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BELIALIANS

Description: The first Clan to join the Abaddonite-organized sub-sect of agent’s provocateurs and enforcers was the Childer of Belial. They have also proven to be the most loyal to the Unholy See, having endured through many hardships, both religious and secular.

Machiavellians, in fact, are now the de facto leaders of the Sicarii, having subsumed the secular aspects of the Abaddonite priesthood as more and more attention was paid by the Sabbat to mortal politics and the inevitable dirty tricks that went with them. Eventually, the Childer of Abaddon hurried along this quiet revolution, as they became more and more withdrawn from the scene, either acquiescing to the change or out of profound fright. No one really knows.

With the leadership role resting uneasily on their shoulders, the Belialians have sought to desperately hold the sub-sect together. Internal divisions-- mostly over the Loyalist movement -- and external worries (is the Regent turning on us?) make that job exceedingly difficult, though.

Above all, the Machiavellians attempt to bridge together all the factions within the Sicarii and still present a strong enough front to deter all would-be takers (in particular, the Black Hand). They can come across as cold and ruthless, but no more so than your average Lasombra pack leader. Their most noteworthy trait, however, is their uncanny knack for diplomacy. If it weren’t for the Belialians, the Sicariot would've fractured two decades ago.

Nickname: Machiavellians

Appearance: Belialians are almost uniformly good-looking. They practically exude a kind of stoic, restrained fanaticism that is the driving force behind the Sicarii ideology and belief. At no time will you ever see a Machiavellian in a sorry state. If you do, run. Something is out there, and it's not happy.

Haven: Machiavellians are the most individualistic of the Sicarii Clans. They tend to appreciate the petty creature comforts of mortals and most often reside in upper-middle class/lower-upper class suburbs close to cities that are being scouted for a possible Jyhad.

Background: Belialians are almost exclusively drawn from the ranks of government and business. They are diplomats, CEOs and competent technocrats. Above all, though, they are good at what they used to do. As an aside, most Belialians are Embraced late in life, after they've proven their worth to the Sicariot who seeks to Change him or her.

Character Creation: Architect, Director and Fanatic all play a part in Belialian Archetypes. A great number of them have Dual Natures, with the second one almost always being that of the Fanatic. Judge is frequently a suitable Demeanor for the Machiavellian. Mental Attributes dominate, with Social coming in a close second. A few, however, substitute Social for Physical.

Clan Disciplines: Dominate, Omniscience, and Presence.

Weaknesses: In a way, the conspiratorial nature of the Machiavellians works against them at times. They are often so caught up in plots, conspiracies and intricate plans that the obvious does not occur to them. They see too much around them and though the devil might be in the details, seeing the obvious is not something the Belialians have mastered. Slightly paranoid, but not quite a Derangement.

Preferred Paths An overwhelming number of Belialians are Thornites, so much so that most Kindred can go through an entire unlifetime and never see any other type. There are a few Cathars and Noddists, however. Curiously, there have been no known Infernalists, in spite of their close affinity to the Abaddonites.

Organization: Hierarchical to the max. There are so many layers to the Machiavellian Clan bureaucracy that only a Belialian can figure out what is what. Suffice to say it's all part of the Game. It sows confusion and also distributes power in such a way as to please all factions within the Clan. Every six months, various levels of the bureaucracy meet in a Cabal and go over the previous half-years odds and ends and set policy for the next six months. Pedantic and dry, the events are nonetheless the scenes of naked, brutal political sadism.

Gaining Clan Prestige: Belialians have an intricate presentation system, reminiscent of the Ventrue's. They prize loyalty, cleverness and intrigue above all. A good conspiracy -- shared with the elders -- will go much farther than your average corporate take-over. At all times, though, remember this: everyone is watching everybody. The walls have ears and eyes and no one is a friend for long.

Of course, don't forget to be courteous while you're slitting your paramour's throat...

Quote: "Power is rarely exercised. It is fashioned, spun, garnered and hidden away for future use. We've been the literal backbone of the Sicarii for two millennia now, since before there were any sects to speak of. Now, we are called upon to secure for us the ultimate gift to any vampire: continued survival. If we fail, we'll be staked or burned, or left for Antediluvian-bait. If we succeed, however, salvation is ours."

Stereotypes:

Lasombra: We're onto their heresy. The Antipater has already issued the orders. We move soon. Patience, childe...

Tzimisce: Poor, deluded souls. They could've been our greatest allies. There is something amiss with them, though. The Inquisition has been most unusually interested in them. That is a cause for great concern.

Assamite antitribu: Our antithesis, as surely as if we were speaking of the Black Hand in general. Make a note of this: they are the Hand and it is they who are our enemy. The Lasombra think they control them, but they are as naive as they are heretical.

Brujah antitribu: Rabble-rousers, all. However, their ideology is helping us undermine the Lasombra puppeteers. We'll support them as long as they continue to adhere to their anarchic idiosyncrasies. I don't think that'll be too much of a problem...

Gangrel antitribu: Filthy beasts! Stay clear from them. Anyone who prefers a romp in the woods to a nice bath, some cognac-laced A- and a woman by his side is a truly sick person.

Malkavian antitribu: We're extremely close to securing a pact with them. They have access to knowledge beyond even what Omniscience has given us. I, for one, understand fully what they're all about. Thankfully, few others do.

Nosferatu antitribu: Too dangerous to be dealt with in any way. I'd prefer to see them ousted or exterminated, but we simply have other fish to fry first. First the Lasombra, then the Nosferatu, then...

Panders: Useful as wannabe Brujah or a poor replacement for a Baelite. Otherwise, forgetful.

Ravnos antitribu: Their adherence to the sect is false. We know them. They'd better watch their step.

Serpents of the Light: A historical mistake. They should've been cut off and burned, not invited in. Now we've Set to deal with. Lucifer help us all...

Toreador antitribu: What good are they? Bottom line: useless.

Tremere antitribu: Blasphemous heretics! If they weren't so cunning and powerful, we would have isolated them and driven them all to the Ninth Circle of Hell. As it is, we're making damn sure they don't get closer to the higher echelons of power...

Ventrue antitribu: Ah, the Loyalist instigators themselves. Poor fools, We're manipulating you so well, even we don't know it sometimes. A string here, a string there. Soon, you'll help us bring the Keepers down to size...

The Black Hand: Our Clan found salvation as the counter-weight to the Hand when the Hand became a tad too large for its knickers. We have a natural institutional suspicion of them, and, so our sources tell us, for good reason. At some time, we'll have to deal with them. They might need neutralization before we move on the Keepers. Oh. Joy. That'll be fun.

The Camarilla: When the Antediluvians come, they will all see the error of their ways -- shortly before they become a delicacy for their progenitors. Bon appetite...