- Reviled infernalists, hated by everyone
- Some want to wake up sleeping demons for their own twisted purposes
- Some will stop at nothing to keep those same demons asleep
The Baali are explorers, first and foremost – students of the unknown, the unknowable, the unspeakable. They will do almost anything and sacrifice almost anyone to gain access to occult mysteries. They squander the wealth they have accumulated, they make deals they cannot live up to, and they do so with no apology and no attempt at excuse. They are, however, not Faustian bargainers, although many Baali neonates fall into that trap.
Instead, Baali hide inside Cainite society, seeking favours, showing subservience to (and in some cases, compelling obedience from) a diverse group of infernal powers: the Lords of the Abyss, insect-demons, dark gods, the vast hierarchy known as the Children, fallen angels, and on and on. Most Baali agree that the greatest joy comes in service, taking their rightful place within the hierarchy of the truly Damned.
Devils are almost universally reviled, receiving the same warm welcome their mortal infernalist kin do – a heretic’s blazing pyre. Princes call Blood Hunts on mere rumours of a Baali Nest in their Domain. There is no place for them among the Camarilla, though some of the cannier elders consider the bloodline’s presence a useful diversion from their own hidden schemes. But it is undeniable that they hold a power that could be very useful if turned against Camarilla and Inquisition alike…and some few Baali see opportunity among the Anarchs.
Legend holds the Baali to be the first bloodline to stand apart from the Clans, a tainted lineage plaguing Cainite society from the time of the Second City. As for what progenitor sired this wicked line of infernalists, none can agree. Some believe the Tzimisce responsible, due to their long association with the demon Kupala. The Tremere spread that tale, but then will turn and blame hated Saulot a moment later, saying his brood’s pogrom against the Devils was evidence of a guilty conscience. The Malkavians refuse to speak on the matter.
The bloodline’s own record of their origin is transmitted orally from sire to childe. They tell a story of a nameless tribe in what would become Tyre, a people who held atrocity to be revelatory. During a pre-dawn ritual around a sacrificial pit, their violence was interrupted by a dark and terrible figure – some Baali believe this to have been Cappadocius, others Saulot, others Tzimisce or even Haqim. Whoever it was, they tore into the tribe, rending their mortal flesh into alien patterns and twisting their hearts to the sky before tossing their mutilated corpses into the pit, and spraying them with blood, before departing. Three crawled out at sunset – Nergal, Moloch, and the Unnamed. They took the lordly title of Baali for their own, and turned their blood towards the rituals they had practiced as mortals. They found terrible power answering back.
The Baali have fought wars against the Banu Haqim, the Mesu Bedshet, and the Salubri in the past; they have always survived. Some say that the reason the Roman Ventrue razed Carthage was that the Baali had grown too powerful there. It is undeniable that the spread of Christianity and Islam has been a major threat to the Baali, and the Inquisition even moreso. Baali are constantly on the run, hiding their practices and origins from other Cainites and spreading corruption and disease in service to their dark masters. But they have not been united since the height of Zoroastrianism, clinging to the idea of existence as a struggle between darkness and light.
Most Baali define themselves after the first Three of their kind – the Nergali, the Molochim, and the followers of the Unnamed. Nergal was driven by a quest to gain the power of the slumbering demons for himself, and so the Nergali favour more direct and blatant acts, introducing mortal occultists into their ranks and spreading demonology. Moloch argued that sating the horrifying desires of slumbering demons with sacrifice and chaos is better than allowing them to awake, and so the Molochim are more secretive, inserting themselves into vampiric and mortal society to bring it down from within. Those modelling themselves after the Unnamed keep their own counsel, not even revealing which of the rumours about their founder is true – was it Zillah? Lilith? The Crone? The remainder variously seek to reduce Creation back to the infinite darkness that was before God created light, to unravel the secrets of the cosmos in order to achieve apotheosis, or take a decidedly more alien view of the world, seeing every mortal as a means to propagate the Swarm of which they are merely an Avatar.
All Baali have at least two identities, if not more. Among their own kind, they organize into small, tightly-knit groups called Nests or covens, usually in three or six. These Nests meet only rarely, gathering only to perform some dark ritual or discuss matters of dire consequence. They prefer to meet under the new moon, though lunar eclipses hold great meaning for them and major rituals are performed at that time. Nests meet in secret places where their activities will not be disturbed, yet still within the city they wish to prepare.
These meetings are few and far between, however. In the interim, Baali usually pose as upstanding members of Cainite society, appropriate to the local area. Contrary to popular belief, they do not pose as Caitiff – Caitiff are distrusted enough on general principle alone. Instead, they are far more devious, hiding behind a mask of blood passed down through millennia: they pose as Tremere.
- Crimean Khanate
- Iberian Peninsula
- Italian Peninsula
- Mediterranean islands
- Ottoman Empire
The Baali love abandoned places of worship, desecrating former altars with blasphemous rituals. They gather cults of personality, gradually converting the mortals to worship of ancient dark powers.
The Baali usually only Embrace those who are intelligent and driven. Most who are Embraced into the Baali had interest in the occult during their mortal lives. The Embracing ritual of the Baali is one of their most disturbing. A Baali will capture their prey and bring them to a prepared site. There will be a large pit, filled with dozens of decomposing bodies. The Baali drains their victim to near death and tosses them into the pit. The Baali hides their blood inside one of the corpses’ hearts. If the victim manages to find the heart and drink the blood before they die, they are considered worthy of becoming Baali. Ironically, this makes the Baali the only clan that regularly gives their victim the choice of becoming a vampire or choosing to die.
The Baali can also recruit vampires from other clans into their ranks; such a successfully recruited vampire is called an Apostate. The Baali even have a ritual commonly called the Rite of Apostasy which proves the recruit’s loyalty to the Baali and grants the recruit the demonic Discipline of Daimonion in place of one of their former Clan Disciplines.
Bali cannot bear to look upon or handle objects of any faith. They must avert their gaze from such objects, and touching them burns their flesh for a point of aggravated damage, which cannot be reduced or negated. In addition, should a Baali run afoul of True Faith, any hindrance or damage effects are doubled
- Infernal Heritage (1)
- Infernal Acolyte (1)
- Athenaeum of the Hive (2)
- Subtle as Hell (2)
- Dark Magics (3)
- Moloch’s Heir (3)