The Baleans are the ultra-violent marauders of the wastelands – a barbaric tribe of psychopaths, cannibals, and sadists.
Baleans attack suddenly and with overwhelming force in the dark of the night. They hide their humanity behind horrific masks, spikes, chains, scavenged or scrap metal armor, and the stench of death. They commonly drench themselves in blood before a raid. In an instant, entire villages are wiped from the earth, and the raiders have vanished back into the shadows.
Baleans live to strike terror in their enemies by looking and acting like nightmare creatures. These savages are the descendants of mobsters, prisoners, and the criminally insane who further augment their viciousness with psychoactive drugs, steroids, and adrenaline.
Tribal Origin and History
As human civilization gasped for its last breath amid the bedlam of the War of Ruin, one society after another sank into lawlessness. In the vacuum of civil authority, criminal street gangs began to assert their control over the streets. These mobs of violent usurpers, fought mercilessly among one another for the opportunity to oppress and murder the meek survivors of society.
Over time, some gangs joined forces to overpower a common enemy. However, these alliances were quite temporary, and would often break down when least expected, resulting in bloody coups and betrayals. Yet, over time, many dominant gangs increased in size, becoming more organized and able to exert their dominance and control more effectively.
These opportunistic, criminal mobs were bolstered when inevitable prison riots resulted in waves of ex-convicts pouring out onto the streets. Many of these escaped criminals and lunatics had formed their own gangs while still imprisoned, which remained united after escaping their confinement. The concentrated criminality of prison life had given these gangs had decades to hone their cruelty and viciousness upon one another. Highly ordered, and possessing years of confined, pent-up rage and vendettas, these prison gangs assailed the streets, delighting themselves in the mayhem of the collapsing world.
Due to fierce competition, over the next few generations, these gangs began to move deeper and deeper into the wastelands where they began to encounter the other groups of outlanders that had survived there. At first it was easy for these small, marauding gangs to raid the villages and camps of wasteland survivors to obtain what they needed. However, the constant attacks caused many tribes and villages to unite against the common threat to form strong and unique new cultural entities. Soon these new tribal powers were strong enough to resist the criminal raiders.
The formation of larger tribes in the wasteland forced the independent raider gangs to start uniting themselves into groups that were just strong enough to overpower the other wasteland tribes on their raids, while remaining small enough that they could still travel swiftly, attack suddenly, and disappear without a trace. The members of the new gang alliance were referred to as Baleans by the other wasteland tribes. This is because they were seen to be the most baleful, and vicious tribe in the wasteland. They are less of a unified tribe than a broad category representing a certain type of survivor group. Baleans seldom actually refered to themselves as such. The independent gangs are usually named after a previous or current leader, hero, or simply a name that instills terror at its mere utterance.
The Baleans used the fear other tribes had of them to their advantage. They adopted every sadistic trait and practice they could to instill terror in their victims. Some gangs of Baleans began practicing cannibalism and slavery. Others adorned themselves in blackened human skins, and took victims’ heads and scalps as trophies. After a raid it became common practice to impale, burn, or torture survivors – always leaving one or two alive (though badly broken) to spread the tale of dread to others.
Baleans do not typically make alliances, although they occasionally trade with smugglers from the Technikers and Gearhead tribes. Different gangs of Baleans will sometimes unite temporarily when they are desperate, or when they are planning a particularly large raid. However, these are rare, since they usually end in betrayal at the most critical moment. Internal conflict and power struggles between gang leaders typically prevent lasting unions. Baleans see all other factions and tribes of the wastelands as victims and prey. When the Baleans’ bloodlust is sated, they will trade, when they hunger, all men are targets.
Balean Raiding Party miniatures are available from our Shapeways store.
The Baleans are a loose federation of marauding raiders who ravage other tribes to steal their supplies – consuming anything – and anyone – they manage to capture. Their captives become Balean slaves at best; human shields, or supper at the worst. The Baleans do not care to conquer and subjugate other tribes, or acquire territory in any permanent sense. When they need something, they attack and take it, when they are sated, they withdraw back into the night. Dressed in skins, heavy armor, and drenched in blood to instill fear in their enemies, the Baleans surround themselves in mystery and terror. The Baleans are not tactically, nor technologically advanced, although they will use any weapon they can find. Yet they make up for this disadvantage through sheer, bloodthirsty brutality and sudden, overwhelming attacks. Baleans consume intoxicants before battle to increase their aggressiveness, while reducing their fear and pain.
Baleans have no real religion nor spiritual belief that they uniformly observe. However, there is a sort of “Hero Cult” within the various gangs. Leaders or gang members who were particularly vicious, opportunistic, psychotic, or otherwise memorable will be spoken of for generations. Their acts and personal traits become increasingly exaggerated over time, until they become horrific legends. Young Baleans who are decended from these individuals typically have advantages over others in their gang, since Baleans will retain fear and respect for a bloodline of a hero, just in case that hero’s strengths were passed on genetically. However, this will only carry someone so far in life. They will be held to the same overall trials and torments that the rest of the tribe enforces upon one another.
Gangs of Baleans will usually name their group after their most notorious hero (living or dead), as a way of instilling fear into an enemy or group of victims.
Social Rank and Social Mobility
The hierarchy of Balean society is comparable to that of a pack of wolves or hyenas. There is a constant tension among gang members, since the hierarchy can be overthrown completely at any moment. An individuals rank is not a declared position, it is merely inferred by how subservient other gang members are to that person at any given time. Everything can change in a moment. Like piranhas, any sign of weakness will incite a frenzied fight for control by lower ranking members of the tribe.
Balean leaders are simply alpha males or females who are selected through constant internal power struggles, and are usually simply the most ruthless and psychotic butchers of the lot. All tribal hierarchy is rooted in one person’s physical and psychological dominance over other gang members.
The only form of education within most Balean gangs is training for brutal combat, ambush tactics, and simply learning to survive within their own society. However, there is no formal training. Each person must learn to survive for themselves. Those who fail to learn do not live for long. Lessons are taught through pain and consequences by stronger members of the tribe. The weak and misfortunate simply do not survive the constant competition of everyday life.
Any specialized skills that the Baleans require, such as weapon-smithing, technical skills, and the like, are usually obtained through the taking of captives on raids of other tribes. If a member of another tribe has highly renowned skills, then it is likely that they will be taken alive if their village is attacked. They will then be forced to supply their skills to their new masters.
Indoctrination into the tribe
Few people actually seek to join the Balean tribe, but those who do are usually violent, criminal psychopaths themselves. These people were likely banished from another faction for antisocial acts, and without joining another tribe, life in the wasteland would be quite tough. Joining the Baleans offers these sociopaths a way to rise above anything they could acquire on their own.
Even these individuals would have a hard time merely approaching the Baleans, as the gangs typically slaughter first, and ask questions later when approached by anyone outside their own gangs.
Usually, if a person’s abhorrent acts are severe enough to become widely spoken of, then it is possible that the Baleans will approach the individual on their own. The method of doing this, however, is to ambush and capture the person without warning. Then the individual will be held prisoner, tested, and tortured until the gang can see what type of person they actually are. If the person is brutal enough to actually survive the tests, then they may earn a place in the gang. Being able to overpower and strike fear into others in the gang is the only way to make acceptance possible.
Baleans desire power and influence within their tribe more than material possessions. Baleans steal anything they perceive as being of high value, yet they do not like to be burdened by too many possessions. They will quickly trade away much of the spoils of a raid soon after returning with them. The only things Baleans deeply value are slaves, weapons, and armor. This is what they strive to obtain, for through these possessions, they can exert control over others. Aside from these, they only desire food, strong drink, battle, and their myriad of drugs and chemicals, which help them remain strong and vicious in combat. These chemicals are one of the few commodities that the Baleans produce for themselves. Those who know the secrets of unleashing the power of these drugs will enjoy a level of social security would otherwise be impossible to find.