vampire might live out her Unlife as a member of a Clan to which she has no true claim. They may never communicate with their Bloodline and might actually espouse the goals and ideals of their adopted Clan, wishing beyond all hope that they were truly descendants of that Clans founder. For this reason the name Ultores Scelorum has lost its meaning to at least half of its members. In cases like these one needs to ask how much the line of Blood truly defines the Clans and can a descendant of Shaitans heresy not make a perfect Ventrue?
The Ultores Scelorum or revengers of wickedness were trained in the arts of Clan infiltration; many of them were embraced specifically for the task and chosen more for their attraction to the target Clan than for any traits the Baali might appreciate.
The Ultores Scelorum still exist, although there is less central control and many infiltrators do so for other Cults rather than as part of an organized program. Sleeper agents who might have been posing as the member of a different Clan for centuries certainly exist in the Camarilla and the Sabbat and it is anybodies guess when they will take action.
Also known as the infidiators, the Tentatores maligeni are a breed apart from the average Baali. Their service to the Infernal is at a different level to the mere worshipers and dupes of the other cults, or that is how they themselves view the difference. The translation of the name Tentatores maligeni, meaning tempters and bad genii, shows how widespread and insidious they were in the ancient world. They spread sinfulness and distrust by means of their charisma and skill and did a fair bit to promote the image of the Devil as a mephistophlean tempter.
The Tentatores maligeni are involved more closely with the Infernal soul trade than other orders and are in many ways the most powerful Cult of the Baali. While the Vampiric Baali have no way of using or gathering souls, they can make pacts that grant them ownership of another's soul and thus act as go between for the Demonic world. Starting out in the marketplace is fraught with dangers as the Tentatores maligeni needs to attract the attention of the most powerful Demon he can in order to make a deal high enough up the chain without summoning a creature so alien and powerful that it snuffs out his unlife with a mere thought. He must then barter a deal by which the Demon not only allows him to continue existing, but will also be willing to deal with the Vampire. Should the Baali succeed, and assuming he is smart enough not to have signed a pact that places him over a barrel with his trousers down, he could now gather enough souls with which to buy Investments from his patron. Most common pacts rely upon a conversion rate of one tenth, meaning the soul of another would gain the same benefit as selling a tenth of your own soul and the souls of ten other are equal to selling your own soul completely, but this rate might rise to one hundredth or one thousandth.
The Spiritus mendaciorum or spirit of lying were formed by the 4th generation Baali Amriat whose name passed down to us via a legend that claimed he slew the Ravnos Dracian, husband of the Gypsy matriarch Deanna. Originally one of the 13 lords of the Baali, Amriat has not been heard of since the fall of Kala-at-Sherghat and most are convinced he was destroyed in that event. Certainly his narrow mindedness and lack of vision made him unpopular with Shaitan who was heard more than once to state that had he not wished to rob Gangrel of all his brothers and sisters Amriat could have remained in Ashur's ziggurat and rotted.
The Cult that he once oversaw specialised in falsehoods and lies and were allied to the Fallen Angel Pytho, Prince of lies. Much of what they practiced came down to them via Ashur's sire, the Prince of Chaos himself, Ravnos. The gradual erosion of truth and thus of belief and comprehension of what is good and what is evil was a wonderful tool in the Baali armoury and in the ancient world when a single traveller would provide the world news for an entire city, the manipulation of the media was paramount.
Baali inheritors of this Orders remit are capable of using the modern media, the internet, TV, radio and the written word. To control the flow of information to the enemy is perhaps the greatest asset the Baali could field in the final nights. False 'Books of Nod', falsified carbon dating reports on crumbling papyrus and delicate stone fragments, the possibilities are endless.
The Apostatae or preachers are perhaps the most open of the Baali Cults. For them gathering followers is a simple act of telling the truth, or portions of it. Their Cults know full well that they are worshipping the devil or his minions and many are equally aware that the man who brought them into this Cult is himself one of the Damned Undead.
It is the Apostatae who often sing their Bloodlines praises so highly and with such Charisma that members of the other Clans defect and join the satanic cults of the Baali. They learn the dangerous arts of corruption while sizing up each prospective convert, and then when the time is right they reveal thier true allgience and offer the target a slice of the pie.
Apostatae are the High priests and Guru's of satanic cults and schools of demonology. Sometimes they pose as neo pagan philosophies or spiritualist groups, but in the Final nights there is no shortage of unintelligent mortals willing to openly serve 'the Devil' or 'Satan'. However these simple minded fools explain it away, from Anton le Vay's psuedodrivel to Crowley's abandonment of personal responsibility, the Apostatae need simply continue to entertain his minions and to extol the virtues of his own dogma.
The Order keeps its eyes open for the leaders of men, those with the gift of the gab. Once chosen, the newly embraced Ba'ali is tested vigorously and must prove himself capable of the tasks ahead. For such cerebral pursuits, the training and testing is remarkably tough and failures rarely survive to try again.
Following the fractured changes with the Church, both Eastern and western, and the divergent Cults of the Jewish and Islamic faiths, the Apostatae have weathered the last 900 years with few losses. They have remained a collection of charismatic Vampires who network in an old boys club and get together to swap achievements. Apostatae are nearly always masters of the spoken word with high social skills, in the modern world they know every trick of the media and can spread their Dogma by electronic mail with the same skill they would employ in the pulpit.
As far back as Kala-at-Sherghat the Baali have posed as Gods and deities, usurping the worship of local spirits and devas and turning the faithful into their thralls. This is not an easy thing to do and usually only works for a single Baali who must either manipulate the populace alone or ensure that his Coven accept his raised position and are kept sweet by his rulership. The phrase Pseudothei means both that old boys club of false gods and the Cults that exist to support them. When the Baali Lord Crom travelled to the lands of the Fae in Eire to appropriate the place of the Maggot god, he took his childer with him. He became a Pseudothei Baali, the head of a Pseudothei Cult.
In the modern age the Pseudothei are reduced to seizing the power of limited spirits and legendary figures rather than the personal and localised gods of yore. Many Pseudothei pose as Angels and fool the Christians and their ilk into following their 'messages from God'.
The Fallen Elohim Baphomet has always understood the importance of spreading his risks and was keen to gather thralls from as many camps as possible. While he excelled at the corruption of the Magi, he also saw the benefit of gathering a few Vampires to his side as well. Most dutiful among his Baali were the Praestigiatores, the imitators of miracles, Undead Cultists who act as his agents on earth.
The vampiric disciplines and the Infernal investments of his faithful fooled the mortals into believing they were dealing with the Angels of God and entire communities had damned their souls before they woke up to the truth. Before the age of reason all it took to be a messenger of God was a simple miracle, and the Praestigiatores had those in spades. The peoples in the final Nights are less willing to risk their faith and explain much of what they see as smoke and mirrors or camera trickery, but the Praestigiatores still find ways to gather converts. Now more than ever they openly admit their powers are derived from the darkness but for many jaded mortals that is more than enough to get them to sign over their souls, or at least their life savings.
As well as the Ba'ali, there are a small number of corrupted Tremere, Assamites, Setites and Tzimisce among the Praestigiatores. These turn coats were drawn in by members of the Apostatae and the promise of unique Paths of Pit craft and dark thaumaturgy.
The similarities between the Pseudothei and the Praestigiatores led to their eventual merging. Older baali who spent time in either Order choose to refer to the new Cult by the older names and those loyal to baphomet become indignat if refered to as Pseudothei. The Pseudothei/ Praestigiatores suffered a decline in power during the Age of reason and the Industrial revolution, but eventually managed to recover. The renewed belief in spirituality and the Occult during the 19th and 20th centuries saw a rise in Pseudothei/ Praestigiatores membership and power and they are currently enjoying a new era of influence albeit by pretending to be lesser beings that they once imitated. In the modern age the Pseudothei/ Praestigiatores are reduced to seizing the power of limited spirits and legendary figures rather than the personal and localised gods of yore. Many Pseudothei/ Praestigiatores pose as Angels and fool the Christians and their ilk into following their 'messages from God'.
When Biblical scholars sought to Demonise the Great God of Ekron and Canaan Baal they played word games with his title Baal-zebul ('Lord of High places') and came up with Baal-zebub ('lord of flies'), a mistake taken to heart by the Hive. Adopting a philosophy that highlights the greatest insult their lord ever suffered these weak, uneducated tools of the Decani and the demon Namtaru grew to power in the Dark ages. By the time of the Crusades they had devolved so completely into filth and squalor as to be almost unrecognisable as true Ba'ali and their eventual fate was sealed.
The Hive are owned by no Lord and are thus considered to be under a ruling of open season for any of the Hidden who wish to deal with them. Lack of imagination and a simple minded devotion to depravity and corruption makes them easy to manipulate and willing to give over their entire souls for little more than parlour tricks and baubles. The true irony of the Hive is that their belief that they could hear the voices of the Darkness in the chittering of insects allowed them a unique ability to hear the symphony.
Members of the Hive are devoted to the most foul lords whom they see as manifested in the lowest of natures offspring, adoring insects and vermin for the filth they spread. To these Ba'ali, depravity and rancour are their own reward and they worship a Ba'al that shows no signs of intellect beyond the mad gibbering of the swarm. It is almost impossible to understand why any sentient creature would act as they do and any rewards the Swarm hope to gain escape the observation even of their fellow Ba'ali. The Hive are big on Ba'ali unity, their path, the Via Hyron, preaches that it is a sin to betray other Ba'ali. Thus severely hampering the clans major means of self-discipline and evolution in which the practiced tactic is to sacrifice the weak that the worthy might continue.
Members of the Hive Cult follow a genesis myth that flies in the face of their own creation, practice goals that all evidence screams are pointless and immerse themselves in the most uncomfortable conditions. While membership requires a marked lack of imagination and intelligence and most Ba'ali of the hive were damaged of mind before undergoing the foul creation rites of their cult there seems to be no definite archetype for Hive neonates. Members of the Cult believe they hear the voice of their masters in the meaner things on life; the buzz of flies and the chittering of rats, perhaps their choices for the embrace are given to them in these little snippets of madness.
Almost completely ignorant of the truth about the clan having been lied to by their masters, the Hive or the Swarm lacked the intellect or subtlety to stay hidden and were unable to protect themselves from the vengeance of other Clans, mortal Witch hunters and a million right thinking denizens of the World of darkness. While a few miserable and pathetic nests of the Hive still exist in the final nights, their time is past and their lack of wit or devotion to an actual Infernal court has reaped them little power and no rewards.
For a detailed description of their twisted view on the WoD see Clanbook: Baali (WW2817).
Free me, if you will, and I will return to my masters' side, hastening the end of all. Destroy me, if you can, and my essence will join that of so many others, flowing unchecked into the cracks we have opened in your world.
- Clanbook: Baali, White Wolf Publishing
The Celestials are worshippers of the powers behind the world, the ancient Gods and their messengers. They seek understanding of the great powers, known as the Daevin to Occultists, and how they might benefit from the fading glories of these once powerful beings. To the Celestials even the Christian God might become a patron of worthy adoration, surely the Cabbalistic and Hermetic texts detail ways to summon and bind His Angels. But more likely masters come from the ancient pantheons and highest among them is Great Baal himself. Baal, God of the Canaanites and the Lord whose love created the Baali. Whatever he is now, Baal was once a true deity, one of the sons of El [the chief god of the Canaanites], the god of thunder and winter storms, the dynamic warrior god who champions the divine order against the menacing forces of chaos, identified with vegetation and the seasonal fertility cycle.
While many follow the glorification of the Fallen God Baal, others recognise new powers to serve. Just as they are denied the Love of the creator, so were this entities pushed into the Darkness by the coming of 'the One'. Celestials find patronage from Fallen Angel's, Daevin and a myriad of chthonic spirits of the underworld such as Ereshkigal or Hades. Most notably are the European followers of one of Ashur's own Childer who usurped the name and place of the God Crom.
Baal was originally the son of Dagon, but rose to be recognised as the son of El the head of the pantheon by dint of his greatness. Dagan was the Hebrew and Ugaritic common noun for "grain," and the god Dagan was the legendary inventor of the plow. His father is seen by some Baali as the true font of their lineage, the object most deserving of their worship. For others Dagon and Baal are simply fractions of a deeper and more important pantheon of Godlings who were deposed by the Clans and their domination of Western idolatry.
Dagan or Dagon was originally a title used by Ba'ali who ruled cities in the kingdom of Kala-at-Sherghat; there are references to the local Dagan of various towns: Dagan of Terqa, Dagan of Tuttul, and so on. The original Sons of Dagon Cult flourished in Mesopotamia in the years following the fall of Kala-at-Sherghat, when these 'Princes' rose to the heads of their local pantheons but the name has now become an umbrella phrase for any Cult that directs it worship to toppled Gods rather than to the Infernal. Members of these cults do not even recognise the Infernal nature of Baal or of the Baali and most, if not all, walk the Road of Heaven in its specific form as it relates to their religion. Their masters have them completely convinced that they are deposed Gods and that they are totally benign.
Over time this Cult has been manipulated into a small but devout force of Thaumaturgists of power and influence. Cells exist across the globe with devotion paid to countless fertility Gods and pre-Christian deities. Whatever the true identity of their masters, the sons of Dagon wait for a mythical and prophesised return to glory.
Nothing can erase this night
But there's still light with you
And if we can never see the sun
There's still light with you
And I have seen all I want to
And I have felt all I want to
- Rhapsody, Siouxsie and the Banshees.
To sit in darkness here
Hatching vain empires.
- Milton, Paradise Lost
In Southern America Shaitan created empires that suited his desires. He manipulated the various tribes of pre Colombian America and perfected his already extensive powers. Over the centuries he was tutored by Ba'al and became a minor power among the creatures of Hell, he trained himself to feed on the slaughter and suffering of the mortals around him and evolved from a mere vampire into a true Demon. He controlled his Childer across the globe even while in torpor and while the Ba'ali developed in the Old world Shaitan shaped new thralls to his will. As the Aztec war God Huitzilopochtli he spread destruction and slaughter across his lands and as the Night God Tezcatlipoca he spread his insidious darkness among the supernaturals.
Across the southern continent Shaitan slowly corrupted portions of the native vampire Bloodline, the Ahua Can and battling these Setite offshoots kept him entertained, but he could not resist the beast forever. Once his power in the region was secured he began to yearn to spread his blood and he had Pidray embrace from among the Priesthood of the Aztec. In his adopted persona of Tezcatlipoca Shaitan created a New Ba'ali line, the Ah Puch. These Ba'ali were recognised by the Aztec as Gods of Death and the rulers of the lowest Hells. As always he kept his bloodline small, never allowing them to grow large enough to challenge him. From time to time Tezcatlipoca would appear in a Ba'ali haven and devour the Ah Puch's heart before fading back into the night.
In the fertile crescent Shaitan had let his childer run wild, satiating every lust and throwing all caution to the wind. While the centuries that Kala-at-Sherghat reigned were gratifying, the end was inevitable, not even the depraved Vampires of the second city would allow the Ba'ali to continue having so much fun when they had just destroyed their own paradise. Learning that lesson well, Shaitan now enjoyed his appetites vicariously, he shaped his Mortal thralls into bloodthirsty monsters by convincing them their acts were essential. The Aztec believed that without the continual sacrifices the sun would end and so acts of unforgivable barbarism were carried out in the name of adoration by a people expunged of guilt. The Aztec were heroes in their own eyes, saviours of creation and loving children of the earth. As this philosophy spread throughout their kingdoms, carried on the winds on conquest, the acts of bloodletting were accepted by the mortals and by the supernaturals born into their tribes. Never again would the sensibilities of the world be offended, no right thinking avengers would bring the Ba'ali low because the Ba'ali and their thralls represented the height of morality and proper conduct.
The Ah Puch Ba'ali practice the foul rights of the true Ba'ali, the causing of torment and pain for empowerment. Like the Joyous Cult in the Old world, the Ah Puch have woven layers of lies in order to have their thralls perpetrate the most heinous of acts and every evil they commit is an act of worship to their masters. In time Shaitan grew beyond the limitations of the vampiric state, the power of Ba'al perhaps the only thing that could alter the gifts of Lilith inherent in the embrace. The Lord of the Ba'ali no longer needs to drink blood for sustenance; he can feed his hunger from the psychic residue of suffering. The acts of the Aztec, led by the Ah Puch priesthood, swelled Shaitan's reservoir of infernal energies and allowed him to manipulate an entire society to his nefarious ends.
The Ah Puch Ba'ali are tied together not only by a shared philosophy, but by location and lineage. Each of the Amerindian Ba'ali knows that his fellow cultists are descended from the same Vampires and worship the same dark masters. They trust each other, in as much as a Vampire can trust another Vampire she knows is dedicated to Hell on Earth. Due to their protracted exposure to their God, the Ah Puch have developed a superiority complex and they consider all other Ba'ali to be inferior. The flawed prototypes to their obvious perfection.
Tezcatlipoca's tactics have kept the Ah Puch strong and focused through fear. They mirror these tactics in the administration of their own Cults, ruling their mortal thralls through terror and brutality but rewarding loyalty with extreme prizes. Mortals of the Ah Puch Cult strive to attract the attention of their masters through acts of debauchery and flagrant blood lust in the hope of received the embrace. The capture of victims who can be sacrificed and feed the Gods has always elicited prestige among the Ah Puch and in the final nights this has grown in importance. The ability to gather victims, blood and resources for the Vampires without attracting the attention of other supernaturals or the mortal authorities is a sure fire way to rise in the ranks and to be considered worthy of the embrace .. or of destruction. Ah puch know well the folly of allowing to many powerful siblings to survive.
As the survivours of the Aztec and their vassal tribes were christianised and Mexico grew to challenge the united states, the Ah Puch infiltrated the Clans that flowed into their territories. To the North the Aztecs were joined by Black spiral dancers, Nephandi, Wyrm critters, Nosferatu and spectres who all came under Shaitan's control as Mexico City grew to its modern sprawl.
This collection of supernatural Diabolists, the Bolontiku, gathered deep beneath the city in a combined Caern known as the Underbelly of the Wyrm. Under the subtle domination of Shaitan the Black spiral dancers and the Nephandi went underground in the 16th century to escape the influx of Sabbat vampires and the Technocracy. By the twentieth century the Bolontiku had become the most corrupted society on earth and it fed on the suffering that is pandemic to Mexico city awaiting its dark masters pleasure.
THE MYSTERY CULTS
Etymologically, the word mystery is derived from the Greek verb myein ("to close"), referring to the lips and the eyes. In the mortal realm Mysteries were always secret cults into which a person had to be "initiated", but such practices were a matter of course for the Ba'ali. The appellation of Mystery, when attached to a Ba'ali cult, refers to the search for truths about the spiritual aspect of the Vampiric or the Demonic nature. The initiate often gave up affairs of the material world in favour of inner pursuits and the quest for Apocstasis, the wisdom of midnight teachings. Seeking to understand the Darkness of the world and how his own inner darkness was related to that he might wallow in acts of depravity or in a coenobites life of worship and the pursuit of clarity. The constitutive features of a mystery society were common meals, dances, and ceremonies, especially initiation rites. These common experiences strengthened the bonds of each cult and created Cults of adoring priests, but they are not to sole face of the Mystery cult. Others, such as the Children of the Enigma, preached individuality and lonely mediation as a means to discovering the ultimate truths of the Abyssal nature.
Vampires whose understanding of Apocstasis often rose to become Unholy messiahs and gurus not only among the Ba'ali but for Diabolical vampires in other clans as well. Lacking the Thaumaturgical or military might to protect themselves the Mystery Cults often hid among the mysteries practiced by Mortal religious groups. Cults analogous to the Greek mysteries developed in imperial Rome around Dionysus (Bacchus), the Egyptian goddess Isis, the Great Mother in Asia Minor, the Persian god Mithra(s), the Syrian sun-god Sol, and others. The constitutive features of the mystery societies, which reached their peak of popularity in the first three centuries of the Christian era, were common meals, dances, and ceremonies, especially initiation rites in which death and resurrection were symbolically represented.
The Joyous is simply the most modern name for the largest Cult within the Baali, consisting of those who wallow in the suffering of others. Led by the Baali regent Hannibaal (Kincaid) the Joyous are the central hub around which the smaller cults revolve. The Joyous are experts in manipulating the emotions of the Lachrymose (humanity), and the psychic residue of their suffering goes to empowering Ba'al and thus the Cult and even the Bloodline as a whole. Worship is centred on a temple, called a Lachrymatory (full of tears) where the Joyous and indeed other Baali will gather for important events. The collection of Psychic suffering that fulfils the practices and desires of the Baali is manifested as a font full of tears into which Ba'al transfers his power and love and the Baali pour the blood of their sacrifices before all share the concoction is a travesty of the Holy sacrament.
Served by the demonic Anak, the Joyous are unassailable in their place at the top of the Baali food chain and any Cult or Order that offends them will be unlikely to see another moon pass by. Both the Shi'lat and the Chatiphata ghoul families are controlled by the Joyous, and even if the Cult was forced to sacrifice all the other Cults and orders to survive they could still offer Shaitan a considerable force when he returned.
It is this cult of Ba'ali that most closely resemble the Ba'ali of old. Hannibaal was Shaitan's favourite, the two were lovers for a long time and the founder's love for him was transferred to Ba'al itself.
Ever since the fall of the bloodline Hannibaal has been the de-facto leader of the Ba'ali in many eyes. Certainly those of the Dread lords who still work together defer to his leadership in the belief that he is in some kind of contact with Shaitan himself.
The Joyous are perhaps the most insidious cult within the Ba'ali precisely because of their wide spread ability to prey on the rest of the world. Suffering comes in a variety of flavours and the Joyous have skilled crafters of each shade. Whether the Joyous plies his trade in physical or emotional suffering, the cultivation of pain is an act of devotion, worship and empowerment. It is from the teachings of the joyous that many of the medieval doctrines of the Ba'ali arose. The screams and tears of their victims, the very suffering itself, serves to satiate the Demon to whom they pay vassalage. Their evil does not keep the 'children of Night' from awakening, although that myth is possibly one of the greatest tools ever created, but instead it pleases their God. A God who is very much awake and active in the world of darkness.
From Nero and Caligula to Stalin, the Joyous are drawn to humanity that echoes their own sheer sadism. In the souls of Humanities worst criminals the beast rages just loudly as it does in the undead. The Joyous are practiced masters of fanning the fires of human evil, and of searching out those times and places that need no assistance. Prestige in the Joyous is achieved by application of the imagination and subjugation of their humanity. Spurred on by their distant father, the favoured Ba'ali are encouraged to evolve. Shaitan wants not only thralls to worship him, he also seeks fellow Earthbound Demons. The Cult is engaged in a journey towards the Infernal and Shaitan hopes that once the Earth is delivered into the Abyss that he will be able to share his throne with others like him. If any other vampire is capable of manifesting the demonic nature that has reshaped the Childe of Ashur into the Child of Ba'al, they have yet to show any outward signs of such a transformation, but like all epiphanies, change begins with the soul.
Beyond the small time Hells angels and serial killers who follow the Ba'ali. The Joyous chose to embrace those with a flair for causing pain. Those with 'the stomach for it'. A successful candidate for the embrace must be intelligent and progressive, a skilled torturer rather than a mechanical causer of distress. Those who prey on the weak in the hope of gaining notice will never rise above the rank and file Cultists. Instead the cult embraces those who are driven to their acts by some inner, often alien, need to hurt.
The Mystery cults of the ancient world are alive in the children of the Enigma, seeking enlightenment and apostasies they collect lore and blasphemy alike. They prize nothing so much as enlightenment - however alien the notion might seem to others of their kind - and thrive on fierce intellectual debate over the smallest matters. Children of the Enigma are often antisocial, shunning the frivolous rites and celebrations of their brethren, and exclusively single minded in pursuit of their illumination. No prize is too high for the answers to the eternal question and no sacrifice too great, the enigma is an all consuming master.
Those Baali who seek Dark Knowledge above all else are members of this order, and in such quests are prone to uncovering entities they cannot hope to control. For that reason many of the Children fall to Nigromantic possession and perhaps this cult more than any other harbours creatures of that genius. Even those who do not open themselves to the Nigromantic Hive are willing to forge the darkest of pacts with the Hidden and some of the Baali's worse crimes come not from dedicated Hell Raisers but from bookish scholars fulfilling the terms of a contract with the Infernal.
The Children of the Enigma are masters of the Dark Thaumaturgical path of Secret Knowledge, their Mental Attributes and knowledge abilities are nearly always primary. Elder seekers may gain respect as experts on a given text or a certain areas lores and as such the cult becomes useful to the rest of the Ba'ali and can command the aid of their brethren in times of need. If any stereotype is true of these Cultists it is the stereotype of the bookish scholar, frail and musty from centuries studying forbidden knowledge and painful secrets.
The ideal candidate for embrace as far as the Children of the Enigma are concerned would be one of their own Ghouls or cultists. Someone who has not only shown the ability to decipher the myriad clues among the red herrings but who is willing to put in the hours and put aside the twin distractions of morality and companionship. Added to that is the fact most Baali of this cult just don't get out enough to meet anyone else to embrace.
Those who venerate Ba'al-called-the-Destroyer (Abbadon) seek an end to all things, that their masters might enter the world and begin again. Such was their goal in the palace of Knossos; such continues to be their goal in the lightless labyrinths and catacombs where they still scuttle in darkness. They do not seek the wanton slaughter of innocents, but rather to inherit the legacy of incessant chaos, and to grant a birthright to the next turning of the cycle of oblivion.
- Clanbook: Baali, White Wolf Publishing
`Anat, the Victorious Goddess,
the woman who acts like a warrior,
who wears a kilt like men and a sash like women.
|A major goddess of fertility, sexual love, hunting and war. She was known among the Canaanites in prehistoric times. From the fertile agricultural area along the eastern Mediterranean coast, her cult had spread throughout the Levant by the middle of the third millennium BCE.
The cult had become established in Egypt by the end of the Middle Kingdom and attained prominence, particularly in Lower Egypt during the Hyksos Dynasty. Her prestige reached its height in Egypt under Ramses II who adopted Anat as his personal guardian in battle. He named his daughter Bin-Anat, Daughter of Anat.
In Lebanon, Syria, and Palestine the worship of Anat persisted into Christian times (c. 200 CE), perhaps much longer in popular religion. In Egypt traditional religion was practiced until the end of the Egyptian period (c. 400 CE). Anat may have been worshiped in one or more of the few Egyptian temples that remained open into the early 6th century CE.
by Dr Anthony E. Smith
Childer of Ashur and Lover of both the Vampire Shaitan and of Baal itself, Anath was a warrior who was much beloved by her fellow Baali co-conspirators. She led the Armies of the Baali in their forays to capture and enslave the peoples that bordered their lands in Kala-at-Sharghat.
She grew to be worshipped as the Chief West Semitic goddess of love, fertility and war, the sister and helpmate of the god Baal (Bel). She was seen as a goddess with four differing aspects: mother, virgin, warrior, and wanton. Though a "mother" to many Vampires she was ever a "virgin", having been embraced young and intact. Her lust for blood, and or sex, was legendary. She was worshipped throughout Canaan, Syria and Phoenicia and commanded a vast mortal following. Embodying a motif common of goddesses throughout the Middle East, `Anat thus personifies a high level of energy which can find its outlet in sexuality or combat, the passionate ecstasy of sex and war.
Perhaps the tightest knit Cult among the Baali the followers of Anath eschew complicated rituals and convoluted hierarchies in favour of simplistic lifestyles. The retelling of the legends of Anath serve as guidelines for her faithful and Baali who belong to her Cult prize their martial skills and the primal beauty of battle above all else. Like their founder, they lack the urge to descend into perversion and depravity or to gather Infernal masters for personal gain, seeking instead the joy of conflict and the opportunity to vanquish the enemies of Baal. Even members of other cults have been known to make sacrifice to Anath before a battle or conflict. The purity of the warrior aesthetic attracts converts from the Assamite and Brujah Clans and many Vampires not embraced into the Mysteries of the Baali buoy up the Cult of Anath.
Celebrations and worship among the cultists involve sexual excess and challenges of might. The leaders of the Cult are required to face a Demonic entity known for its might such as the Ahazu and only the greatest prowess and cunning will win out to see the petitioner rise in status. Outwardly egalitarian in their nature there is still a tendency to view the descendants of Anath herself as the nobility and the most worthy members, and female Childer over the male.
The Baali of the Cult of Anath have a singular view on what makes a good childe and embrace only warriors. Mortal cultists may be chosen, but strangers who posses the mettle are just as likely to be targeted. They often devise a series of dangerous tests and challenges for the Childer to be, and thus a large number of potential members never live to receive the dark gift. Those who do are considered no less worthy than their peers and are welcomed into the band of battle hardened cultists.
Among the courts of the Infernal not every intelligence follows the human mode of thought. Many of the enemies of mankind are so alien, so incomprehensible, that both their worship and continued sanity are impossible to maintain. Whether the Ba'ali become Spawn of Elilim by choice, having lost all hope and all compassion, or whether, like Nephandic Mages or Garou dancers of the black Spiral, they invite forces beyond their control into their hearts and are no longer capable of perceiving what they have become, nothing can alleviate their state. The Ba'ali whose lack of Hope or of common compassion leads them to become Spawn of Elilim seek to drag the glories of existence into utter Oblivion.
From Malfean Spectres to Gods that wait beyond the stars, the unifying force of their masters is the thirst for Elilim, or nothingness, that they seek to satisfy. Hatred for creation, or an alien hunger that the human mind cannot comprehend, engenders the insidious and creeping plots of the Oblivion fixated Ba'ali and their actions seem intent of wiping out all life. Some Spawn believe that their masters will simply clean the slate in order to impose their own majesty upon the world, others simply see these creatures as a means to assuage their own hatred and despair and care little for what they seek.
Much of the Cult's gathered knowledge is based around Genocidal tactics. They have been known to enthral scientists and terrorists who might give them access to chemical or biological weaponry. They fund genetic research and secretly foster programs of genetic cleansing in war torn countries. To them the victory comes not from the multitude of creatures slain but in the complete eradication of a species or an ideal. Better to kill twenty members of a Vampiric bloodline if they are all there is, than to wipe a million Ventrue from the earth and leave one intact.
Slaves to the outer races and chthonic entities of cold Oblivion, the Spawn seek to hasten the end of the world. The forces of Oblivion and despair eat at their souls and few if any are capable of looking beyond that immediate goal. The tactics of nothingness are many, from the erosion of hope and light in the mortal world to the literal end to the world. Whether they hope to be spared the fate of their peers by their masters or whether actively seek Elilim is unclear.
What is clear is the way the slaves of Elilim actively seek to spread their heresy among the supernatural races. Already strongly allied with Malfean spirits and the darkest spectres from the underworld, they promote baneful allegiances with Dauntain Changelings and the Banality they carry. In the East the Spawn are able to pervert the theories of the great wheel and to tempt those who seek to serve this aspect of destiny. Oriental Mages and Vampires are equally prone to the whispers of the Spawn and many of these camps work in unison with the Ba'ali without ever knowing they have been corrupted.
The Spawn of Elilim rarely embrace others except as thralls or cannon fodder, but when they do they seek those whose souls are as shrivelled and hateful as their own. Occasionally a mortal will possess qualities that the Spawn recognise as serving the same ends they themselves do, but more often than not the ranks of this Cult are filled by those who seek them out than by those actively brought into the mystery. The unknowable masters of the Cult might direct servants towards someone who has fallen far enough from grace to be worthy of induction, but such events are rare.
NB: While many of the Spawn of Elilim serve the Force described in Wraith: the Oblivion, others are not so cut and dried. The final and inescapable goal of the Cult is Oblivion itself, there is a remarkable wealth of theory and philosophy about what Oblivion actually entails and whether it is the death of the Universe, including the Cultists, or just Oblivion for the world as it is now, leading to a new beginning.
The Itzcoatl are the corrupted members of a south american Bloodline descended from Set. While their siblings hide in the jungles of Mexico and mesa america, posing as Gods, the Itzacoatl have devolved into depraved and infernal monsters under the tutelage of none other than Shaitan himself and stalk the cities and baro's of the third world.
More information can be found on the Itzcoatl page
I must become a borrower of the night
For a dark hour or twain.
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth
The so called Azaneali Baali that flocked to Chorazin in the dark ages were allied to Lasombra Infernalists and they shared their mastery over Darkness and shadows. Originally led by Azaneal, a man whose lack of personal Charisma was aptly compensated for by his strength of will and his drive to usurp the Baali elders and unite the Baali under his banner. Azaneal sought to finish the work of Nergal and to open Chorazin as a gateway through which the darkness could enter the world. His first step towards this goal was to retrieve the body of Namtaru from Crete and returning it to Chorazin, hoping that would be the key to the Infernal doorway.
The Angellis ater and the Azaneali Baali paid the ultimate price for the secrets of Chorazin. They became possessed by Chorazin's darkness incarnate when they entered the pit beneath the city in which Namtaru had rested for millennia. The power of the words and symbols it had scratched into the walls in its fitful sleep did not wait to be read but leapt into the minds of those present. This knowledge shattered what remained of the souls of Anazeal and his accomplices and prompted them to fall upon each other in a murderous frenzy, leaving only Anazeal to walk out of that abyssal tomb.
Azaneal went on to create 12 childer but they were infertile and his line ended there. From then on the Azaneali Baali, now referred to as the Angellis ater Baali, converted other Baali willing to share in their power and fortunes. Azaneal was undisputed master of Chorazin for many years and that alone made him a leader worthy of respect for many younger Baali. Over the past 900 years Azaneal grew despondent over his continued failure to defeat the Decani and retrieve the body of Namtaru and even the driving wishes of the Darkness within has learned to accept smaller victories. The power granted to him by Chorazin and by the dream scrawling of Namtaru empowered him enough that he is now considered one of the leading lights of the Baali and he might well ascend to take the place of one of the lost lords when Shaitan returns.
Azaneal and his 12 infertile childer are little more than husks animated by the Darkness of Chorazin and thus they all excel at obtenebration, gaining the ability to learn it as if they were part of the Lasombra Clan. The childer of Azaneal all share his gluttonous thirst for blood, perhaps to fill the void in their souls, and a lust to be sole inheritor of Chorazin's spiritual wealth, and they all work together for now while planning to ultimately betray their brethren once the secret is unlocked.
The Black Angels of the Ba'ali are centred around Chorazin, seeking to return what they believe to be one of the children to that city in order to open a gateway. The majority of the Cult are little more than confused dupes drawn by the promise of power and destined to be consumed by the flames of betrayal that emanate from the original Childer of Azaneal.
The Baali converted to the cause of the Black angels are most often the young and disaffected Baali drawn by the promise of power or simply seeking a new Shaitan to follow. The Angellis ater have gathered a respectable amount of lore concerning the true names and summoning rituals of 'the children' and their recruitment techniques are nothing to be sneezed at.