Bael (pronounced: /blbayl[4] or: /ˈbʊlBAY-ul[5]) was an archdevil duke of the Nine Hells who served the Lord of the Third, Mammon. He was one of Hell's greatest tacticians, named the Bronze General for the hue of his skin and various military accomplishments, but he was impeded in his ascendance to the rank of archduke by his lack of political prowess.[1][2]

Description[edit | edit source]

Bael was sometimes depicted as either a toad, cat, male human, or some combination of the three, but none of these reflected his actual appearance.[1][2]

In reality, Bael resembled a muscular, golden-skinned humanoid somewhere over 8 feet (2.4 meters) in height.[3] He had a generally bovine appearance, with a long head, a long, broad nose, and two small, forward-curling bull horns. Above his horns were two large, round, watery eyes, which matched his skin in hue, and a pair of large, pointed ears that protruded from an impressive mane of red hair.[1] Unlike an ordinary bull, however, the archdevil's wide mouth concealed a series of pointed teeth.[2]

Personality[edit | edit source]

Bael's passion laid squarely in the art of war, and he was apathetic to matters outside of that sphere. He had a lust for battle, and his primary interest had always been leading legions, but he was more than a mindless marauder.[1] The Bronze General was battle savvy and exceptionally intelligent, with the powerful force of personality to command mighty fiendish hosts and the superior strategies to routinely obtain victory.[1][3][2]

However, Bael still had his ambitions, and was frustrated by his inability to ascend further up Hell's hierarchy. While they would never do so directly, critics of Bael called him naïve,[1] and he was easily outmaneuvered in the political space.[2] More clever and governmentally adept rivals constantly constrained his attempts to rise in rank.[1]

Powers[edit | edit source]

Bael had truesight, as well as the ability to perceive the corruption and alignment of those he looked at (unless disguised by undetectable alignment or a similar spell). His bite was poisonous, stealing away the vitality of those bitten.[2]

Bael naturally regenerated from his injuries and resisted both acid and the cold, although the latter, along with radiant power, halted his regeneration. He could also radiate a dreadful aura of fear;; several feet around himself.[1][2][3]

Bael had access to various spell-like abilities, including charm person, inflict wounds, invisibility, shapechange, teleport, and windwalk. When drawn to fight, he used suggestion to lure others into range before unleashing inflict wounds on an entire group. Those who best resisted would be subjected to his dominate monster spell-like ability, which he could once or twice a day. Once per day, he could create a symbol of stunning, and could summon somewhere between 1-6 barbazu with a high level of success.[1][2][3]

Possessions[edit | edit source]

Bael's personal weapon was an enchanted morningstar with a long, bronze handle. The infernal weapon could magically extend in length, going from 4​ to ​8 feet (1.2​ to ​2.4 meters) whenever the wielder so desired, as well as burn and wither its victims.[1][3][2][6] If Bael actually had to use his morningstar, he likely considered things to have gone horribly wrong, but he would nonetheless charge into battle and hammer any enemy in his great reach.[1][2]

Bael also wore a suit of bronze, full-plate armor made in an ancient style and enchanted to better fortify the wearer.[1][3][2]

Also among Bael's possessions was a ring of telekinesis and a rod of negation.[2]

Realm[edit | edit source]

Like Mammon's other vassal dukes, Bael ruled stretches of land far from the King of Greed's central domicile. His domain in the disgusting marsh of Minauros consisted of acres of volcanic ridges and lifeless, ashen woodlands somewhere between the layer's uplands and the swamplands where the prisoners were held.[7]

Relationships[edit | edit source]

In a tumultuous time where so many archdevils suffered a loss in station, Mammon had never been usurped, a testament to Bael's battle prowess. The Viscount was reliant on the Bronze General's acumen to protect his property,[1] but unfortunately for him, Bael actively schemed to take Mammon's layer for himself.[7] Bael would be extremely useful on Avernus's front lines, something both Warlord Bel and the more capricious members of the Dark Eight recognized, and there was little doubt he had the potential to rise to the position of archduke, to the point that some would argue he would be a more legitimate replacement for Malagard than Glasya. However, the archdevil chose to remain a vassal to Mammon, consigned by his political ineptitude to stand in the shadow of a far less worthy fiend.[2]

There were those who sought to advance Bael's place in the hierarchy, and among them was Focalor, Mammon's seneschal and leader one of the three main factions working against the paranoid and treacherous Lord of Avarice.[2] Focalor resented his lazy master for brushing off his duties and forcing them onto him,[8] but did not plan to take the power of archduke for himself. Rather, Focalor worked with Gwla, Mammon's new consort to replace Glasya, in order to put Bael in a position where he would have to usurp Mammon, allowing him to become the power behind the throne and puppet Bael to advance his own plans.[2] For his part, Bael's plot to overthrow Mammon involved the supplanting of Focalor first.[7]

For everyone who would help Bael advance, there were many more who sought to exploit or discredit him, a group in which Mammon's lesser commanders, Caarcrinolaas and Melchon, fell into.[2] Caarcrinolaas, who led 36 companies of barbazu, was patient, more willing to wait and allow the intrigues of others to open an opportunity for his ascent. He knew of Bael's ambitions, but neither supported nor revealed them. Melchon meanwhile led 18 companies of erinyes, those that refused to follow Glasya when she left Mammon. He was jealous of his stronger peers, a malcontent who masked his envy but would welcome any setback to Focalor or Mammon.[7][2][9] The two conniving wretches lead the third court faction that detested Bael and sought to murder him, seize his forces, and use them to overthrow Mammon.[2] Little did they know that doing so would serve the purposes of Glasya (although to what end was unclear).[2][10]

Servants[edit | edit source]

Bael had command over the most troops in Minauros, leading 66 companies (over twenty-thousand) of barbazu with tactical genius.[1][3][7] Like many of Hell's dukes, he hesitated to enter a fight he wasn't certain he could win, and allowed his legions to engage instead.[2]

Worshipers[edit | edit source]

Bael was glad to spare those he bested, although this was because he preferred to make servants out of enemies. Those who pledged their allegiance (and souls) to him would be bound to serve him, an offer of corruption over death that he presented to almost all beings with the notable, primary exception of demons. The Bronze General also welcomed mortals who could give him a political edge, recruiting such individuals and relying on their representation on his behalf in Mammon's court while he pursued his own interests.[1]

Despite, or possibly because of, his disinterest in all but warfare, Bael had a small cultist following. His worshipers called him, rather than Asmodeus, the King of Hell, and the most deluded diabolists went so far as to believe that he was the master of all devils and infernal powers. Some occultists and supernatural texts (the Book of Fire for example) claimed that he had given the invisibility spell to mortals, although magic scholars and arcane practitioners hotly and universally denied this accusation of diabolical origin.[1][2]

History[edit | edit source]

Over the eons of the Blood War, countless opportunities for power and prestige presented themselves to the devils of the Nine Hells. Bael seized upon many of these chances, and received fame and respect for his successes.[1]

Appendix[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford (May 29, 2018). Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes. Edited by Kim Mohan, Michele Carter. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 170–171. ISBN 978-0786966240.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 2.19 2.20 2.21 2.22 Robert J. Schwalb (October 2007). “Infernal Aristocracy: The Dukes of Hell”. In Chris Youngs ed. Dragon #360 (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 45–46.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 Ed Greenwood (July 1983). “New Denizens of Devildom”. In Kim Mohan ed. Dragon #75 (TSR, Inc.), p. 10.
  4. Frank Mentzer (January 1985). “Ay pronunseeAYshun gyd”. In Kim Mohan ed. Dragon #93 (TSR, Inc.), p. 25.
  5. Ed Greenwood (November 1984). “Nine Hells revisited”. In Kim Mohan ed. Dragon #91 (TSR, Inc.), p. 19.
  6. Ed Greenwood (November 1984). “Nine Hells revisited”. In Kim Mohan ed. Dragon #91 (TSR, Inc.), p. 26.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 Ed Greenwood (July 1983). “The Nine Hells, Part I”. In Kim Mohan ed. Dragon #75 (TSR, Inc.), p. 25.
  8. Robert J. Schwalb (December 2011). “Codex of Betrayal: Glasya, Princess of the Nine Hells”. In Steve Winter ed. Dungeon #197 (Wizards of the Coast), p. 3.
  9. Ed Greenwood (July 1983). “The Nine Hells, Part I”. In Kim Mohan ed. Dragon #75 (TSR, Inc.), p. 26.
  10. Robin D. Laws, Robert J. Schwalb (December 2006). Fiendish Codex II: Tyrants of the Nine Hells. Edited by Chris Thomasson, Gary Sarli, Penny Williams. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 61–62. ISBN 978-0-7869-3940-4.
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