These are the mysteries of the Baali, black arts torn whole and beating from the sorcerer-kings of ancient cultures and prehistoric civilizations, incoherent memories passed from tome to tongue, hearkening to times of oblivion. They are sibilant secrets in which all begins to end and begin again. With every new night and novice brought into the circle, the telling grows shorter.
• Sense the Sin
A real mark always convinces himself. The most dangerous Baali aren’t the ones that use extortion, threats, or over displays of power; the most dangerous Demons simply know how to talk their victims into cutting their own throats. This power allows the Baali to find a target’s particular vice.
System: The player rolls Perception + Empathy against living or undead beings; the difficulty is equal to the subject’s Self-Control or Instincts +4. If successful, the Baali can sense the subject’s greatest weakness. The significance of this information is dictated by the degree of success: One success might determine a low Virtue, weak Willpower, or a poorly defended avenue of approach, while two might yield a closely guarded secret or conversational misstep. Three or more yields a central derangement or formative trauma from the subject’s past.
•• Fear of the Void Below
Once the Baali has mastered reading a subject’s darkest secrets, he can reach into the victim’s mind and twist what he finds there. The shock of feeling one’s most deeply held beliefs and darkest fears manipulated can send the victim into catatonia or fits of panic.
System: The Baali must first employ Sense the Sin (above) or use some other method to discern the tragic flaw of the target. She must then speak to the target, playing upon his inadequacies and the inescapable consequences of his shortcomings. A successful Wits + Intimidation roll (difficulty of the subject’s Courage +4) drives the victim into fits of terror (one success), mindless panic-borne flight similar to Rötschreck (two successes), or even unconsciousness (three or more successes). All effects last for the remainder of the scene. Kindred targets may resist with a Courage roll (difficulty equal to the Baali’s Willpower) — they are accustomed to dealing with their Beasts. If the Kindred target garners more successes than the Baali did on her original roll, he resists the power completely.
Not all of the Baali’s powers are designed for manipulation and subtlety. The Demons can also call up the fire from the realms of their infernal patrons, hurling it at their enemies in exultation of the Outer Dark. This fire spreads and burns normally, but at the moment of creation it is black and cold, as though drawn from a place where terrestrial physics do not apply.
System: The player spends a blood point. This creates a bolt of black flame that inflicts one die of aggravated damage; more blood points may be spent to increase the size and damage of the flame. Such fires are fleeting and dissipate at the end of the turn, unless the Baali continues to spend blood points on Conflagration over several turns, gradually creating a larger flame. The player also rolls Dexterity + Occult (difficulty 6) to hit his target, who may dodge as normal. Vampires confronted with this black fire make Rötschreck tests as if confronted with a similar quantity of normal flame.
With this power, the Baali combines his ability to read the psyche of a victim with the ability to summon up matter from the Outer Dark. Psychomachia pits a victim against the most dangerous, shameful parts of her own subconscious.
System: The vampire, after learning the targets tragic flaw (such as after using Sense the Sin, above), forces the subject’s player to roll her lowest Virtue (difficulty 6). Failing this roll pits the target against an apparition summoned from her darker self, perceptible to the subject only. The target may see or feel his abusive father, a long-dead lover, a childhood bogeyman, or (for Kindred victims) even the Beast itself. A botch indicates the target has been overwhelmed and frenzies — or, worse, becomes possessed by his inner demons.
This imaginary antagonist may be wholly narrated, or assigned Traits equivalent or slightly inferior to the victim’s, at the Storyteller’s option. All injuries sustained by the target in such an encounter are illusory (substitute catatonia or torpor for death as appropriate) and vanish upon the phantasm’s defeat or the Baali’s loss of concentration.
The Baali levies a curse upon the victim. The more skillful in her dark studies the Baali has become, the more dire the curse is likely to be. Legend states that some Baali can wield curses so foul that the victims attempt suicide after a single night — only to find that they can no longer die.
System: An Intelligence + Occult roll (difficulty equal to the subject’s Willpower) dictates the length and severity of the curse. Successes must be split between both these effects, as per the table below. The player must split successes between effect and duration – curses with zero successes allotted to duration last for one night. For example, if the Baali’s player rolls four successes, she can inflict a two-success curse for one month, a three-success curse for up to week, or a four-success curse for one night. At any time, the Baali may choose to end the curse. Storytellers should feel free to invent creative or story-appropriate curses.
|1 success||Up to one week||“No voice shall be lent your lying tongue.” — All Subterfuge rolls suffer a +3 difficulty.|
|2 successes||One month||“Sicken and wither, infidel… a babe’s weakness upon you.” — All Strength rolls suffer a +2 difficulty, or vampire cannot use blood to boost Strength.|
|3 successes||One year||“Reap this bitter harvest — may your closest friends turn foe.” — The character’s friends do not trust him. This can have any number of mechanical effects (higher difficulty on Social rolls, friends might be more prone to frenzy around the character) at the Storyteller’s discretion.|
|4 successes||Ten years||“Barren be thy seed and the loins of all your line.” — The character becomes sterile or barren, or (if Kindred) cannot Embrace childer or create ghouls.|
|5 successes||Permanent||“The mark of doom — all you touch must fail.” — Simple failures are considered botches while the curse is in effect.|
••••• • Concordance
The Baali makes a Devil’s bargain and takes the unholy nature of his masters into his own being. This warps his body both to his detriment and benefit. A truly dedicated Demon might make numerous such pacts, growing more grotesque and more powerful each time.
System: The most typical manifestation of this power incorporates immunity to the damaging effects of fire, though other equivalently-powered assets may be available at the Storyteller’s option. Most of these tributes take the form of left-handed “gifts” with unforeseen consequences (a telltale bronze tint to flameresistant flesh, a vestigial set of wings, visible talons or horns that cannot be concealed, etc.). This Discipline may be purchased more than once at greater cost to body and soul. (The current shaitan is said to have been so gnarled and twisted by the Masters as to be no longer even remotely mistakable for human.)
Note that three of the banes particular to the Baali — piety, vulnerability to sunlight, and dependency on blood for sustenance — may not be overcome by this Discipline under any circumstances. In the end, it is up to the Storyteller’s discretion what the Baali can or cannot withstand.
|Fire Immunity: The Baali’s skin takes on a bronze glint. He is totally immune to flame, suffering no damage from it. He is also immune to fire-triggered Rötschreck.
Infernal Wings: A pair of stunted, scaly wings erupts from the vampire’s back. She gains two free dots of Flight and retains it as an in-clan Discipline.
The Demonic Form: The vampire develops a leathery hide, sinewy alien musculature, and razor claws. The vampire gains claws that inflict Strength +2 lethal damage and benefits from a -1 difficulty reduction to all Physical rolls.
Unholy Communion: The Baali forges a direct telepathic link to the dukes of Hell. He immediately gains three permanent dots of Contacts and may purchase Dark Thaumaturgy dots and rituals without further tutelage.
The Chained Beast: Demons in the breast are nothing next to the Lords in Hell. The Devil loses her Road and aura, but gains immunity to frenzy. The Beast is totally under control of the vampire and may be called into frenzy like an obedient hound for as long as the character desires. The Devil still possesses Virtues.
••••• • Lure Diabolik
The Baali focuses the weight of Hell on her victim, leaving him forever scarred and tainted from the overwhelming exposure. This strips down his fundamental identity and leaves him impure and weak. This also leaves him particularly vulnerable to the Baali’s dark temptations.
System: The Baali must speak the dark truths of the void to her victim. As she opens her mouth, out comes the language of Hell. It is indecipherable by mundane methods, and even the Baali herself does not truly know of what she speaks. Spend a point of Willpower and roll Manipulation + Empathy at a difficulty equal to the victim’s current Willpower points. Each turn, you may make an additional roll by spending additional Willpower. Lure Diabolik takes effect once you have rolled a number of successes equal to the victim’s Willpower dots.
Once successful, the victim loses a dot of his Road. Put a mark next to that lost Road dot. So long as the Road remains lost (e.g. the character has not regained it the way he would normally raise his Road), the difficulty of all Mental and Social rolls the Baali makes against him decreases by one. This is cumulative if the Baali strips further Road dots from the character.
••••• •• Bring the Plague
A Baali with Bring the Plague calls down a Biblical plague on her enemies, cursing them with a highly infectious disease that plagues mortal and Cainite alike. It causes violent, painful boils that look like bleeding burn wounds when they burst. The target attracts swarms of insects and vermin wherever he goes as they wait for his inevitable death and their inevitable feast.
System: The Baali must touch the initial victim in order to Bring the Plague. The player spends five blood points and roll Manipulation + Occult, contested by the victim’s Stamina + Fortitude. If the character rolls more successes than the victim, the plague sets in. A victim with the plague cannot heal by any means, naturally or with blood. Every day, he loses one health level as an unsoakable aggravated wound. He may resist the damage with a Stamina roll (Fortitude does not apply to this roll) at a difficulty equal to the Baali’s Daimonion dots. Once the victim achieves a cumulative number of successes equal to the Baali’s Daimonion dots, he shakes the plague entirely. Characters affected by the plague lose one dot of Appearance. Characters Crippled by it lose two Appearance dots, and characters Incapacitated by it lose three. Vampires may heal the Appearance dots as they eventually heal the health levels, but mortals are forever scarred.
Characters in contact with the victim must roll Stamina at a difficulty equal to the Baali’s Daimonion dots to resist the plague. It can spread by touch, by breath, or by any bodily fluids. This includes drinking blood. In fact, the difficulty to resist blood-borne transmission is two higher than resisting infection by other means.
Characters with True Faith are not only immune to Bring the Plague, but if they touch a victim of the power, the victim ceases to be contagious. In addition, add the character’s True Faith to all the victim’s subsequent Stamina rolls to resist further harm.
••••• •• The Re-Embrace
While most Baali are Embraced in the traditional fashion, at other times, it is the choice of a vampire who wants to leave their blood-tied clan for the Baali’s greener pastures. The ritual of Re-Embracing is not a complicated one, but does require a willingness to endure a tortuous realignment of one’s soul, or whatever Kindred have left of one.
When The Re-Embrace is invoked, the sire takes their would-be childer by the throat and bleeds them into four bowls inscribed with ancient and demonic runes. This is to remove that which dictates their current state of being, very similar to a normal Embrace. The sire then fills another four bowls with his own blood, surrounding the childer with them in alternating order. At the initiate lies on the ground, bleeding and reaching ever closer to their final death, the sire calls forth a soul fragment of the bloodlines’ most powerful demon, Namtaru, and combines it with the childer’s soul to corrupt it and draw their spirit closer to that of a Baali. This process can take hours to complete. If this part of the ritual is completed with finesse and meticulous attention, the childer may just make it out alive.
All of the blood in the surrounding bowls flies into the air, entering the childer’s mouth, mixing and merging with their new soul in an explosion of dark energy. When they awake, they are now of the Baali bloodline, blasphemous in their glory.
System: The player spends 2 Willpower, and then rolls Manipulation + Occult (difficulty 8) against the target’s Willpower (difficulty 7). If the childer is of a lower Generation than the new sire, they receive a +1 dice bonus, as their soul is extra resistant to the change. Leftover successes are then compared to the effects below.
No Successes No effect; the childer writhes in pain until they meet Final Death.
1 Success While the transformation is complete, the childer will forever appear with an aura of one who has committed diablerie.
2 Successes The process transforms the childer’s soul, but their undead body could not retain much of its power. They lose one dot of a Discipline they know.
3 Successes The childer is so overcome with Namtaru’s soul, that they enter a coma for (10 – childer’s Stamina) days. Once they awaken, they have joined the ranks of the Baali.
4 Successes The ritual is a complete success, with no negative impact on the character.
5+ Successes Not only are they transformed, but the childer’s body and soul embrace their new life as a Baali. The childer receive Daimoinon • for free.
••••• •• Summon the Herald of Topheth
Using the same skill that allows for calling up demon-fire, the Baali can call a minion of his masters to Earth. Although the names assigned them differ (angel, demon, daeva, djinn, efreet, malakim, shedim, and countless others), the end results are the same. This being is under the Baali’s control, at least for a short time after being summoned. Yet scholars who have studied the blasphemous rite by which this Discipline is enacted note that no provision is made for banishing the Herald.
System: To summon a Herald of Topheth, the Demon must spend at least three blood points and perform an infernal ceremony. Heralds of Topheth have the following stats: Attributes 10/7/3, Abilities (15 points worth), Willpower 8, Disciplines (10 points worth), Fortitude of at least 3, and the capacity to heal one health level at least every other round. Storytellers should feel free to alter these guidelines based on the power level of the troupe and the form the Herald takes. Though most celestial beings chafe at the notion of wearing a single shape, many adopt those common to myth and legend; preternatural succubi or angels, reptilian horrors, and bat-winged monsters are among the most often seen.
|Demonic Base Template|
|Attributes: Intelligence 3, Wits 3, Perception 3, Strength 2, Dexterity 2, Stamina 2, Charisma 1, Manipulation
2, Appearance 1
Abilities: Alertness 1, Animal Ken 3, Athletics 1, Awareness 1, Brawl 1, Intimidation 1, Subterfuge 3, Occult 3 Disciplines: Animalism 1, Daimonion 3, Flight 2, Fortitude 3, Obfuscate 2, Potence 3
Health Levels: OK, OK, -1, -3, -5, Incapacitated
Virtues: Conviction 5, Instinct 3, Courage 1
Special Abilities: Demons can become insubstantial at will with one turn of concentration. Demons can create natural weapons that cause Strength + 1 aggravated damage. Manifestations of True Faith against demons are doubled in potency. Demons may spend one Willpower point to recover a point of bashing or lethal damage, and recover one point of aggravated damage per day.
Sin Templates (Add to the base template)
Greed: Wits +1, Manipulation +1, Appearance +1, Intimidation +2, Leadership +2, Subterfuge +2, Commerce
+4, Resources +5
Pride: Charisma +3, Manipulation +2, Appearance +3, Brawl +2, Subterfuge +1, Etiquette +4, Performance +3, Allies +3, Dominate +3
Wrath: Strength +2, Dexterity +1, Stamina +2, Alertness +4, Athletics +3, Brawl +3, Intimidation +3, Melee +4, Courage +3 Celerity +1, Fortitude +2, Potence +3, +3 OK Health Levels
Sloth: Dexterity -1, Intelligence +2, Wits +2, Perception +2, Allies +2, Herd +3, Resources +2, Animalism +2, Fortitude +5, +5 OK Health Levels, +10 Incapacitated Health Levels
Gluttony: Strength +2, Dexterity -1, Stamina +4, Intimidation +4, Herd +1, Resources +3, +2 OK Health Levels
Envy: Wits +1, Perception +2, Commerce +2, Subterfuge +2, Auspex +3, Flight +3, Quietus 1
Lust: Wits +1, Charisma +3, Manipulation +3, Appearance +3, Empathy +3, Expression +2, Leadership +2, Subterfuge +2, Presence +3, Serpentis +1
••••• ••• Adramelech’s Wrath
With this power, the vampire calls down the power of Adramelech, a demon associated with the sun. This curse plagues a Cainite victim with the pain of the sun as if the full weight of noon bore down on him.
System: Spend a point of Willpower to activate Adramalech’s Wrath, and spend three blood points per turn you wish to keep it active. The Baali must scream a call to Adramelech upon activation. Roll Intelligence + Occult at a difficulty of the victim’s Road dots. Each success allows for one turn of the Adramelech’s Wrath at most. The vampire suffers sunlight damage as if she were standing outside at high noon. This also causes Rötschreck.
The Baali must keep the vampire in her sight while the power is in effect. While she’s not affected by the power, the victim glows white hot, and the Baali must resist Rötschreck while maintaining the curse.
Adramelech’s Wrath not only does not work on characters possessing True Faith, but the power also backfires, bearing the sun down on the Baali for one turn per dot of True Faith.
••••• ••• Call Forth the Herald of Hell
Whereas Demonic Servitor calls forth a demon to serve the vampire’s whims, Call Forth the Herald of Hell calls forth something greater still that is far beyond the vampire’s control. Call Forth the Herald of Hell rips a hole in reality through which a demonic prince can emerge and wreak havoc.
System: To activate Call Forth the Herald of Hell, the player spends five blood points and roll Manipulation + Occult, difficulty 7. Each success causes the vampire one health level of unsoakable aggravated damage as reality itself fights back against the vampire’s blasphemy. After the roll, roll a single die. If the result is equal to or less than the number of successes rolled, the power is successful. Otherwise, the Baali’s cry to Hell goes unanswered and she must risk activating the power again if she wishes to open the gate.
Once the creature comes forth, it suffers one unsoakable level of aggravated damage per hour as it fades back into Hell. It causes massive destruction and devastation, devouring everything in its path. The creature can appear however it wishes. Usually, it takes the form of a massive cloud of writhing tentacles and otherness.
Mortals witnessing the Herald of Hell lose one permanent dot of Willpower per turn. Once reduced to zero dots, they fall to a gibbering mass. Characters with True Faith are immune to this effect. In fact, the effects of True Faith are tripled against the Herald of Hell. This includes the activation dice pools for all True Faith abilities.
The vampire is by no means protected from the Herald of Hell. She should flee immediately if she intends to survive use of the Discipline.
|Herald of Hell|
|Attributes: Intelligence 5, Wits 5, Perception 7, Strength 7, Dexterity 2, Stamina 9, Charisma 5, Manipulation 7, Appearance (irrelevant, 0, or 9)
Abilities: Alertness 4, Athletics 2, Brawl 7, Intimidation 7, Subterfuge 5, Animal Ken 1, Occult 7
Disciplines: Animalism 5, Daimonion 6 (Hell-Born Investiture, any and all effects), Flight 5, Fortitude 7, Potence 7, Presence 5
Health Levels: OK x10, -1 x 5, -3 x 5, -5 x 3, Incapacitated
Virtues: Conviction 8, Instinct 8, Courage 10
••••• ••• Contagion
The most damaging disease is human sin. Pandora learned it to her detriment, as did the ungrateful and impolite denizens of Sodom. The Baali, of course, revel in the slow decay of human settlements, and Methuselahs of the bloodline learn to infect a mortal community with jealousy, slander, hate, and bigotry. Crime and violence soar, petty angers give rise to seething hatreds, and local economies take a downward spiral.
Marriages end over trivial quarrels and the world becomes a nastier place in general. In the history of the Baali, entire towns and villages have been temporarily enslaved to an infernal master’s will. System: Successes garnered on an Intelligence + Occult roll (difficulty 9) must be divided between the intensity and the area of the desired effect – at least two successes are needed to cover both area and effect. Sufficiently high degrees of Auspex or powers that detect demons may be able to pick up on this vague, malevolent aura; otherwise they will simply assume that times have taken a dire change for the worse.
|1 success||Immediate||Ill-tempered/out-ofvicinity sorts behavior|
|2 successes||An office||Civil/domestic complex unrest, prejudice|
|3 successes||A city block||Angry (even riotous) dissent|
|4 successes||A stadium or apartment complex||Bar-brawls, hate crimes, blood in the streets|
|5+ successes||An entire city||A throng of blood thirsty single-minded Philistines|
••••• •••• Call the Great Beast
This Discipline is largely theoretical. Baali have, in the past, boasted that their most powerful elders know a ritual that can tear a rift to the Outer Dark and allow the creatures that dwell there into our world. Occasionally, a vampire destroys a Baali and sees the beginnings of such a ritual carved on a wall or tattooed onto a minion’s flesh. But even among the Kindred who know of the Baali and what they are capable of, the ability to Call the Great Beast doesn’t meet with much credence. This isn’t because the Kindred don’t think it’s possible, but because they realize that if a Demon ever succeeded in using it, there wouldn’t be much to be done anyway.
System: The preparatory ritual requires a tremendous investment of time and sacrifice; veiled allusions such as “fivescore souls, plucked clean and whole” and “when three times sets the hooded sun” indicate a selective sacrificial rite spanning days, nights, and dozens of victims. (Deviation or imperfection in this litany may well have unforeseen consequences, ranging from simple failure to unwelcome demonic attention) At this point, the high priest expends all of his permanent Willpower and releases his consciousness in a desperate attempt to breach the gulf Beyond, becoming an empty vessel for whatever will most effectively end the world as your chronicle knows it. You’re the Storyteller — what would the Devil do to your world? (Call the Great Beast has two main functions in the chronicle. It’s either a plot device that the characters must work to prevent, or a means to change the world of Vampire into a demon-infested apocalypse. Either is useful, but it’s not the sort of power that a vampire just pulls out casually.)