Within the world of In Nomine, Balseraphs are the Dark reflection of the Seraphim. Since the Seraphim are known as the Choir of Truth, it only stands to reason that Balseraphs would be known as the Band of Lies.
And yet if you look at their mechanics, this isn’t actually what’s going on. Seraphim have the ability to detect the truth, and their focus is on “objective” truth (or the truth of heaven). Balseraphs have the ability to impose the truth, and their focus is on “subjective” truths (specifically their own).
We both have truths, are mine the same as yours?
If you read through Infernal Players Guide – or even make a close reading of the core manual, you’ll notice that Balseraphs must believe whatever story or message their resonance imposes. They’re not lying, they’re revealing the truth. When the internal truths of the Balseraph are fluid, there is little to distinguish their resonance from a lie – but this is not the only way to play the demons.
One could very easily play a Balseraph of integrity whose internal truths never change, or only change in response to irrefutable evidence. In fact, I would recommend playing Ba’al in such a manner. Lying is beneath him, but he firmly believes that he can take Michael in a fight (and that Lucifer was in the right). He may even be correct – but because he is trying to impose his truth onto heaven, he’s a Balseraph.
Why does this matter?
If you look through the Demons of In Nomine, named Balseraphs are far more common than named Infernals of any other band – and like the Seraphim in heaven, then tend to hold the positions of greatest authority. Their nature defines the nature of hell.
If Balseraphs are only liars, it’s basically impossible to have shades of gray in your game. However if the conflict between Seraphim and Balseraphs reflects the debate between subjective and objective truth you open up the possibility for some really interesting and philisophical investigations as a part of your gaming experience.
But I’m curious, what’s your take?