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  • Baali Questions & Speculations

    Hi everyone,

    so i was on 2 vampire Discord Servers and a Podcast and some very interesting things were brought up about the Baali and i wanted your oppinions on it. Personally i just find all these speculations very interesting though some seem very far out there.

    1) As example, the crone and Zillah are both among the suspected Progenitors of the Baali, but in that case, Nergal, Moloch and the Unnamed would all be 3rd Generation Vampires, not 4th, technlicly making 3 different factions of Baali in their own clans

    2) Even worse, the Unnamed is considered by some to be the Crone. But since the Crone is a 2nd Generation Vampire, that only leaves Caine as the Baali Progenitor making Moloch and Nergal second Generation Kainites as well.

    Now this does kinda fit the Theme of the Baali being "The Lords" of vampires and why their blood can effectively override that of any other Clan, it would be the power of the old 2nd Generation blood. It would also kinda explain why Baali have so vastly different disciplines based on their background (like the Black Angels with Obtenebration, Daimonion and Dominate) and makes them even more scary. It also would kinda fit Caines rage against god, which is embodied in the Baali.

    3) That said, some suspect Lilith to be the Unnamed, which is fitting her Character Arch but also would leave her as second Generation Vampire and Caine as progenitor and would also explain why t least some Baali are also Anti Caine.

    4) Moving from the Origins to the disciplines. Daimonion comes from the demons - that much is clear, but so does Koldunic sorcery which is given by the earthbound like Kuppala. Same goes for Dark thaumaturgy which, as far as i can tell, is basicly the same as normal thaumaturgy with a darker twist.
    Now there is lots of Paths for thaumaturgy and id argue, Baali have access to all paths the Tremere have and even more in adition that come from demons and as we know thaumaturgical pahts vary a LOT. As does Koldunic sorcery to which Baali should have access as well.
    That, plus the fact that Baalo already differ a lot in their discipline sets, is it far out there to think that there must be more versions of Daimonion as well, based on the actual demonic Lords the particular Baali Methusela bound himself to and thus his offspring?
    Apparently, given the existance of the Azaneali that also have access to Obtenebration, the void doesnt shun the Baali either. (making Azaneali absolutely OP given with Tenebrous form and Ignore the Searing flames, they are only vulnerable by magic and sunlight)

    5) Given the secrecy of the Baali, we know pretty definitely that there are only 3 "original" Baali but i dont see why not much more bloodlines would exist - some said, technicly, there are as many baali bloodlines as there are clans and bloodlines total times 3, given that each convert replaces 1 of his prior clan disciplines with daimonion and thats that.

    So what do you guys think?

  • #2
    Most likely the Unnamed identity issue has been dealt once V20 resumed the Ur-Shulgi's discarded material from Assamite Revised. Clayton Oliver even gave a subtle confirmation here on the forum about Ur Shulgi being the third Baali.

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    • #3
      Interesting. But then Haqim couldnt be his sire or would be the sire of all Baali which makes me question why the Baali and Assamites fight each oher so brutally. I mean ur shulgi certainly corrupts the assamites from within...but then he turned the tide in the Baali war against the Baali which doesnt seem to be that fitting in my oppinion

      Accoding to the unoficial Trivia on the Wiki Ur Shulgi is a Baali, thrown into the well by Haqim, but long AFTER the original 3 Baali progenitors were already out there which would make it impossible for Ur Shulgi to be the Unnamed though he would be a fourth 4th. Gen Baali. That aid he wouldnt be actual Baali either as he wouldnt share their blood
      Last edited by Orkar; 08-21-2020, 04:24 AM.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Orkar View Post
        Interesting. But then Haqim couldnt be his sire or would be the sire of all Baali which makes me question why the Baali and Assamites fight each oher so brutally. I mean ur shulgi certainly corrupts the assamites from within...but then he turned the tide in the Baali war against the Baali which doesnt seem to be that fitting in my oppinion

        Accoding to the unoficial Trivia on the Wiki Ur Shulgi is a Baali, thrown into the well by Haqim, but long AFTER the original 3 Baali progenitors were already out there which would make it impossible for Ur Shulgi to be the Unnamed though he would be a fourth 4th. Gen Baali. That aid he wouldnt be actual Baali either as he wouldnt share their blood

        A) V20 change the perspective on the Baali, and focus not on the Baali sire but on the Well of Sacrifice (1). What matters is the Well from where the Baali came, no the sire per se. There were several moments the Baali were "founded". Lore of the Bloodlines confirm this since it says that the original founders where only Moloch and Nergal. The Unnamed came later, he wasn't there when Saulot threw the first two in the well (2).

        B) Ur-Shulgi was "purified" by Haqim. Ur-Shulgi story is just the same of Baal the Destroyer (3), even his embrace age in the character sheet in Children of the Night is a quote from Baal the Destroyer tale. While Ur-Shulgi was at first a Baali leader, after he was defeated he was exorcised by Haqim. So while he is not a Baali anymore, he is "something more, and something less" (4).


        C)Baali do not share blood. They are not a Clan or a real bloodline, but a demonic transfiguration of previous Clans. Every vampire can become a Baali: Gangrel, Nosferatu, Lasombra, anyone. The Rite of Apostasy can transform any vampire in a Baali (5).




        1) V20 Tal'Mahe'ra p. 93-94, 97 and p.103

        2) V20 Lore of the Bloodlines p.10, p.12

        3) Revised storyteller's handbook p.30

        4) Unrelased Assamite Revised material http://www.assamites.com/urshulgi.htm (note how some lines are direct quotes from the Storyteller's handbook: )

        6) V20 Lore of the Bloodlines p.17, but also Clanbook Baali p.44

        Last edited by Undead rabbit; 08-21-2020, 04:50 AM.

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        • #5
          Diamonion is a vampire Discipline, a product of the vampire state, cultivated through parasitism around the infernal; It is not, like DT, a power granted by demons. It'd be easier to think of Diamonion as 'stolen' from demons.
          Koldunism: Originally taught by a demon. Not by itself demonic. Not infernalism.
          DT: Granted by demons. The Demon allows you to channel their power for the production of miracles. DT might look like any paradigm; It can mirror assamite sorcery, Tremere Thaumaturgy, Setite sorcery, punk sorcery... whatever. The Caveat to that is that some demons like reinforcing their power over their supplicant by adding unnecessary steps to rituals like killing babies or eating shit. Unlike Diamonion or koldunsim, you need to have a relationship with a demon to pull of DT, but the nature of that relationship can vary considerably. If you're smart, you can just trade information with a demon, as they are excellent sources of knowledge, and avoid any proper pact. If you're real smart, you can make a demon your bitch, if you're like most people, the demon will make you it's bitch.


          Baali Apostasy rituals are partly the result of writers not knowing what they're doing. They can probably change your in clan disciplines, but the Baali aren't the vampire equivalent of Black Spirals or Nephandi, they're just another bloodline (or clan). A recurring theme of Baali writers is that the writers often really seem to not know what they're doing with the clan. That's in part due to just being fools with their own ideas on what a moral conundeum like -the demonic bloodline- means (I mean, you risk a level of humanity or path everytime you use Diamonion unless you're on The Path of Evil Revelations? Fool hasn't even heard of The Hive? Clearly there's some massive knowledge gaps here) and partly because The Baali were always meant to be shrouded in mystery and bullshit so that your storyteller could surprise you with their own origin story and nobody goes into a Baali story knowing "The Truth". The Baali aren't honest people and wouldn't tell you the truth even if they had heard it from their dishonest sires.


          Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.

          Comment


          • #6
            Actually no. Since immemorial time (Clanbook Baali, 1998) it was always said that the first Baali came from other Clans.

            Clanbook Baali p.31

            "Embracing the Dead

            The Baali still occasionally poach members of other clans, subverting them to the worship of their dark master. Such initiates are re-embraced by the Baali in horrifying ritual fashion. The initiate is drained completely by a Baali nest-master, who then allows the pseudo-neonate to recapture his wn blood by draining him in turn. While this bizzare practice does not quite re-enact the Embrace, it does firmly stamp the initiate as Baali."

            p. 44

            "It is said that dead Shaitan himself forged the ranks of the first followers of Baal from those Cainites of other lineages he could sway to his side. The practice continues to this day."

            Comment


            • #7
              Ok so

              1) Was retconned again then. Which would however mean that any vampire of any clan can sire a Baali. That is i think, a problem

              2) From what i read Haqim threw Ur Shulgi into the well, thus making him Baali. Not quite purifing him?

              3) Yes and no. We already had this in here as well i think. Baali DO share their blood. ALL Baali - including converts - can be identified as being of Tremere Blood by Auspex and Analysis of their blood, hinting at Saulot being the OG Progenitor. And only at Auspex 6 or higher can it be determined that the Baali - any Baali - is in fact not of Tremere blood but similiar, which may give the idea hes Salubri as well

              it was speculated on WHY that is too - some say its something supernatural that the Apostasy rite does to your blood, changing it magicly, others say the Baali are of the blood of the first men and that can somehow override any other blood. Yet others say, that the process of draining the convert almost entirely and filling them up with tainted blood somehow changes it permamently.
              Either way i am pretty sure it is confirmed that all Baali share the same blood unless that was retconned in V5 too.
              That said, the amazing thing is idneed that despite sharing the blood, their in clan Disciplines can vary wildly with only "true" Baali that were embraced as such originally, having Obfuscate, Daimonion and Presence. And even that is questionable given that Azaneali have Dominate, Obtenebration and Daimonion. That said all Converts do get Daimonion in trade for 1 of their former Clan disciplines so thats the unifying element and apparantly the thing thats typical for Baali blood as they are also the onlyclan that has that ability

              To your later addition i might add that there is 2 ways of the re emrbace, once with the ritual you said and once as a 7 dot Daimonion discipline. And then ofc Baali can sire new Baali with a normal embrace like everyone else too (which they usually do in ritual fashion by recreating a pit of organs and dropping a rotten heart filled with their blood in it as well as the to be Baali)

              @mywifeisscary:
              Daimonion: well explained thx.

              Koldunism: sure BUT if demons teach Koldunic Sorcery to Tzimisce, why cant they also teach it to Baali? Wouldnt it make Sense? That said Baali also practise Dur-An-Ki which is also based on spirits so i dont see why Koldunism should be off limits

              DT. Yep and i can see the Baali getting kind of a discount given they serve the demons and their plans directly.

              Yes it seems the Baali were shrouded in so much mystery there is no in depth lore to them at all and groups can do wahtever they plase with them. Afaik that measn for many to just leave them out entirely which i think, is a real shame. While nephandi are surely way cooler, i think Baali bring some extra Darkness and spice to the vampire table as well eithe as absolutely brilliant antagonists or very secretive PCs that masquerade a something else and only the GM and the player knows the truth, leaving a shocking reveal somewhere along the story for the others
              Last edited by Orkar; 08-21-2020, 05:05 AM.

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              • #8
                The first Baali were mortals embraced, who in turn embraced a sudden army that surprised the other cainites. 'apostacy' is rare and inconvenient. Still. I didn't say apostasy rituals dont exist, just that the meaning of them had changed. In lotb, iirc, a baali initiate has to willingly accept the embrace... which is bs. But i haven't read that bad book for a while so don't take my word for it.


                Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
                  The first Baali were mortals embraced, who in turn embraced a sudden army that surprised the other cainites. 'apostacy' is rare and inconvenient. Still. I didn't say apostasy rituals dont exist, just that the meaning of them had changed. In lotb, iirc, a baali initiate has to willingly accept the embrace... which is bs. But i haven't read that bad book for a while so don't take my word for it.

                  Afaik it is not that they "have to" agree to the embrace for it to work but that the tradition of the organ pits gives the to be Baali a choice. They can either just die in that pit or take the blood for themselves and thus "willingly" becoming Baali. You can say what you want about how much free will you have when your only option is death but it was said that the Baali only embrace this way (exceptions surely exist) and they take a lot of pride in that tradition as being, ironicly, the only Clan that gives the mortals a choice on their embrace.

                  That said we also know Baali quick sired canonfodder and quick converted other cainites against their will to be used as decoy while they escape leaving their hunters the impression that they managed to get the Baali

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
                    The first Baali were mortals embraced, who in turn embraced a sudden army that surprised the other cainites. 'apostacy' is rare and inconvenient. .

                    Mmmh, actually the lore says otherwise.

                    "It is said that dead Shaitan himself forged the ranks of the first followers of Baal from those Cainites of other lineages he could sway to his side. The practice continues to this day."
                    Apostacy is rare in modern times, it was pretty much standard once, to the point that one of the biggest Baali's faction of old came from the Lasombra.

                    Still. I didn't say apostasy rituals dont exist, just that the meaning of them had changed.
                    I don't see much difference from the ritual of the 1998 Clanbook and from the ritual of the 2018 Lore of the Clans.


                    In lotb, iirc, a baali initiate has to willingly accept the embrace... which is bs.
                    It has always been so, since the Baali Clanbook.

                    Baali Clanbook 1998, p.31

                    This ordeal is as ritual as it is selective. The Baali only embrace the strong or those determined to survive. The act of reaching the heart is important to the bloodlines, but the act of devouring it is even more significant. By eating the heart and taking the vitae stored within, the new Baali essentially Embraces himself throught strenght of will. Rather than forcing the Kiss upon another, thereby making a victim of a new Cainite, the Baali prefer to succor those who can seize the Embrace for themselves.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Orkar View Post
                      Ok so

                      1) Was retconned again then. Which would however mean that any vampire of any clan can sire a Baali. That is i think, a problem
                      If I remember correctly there are even some example of this. I think it was Petaniqua who sometimes embraced a Malkavian and sometimes embraced a Baali.


                      2) From what i read Haqim threw Ur Shulgi into the well, thus making him Baali. Not quite purifing him?
                      It was later, in a different moment.

                      I had the right authentication and your PGP keys. Here is where I establish my bona fides as a daughter of Haqim, not as a piece of technology. My name is Sarah Schneier and I hold the Seat of Copper and Lightning in the Council of Scrolls, and yes, this is important enough to require me to expose myself.

                      Alpha passed the order down for me to get the word out to all cells. You have to know what's on the Throne. On 08 November, we opened the Vault of the Pillars. The records there confirmed our suspicions as to the identity and nature of the new Eldest.

                      You already know about the Baali Wars, and about the Second City, and the parables of how the Ancestor made the warriors to serve as the world's first police, and how the sorcerers were made as demon hunters because the Ancestor did not trust Saulot.

                      The problem, at least before the sorcerers came along, was that the Baali and all their cultist followers were too disorganized for the warriors and the first sorcerers to strike at. It was like trying to fight a swarm of wasps. So the Ancestor gave them something to unify them. He found someone who was born with a soul already destined for corruption — a ten-year-old shepherd — and Embraced that child. Then Haqim took his childe to the pit that Saulot said had spawned the Baali and he threw that shepherd into it. And the blood of the Ancestor and the power of that soul turned that child into the leader that the Baali needed.

                      When the Baali assaulted the Second City en masse, the Ancestor was off on one of his mysterious disappearances. He made it back just in time to stop his childe and tear the demon out of the body that it rode, and when the battle was over he claimed that he had found the child dying on the battlefield and the Embrace was the only way to save that innocent victim. Then he watched the child to make sure that it was safe to have around.

                      I guess he did not watch long enough. Some sort of spiritual seed stayed in the child, and that soul was never truly clean anyway, no matter what the Ancestor did. And it woke up last year, and now it is the Eldest. It is not Baali, and it is not possessed, and we do not think it is not working with or for anything infernal, but it is a case where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and it is not one of Haqim's Children any more, not really. It is something more, and it is something less.

                      Every scroll and tablet we found in the Vault of the Pillars, every test we can perform without arousing its suspicion, everything we have points to ur-Shulgi as that child. It is close enough to 100% certainty that Alpha ord Power out, generators are up. It knows already, and it's moving. File attachments have all data that is in our hands as of tonight, and the mirror sites will contain it for download as long as they stay up. You have all that we have. Use it.
                      3) Yes and no. We already had this in here as well i think. Baali DO share their blood. ALL Baali - including converts - can be identified as being of Tremere Blood by Auspex and Analysis of their blood, hinting at Saulot being the OG Progenitor. And only at Auspex 6 or higher can it be determined that the Baali - any Baali - is in fact not of Tremere blood but similiar, which may give the idea hes Salubri as well

                      it was speculated on WHY that is too - some say its something supernatural that the Apostasy rite does to your blood, changing it magicly, others say the Baali are of the blood of the first men and that can somehow override any other blood. Yet others say, that the process of draining the convert almost entirely and filling them up with tainted blood somehow changes it permamently.
                      Either way i am pretty sure it is confirmed that all Baali share the same blood unless that was retconned in V5 too.
                      That said, the amazing thing is idneed that despite sharing the blood, their in clan Disciplines can vary wildly with only "true" Baali that were embraced as such originally, having Obfuscate, Daimonion and Presence. And even that is questionable given that Azaneali have Dominate, Obtenebration and Daimonion. That said all Converts do get Daimonion in trade for 1 of their former Clan disciplines so thats the unifying element and apparantly the thing thats typical for Baali blood as they are also the onlyclan that has that ability
                      Yeah, as far as we know Baali do seems to have the same genetic imprinting of the Tremere. But again I'm not sure that this would be true also for the more bastard lineages as the Angelis Eteter/Azaneli. But again one must take in account that while there is plenty of Baali that claim to be Moloch, Azanel or Nergal heirs, there are actually none that claim the Unnamed as their progenitor. This is possibly due to the fact that the exorcism worked the most, and now Ur-Shulgi does embrace only Assamites.

                      Another explanation (this is something I think, it is never stated), is that the Tremere, just like the Baali, are the result of a magical ritual, so their Vitae is not...entirely natural.

                      In any case the whole apostasy thing and the choice thing is consistent whit the whole system of the World of Darkness: infernal faction must CHOOSE to sell their soul. You cannot go throug the Cauls or the Spirals without choosing to do so. Selling your soul to the ultimate evil is something that can be done by anyone, but only by choice, in every game-line (even minor lines, like the Akuma for Kindred of the East).

                      Last edited by Undead rabbit; 08-21-2020, 05:39 AM.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Undead rabbit View Post

                        Mmmh, actually the lore says otherwise.
                        Do you have a source for that? i am pretty sure that various sources tell us the original 3 Baali were normal mortal infernalists from that certain city, were thrown into the well with the rest of the butchered infernalists, and the Antedeluvian of unknown origin (but most likely Saulot) dripped some of his blood into the well, which made the surviving mortals into the first Baali.
                        The only other way of explanation would be that, as you said, its not actually the blood that makes one Baali but the progan pit which i am pretty sure is wrong. Not only wouldt hat mean any vampire can sire a Baali, it would also mean that then indeed, the Baali would have been vampires BEFORE making them legit 3rd or, with the Crone and Lilith theory, 2nd! Generation vampires and then Caine himself could be the progenitor of the Baali. It would fit their general OPness and variation in disciplines but would also definitely mean the Baali are indeed above the 13 clans and nergal and moloch wopuld likely be of 3rd or even 2nd generation not 4th as its usually said

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                        • #13

                          As a last note...there are some hints about the fact that the Tzimisces and (Yorak in particular) might have some connection to the Baali.

                          1) Samiel must had a reason to go deep in the Carpathian to kill Tzimisce.

                          2) Tzimisce is sometimes theorized to be Ashur

                          3) Kupala...well...Kupala...

                          4) One of the Unnamed possible origin was that of an hermaphroditic god, and while Yorak in the middle ages was a He, he was born as She. Even more, he was the mightiest Koldun of all, and listened to Kupala whisperings.

                          5) It's quite hard to find a difference between the Chatedral of Flesh and a Well of Sacrifice...




                          *The merged-lover-hermaphroditic thing gets revived with BJD, when we discover that Mari the Black and Michael are fused in one body.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Sure but that is speculation as mentioned above. Kappadocius was even called Ashur and has clealry also demonic shit around him ^^ And then there is Lilith, and the Crone...some even specvulate Malkav to be the Baali Progenitor

                            1) Samiel fough against evil. With the Baali gone the Tzimisce are the natural go to. They are definitely wicked
                            2) so are others
                            3) Definitely. brining me back to the point why Baali shoudlnt have access to Koldunic sorcery
                            4) Afaik the idea also goes to the "lovers" being merged into one body.

                            5) Sure. But similarities dont make 2 clans the same. many clans share most of their disciplines and their 2nd Generation founder as well. That said the old Clan Tzimisce are often said to not practise Viscissitude (even though the dravon and Yorak clearly do) cause of it being a demonic taint. That said the Samedi and Nosferatu are sometimes also difficult to tell apart and Malkavians can pose as pretty much anything else - which th Baali infact do.

                            Baali and Tzimisce could also just share the same 2nd Generation founder, which is also the Case for the Salubri (and by proxy) the Tremere explaining their blood similarities even more

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Orkar View Post
                              Do you have a source for that? i am pretty sure that various sources tell us the original 3 Baali were normal mortal infernalists from that certain city, were thrown into the well with the rest of the butchered infernalists, and the Antedeluvian of unknown origin (but most likely Saulot) dripped some of his blood into the well, which made the surviving mortals into the first Baali.
                              The only other way of explanation would be that, as you said, its not actually the blood that makes one Baali but the progan pit which i am pretty sure is wrong. Not only wouldt hat mean any vampire can sire a Baali, it would also mean that then indeed, the Baali would have been vampires BEFORE making them legit 3rd or, with the Crone and Lilith theory, 2nd! Generation vampires and then Caine himself could be the progenitor of the Baali. It would fit their general OPness and variation in disciplines but would also definitely mean the Baali are indeed above the 13 clans and nergal and moloch wopuld likely be of 3rd or even 2nd generation not 4th as its usually said

                              It his said in the Clanbook Baali that the first followers of the three came from other clans. It's the page with the Apostate merit


                              Lore of the Bloodlines, first page of the Baali chapter, says the Nergal and Moloch were already vampire BEFORE being thrown in the Well.

                              Nergal and Moloch were Embraced in their early adulthood and traveled the night in search of lost relics. They had an undying love of mysticism and the occult, leading them to excavate tombs and unearth the resting places of long-forgotten entities… the kinds of entities the world was better off never experiencing. They discovered the burial grounds of the First People, but more surprising was they weren’t dead. God had buried them alive, but had never given them the ability to die — a gift so many people today misunderstand.
                              While the brothers were greeted with only pleasant smiles and arms extended in brotherhood, Nergal was a power-hungry Cainite. He went about devouring the blood of the First People, one by one. Moloch had no choice but to join in or be pulled apart by the ones Nergal ignored during his feast. What was created that day were a pair of brothers who were now the two most powerful vampires the world had ever seen. You see, drinking the blood of these prototypes gave Nergal and Moloch a command over the True Names of other creatures in God’s creation, specifically some long-lost demons that slept just beyond the veil that separates our world from a thousand others.

                              One of the foundation myth in V20 Tal'Mahe'Ra (but it is a theory, as the book states that the story could be a lie) says that Nergal just walked inside the Pit.

                              The Baali
                              In ancient times, the creature named Ashur came across a beautiful slave boy. Enamored with the adolescent, he remade the boy in his image and brought him before his father and siblings. For a long time, the boy remained with Ashur and sang for him, as only his nightingale-song could soothe the creature’s tempestuous heart. However, the boy eventually felt the need to strike out and he travelled far and wide, bringing back gifts of knowledge and solace to bestow upon his brethren. Some refused his gifts and began to spread poisonous lies against him. As hate rose against the boy, Ashur had no choice but to banish him. The boy, exiled and alone, wandered the earth for countless ages until he chanced upon the Well of Sacrifice left by the First Tribe. As he looked into its depths, the boy saw one such as he — scorned, alone, and in pain. The story does not say what motivated the boy — did he seek to comfort the creature, or did he search for an ally in revenge against the Cainites — but it does say he descended into the Well willingly. As he touched the demon and drew it into his body, both of them changed. Despair mingled with hate, blind rage with sharp rejection. The boy could not heal the demon nor ease its pain, but together they grew as each deposited the seed of becoming in the other. The demon remained in the Well, churning and changing as it was slowly remade. The boy traveled beyond the world of the living to Enoch, which had once been home to him and called to him still. Here he laid down to rest.


                              As for the matter of the Well, this is kind a new development in Baali metaplot, introduced with V20 Tal'Mahe'Ra book, which in many way retcon and gives coherence to the various tale. The only thing we know for sure is that the Wells are alive, and pulsating with dark and infernal power.





                              The Order of Moloch, a fairly recent addition to the ranks of the Tal’Mahe’Ra, holds a somewhat different perspective on the matter, one that has created some friction with the Sect’s lorekeepers. The Order believes, and teaches among its own ranks, that Ashur was a place, not a being. A great and ancient city, Ashur the Fallen, was built atop the tomb of an inhuman creature of immense, unholy power, whose siblings were worshiped by the nameless First Tribe that called that city their home. In the high mountains, while digging the foundations of their city, the First Tribe uncovered a creature entombed in the living earth itself, a being that writhed and shrieked and died in the light of the sun, and whose death-cries held soul-flaying knowledge.
                              Brought before the Wazir and the Del’Roh in thaumaturgically forged bonds that compelled him to speak no falsehood, Sahar-Hanibaal told him why he had sought them out: he felt he had no other choice, and the danger had grown too great to refrain from seeking outside assistance. He spoke of ancient lost city — not Qal’at Sherqat, the city mortals called Ashur, but the true city, the fallen city, the home of the First Tribe from which the Baali had sprung, lost no longer. He spoke of the first great Well of Sacrifice, the Maw of the Sleepers, lost for ten thousand years if not longer, and how it should have fallen into dust and silence without blood and flesh and pain to sustain it. When it was found in the cradle of the high mountains, it was neither dust nor silence, but thrumming with a hideous dark power that rivaled that of Knossos and Chorazin, with something pulsing within it, changing, becoming. He spoke of the lone survivor of his Order who escaped what surged forth to pursue them — escaped, but not unmarked, not intact, not sane. She begged for the peace of Final Death, and he could not be certain that he had truly granted it even as she crumbled to ash in the sunrise, bound in the scriptures of Earth and Heaven to see her soul set pure and free.

                              The Lost Wells of Sacrifice

                              Once upon a time, the Baali were a much larger, much more powerful bloodline. In Mashkan-shapir, between the Tigris and the Euphrates, the Great Whore Nergal ruled openly as a god-king. In Carthage, Moloch the Defiler shared both the bed of his Antediluvian lover and the reins of governance. In a thousand cities spread across the face of both Europe and the Near East, Wells of Sacrifice lay as part of the eldest foundations. The vast majority of these Wells no longer exist except as a faint and fading echo of depravities past, lingering just at the edge of perception for mortals and Cainites alike. The Wells of Sacrifice are, in a sense, alive. Without a cult of worshipers to continue feeding them and maintaining the self-reinforcing mystic feedback loop of palliative suffering, they can effectively starve to death, reduced to a mass of stained and crumbling brickwork filled with the remnants of a forgotten, barbaric past. Such Wells can be coaxed back to life by sacrifice, offering a path of least resistance for infernalist cults who would otherwise have to go through the laborious process of creating and consecrating their own ritual ground. The Order of Moloch makes a point to complete the destruction of any moribund Wells that they encounter and cannot claim. They extract any human remains for their own ritual uses, remove or efface any inscription containing a genuine Name of power, scour whatever remains in fire and water and, if pragmatic, implode the physical bore of the Well itself before sealing any remaining aperture with wards of a particularly lethal and unforgiving nature. Even so, most of these “lesser” Wells are only a few hundred years old. Truly ancient lost Wells are prizes worth fighting and killing for, regardless of circumstances. The First Well, the Great Well of Ashur the Fallen, has been the unholy grail of the Baali since the bloodline’s diaspora. Any living memory of the city’s physical location was lost with Nergal and Moloch, though many believe it lays in the high plateaus of Anatolia or the highlands of what is now northern Iraq. The Mouth of Hell is the mobile pit-hold of the ship the Dark Magister, consecrated with artifacts taken from the depths of Chorazin by the Anazeali priestess Arishat, and has been missing for centuries. It is only recently that advanced underwater salvage technology has made finding the wreck of the ship possible. What remains of the Dark Magister lies in multiple pieces on the bottom of the Caribbean Sea near the Cayman Islands, with no lingering psychic trace of the Well among its physical wreckage.


                              At the current state, the Wells do really recall the Cauls as described in the Book of Madness

                              THE CAUL

                              The heart of madness for any key Nephandic labyrinth is the Caul. It's in the Caul that a mage becomes barabbus, turned about and made into one of the Fallen.
                              It's at the Caul that the Nephandi gather for their most potent workings. The Caul is, in essence, a tear in the fabric of space that connects to the places where Things dwell. The sorts of Things that the Nephandi revere live beyond that fleshy, pulsing portal. Not all labyrinths have a Caul — but all important ones do. Cauls are as likely found in an Umbral piece of the labyrinth as in the material world; they all ultimately lead to the same place—somewhere deep in the primordial labyrinth that reflects into the creation of all Nephandic mazes. A new recruit must eventually go through the Caul. The subject enters and there is judged by the Things that dwell on the other side. If the subject is found acceptable, then he returns... eventually... with Avatar inverted, forever blackened. If the subject is unacceptable—or the Things are simply hungry, or bored, or whimsical—then there may be little more than a crunch of the Caul closing in a spasm and perhaps a bit of blood or viscera. Sometimes nothing comes back at all, ever. Nephandi, by tradition, don't speak of their personal experiences on the other side. An unwilling victim hurled into a Caul lands without fanfare on a wet, soft surface. As eyes adjust to the dimness, it becomes clear that the victim is in a chamber of sorts, a diseased womb with dripping walls interlaced with spun crystalline fibers and cancerous fleshy surfaces.
                              The whole of the chamber often has a very slight illumination —most often red or purplish. Then the fun begins. Once stranded in the chamber, a victim finds that the Caul is closed. Then the Things begin their work. Creatures boil out of the walls and from sphincters that open long enough to expel them in a wet and stringy mass. These creatures are often reflections of the Things that wait in the uttermost pits of the Underworld's Labyrinth—tainted, of course, by the visitor's personal demons and fears. A victim who steps away or tries to step back through the Caul is rent limb from limb and devoured. A victim who steps to the creatures in violation of all instinct and sense has chosen the Reversed Path and is judged. A good portion of such victims are also rent limb from limb and devoured. Those of strong will and dark heart may be conveyed by the creatures to the presence of a Thing, there to make the final transformation. A victim who stands still and makes no choice, neither back nor forward, cannot be touched. The creatures will circle about, howl, wail and wait for a decision. Until the individual makes that decision of his own will, though, the Caul waits

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