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The baernaloths were a type of yugoloth. They were legendary fiends of the Gray Wastes, as devoid of emotion and color as the plane itself and among the multiverse's biggest enigmas. Rumors claimed they spawned not just the yugoloths, but also the demons, demodands, and devils, and allegedly knew the most about all creatures of the Lower Planes.
Baernaloths were gaunt, gangly fiends that stood 8 feet (2.4 meters) tall and had long, lanky limbs. Their gray skin dripped with pus and was pulled taut over their skeletons. Their oversized heads resembled the horned skulls of cattle or rams, with glassy eyes that leaked a vile yellow fluid and huge mouths consisting of nothing but teeth and a tongue.
Part of what made baernaloths so mystifying was their complete emotional detachment from the world around them. They brought strife and anguish to others through agonizing torture, foiling plans, spreading devastating rumors regardless of truth, or otherwise worsening the world. What was perplexing about their behavior, however, was that their acts of cruelty seemingly served no goal, whether for pragmatic reasons or personal pleasure. They spread misery as if they were machines, going about bringing sorrow with a mechanical methodology free from greater purpose or sadistic desire. Despite their disturbing disinterest in the pain of their victims, they committed their vile deeds without remorse or reluctance
While most baernaloths viewed torturing as an autotelic activity and scoffed at the scheming of other yugoloths, there were a select few that possessed an inclination for planning. Known as the Demented, these baernaloths suffered from a mysterious madness, characterized not by disconnection from reality but by a feeling of aspiration that was otherwise absent in baernaloths. Embracing both law and chaos, Demented baernaloths sought to subjugate various creatures of the Lower Planes in order to bring about the utter annihilation of all reality.
A baernaloth had a pair of uncanny abilities that allowed it to further sow discord and suffering. If a target was within 30 feet (9.1 meters) and within their sight, any wound caused by the baernaloth's teeth or claws could be instantly and painfully reopened. This could be done three times per day so long as the wound was inflicted within 24 hours. Conversely, the damage caused by their claws could be instantly undone following the same stipulations, disregarding the need for line of sight. They also possessed several spell-like abilities related to mental manipulation, mind reading, and supernatural detection.
Whether magical or mundane, baernaloths refused to use weapons or equipment, instead relying on their natural abilities. They were intelligent enough to lead others if they were compelled to and were smart enough to utilize their healing ability in combat without jeopardizing themselves.
Baernaloths intentionally isolated themselves from yugoloth society, having long since vanished into the Gray Wastes and making no efforts to migrate to Gehenna with most other yugoloths. They lived as hermits, making lairs within towers so twisted and desolate that even denizens of Hades would find them menacing. Though they often wandered in solitude, baernaloths occasionally had companions in the form of night hags or nightmares.
Despite making themselves outcasts among the yugoloths, baernaloths were put on a pedestal far above what their relatively weak physical and magical abilities would suggest. Most yugoloths knew of their creation myth and so the baernaloths were very highly regarded. The ultroloths in particular sought audience with the baernaloths, whether for guidance or power, but with few finding them, some never returning, and most merely left empty-handed. The General of Gehenna himself was well-known for his reliance on the knowledge of the baernaloths, and since baernaloths only advised ultroloths they saw as deserving, by whatever metric they used to determine worthiness, most others settled for asking the General.
The baernaloths most likely to be encountered were the Demented, as their desire to act drove them to work with others, whether baernaloths or otherwise. Some led parties of miscellaneous fiends in the Blood War, while some of the most prominent ultroloths were fortunate enough to have Demented as willing advisors and confidants. Anthraxus himself had a small personal guard of baernaloths that helped him locate and destroy his greatest enemies.
Due to their absence from the Book of Keeping and the seeming inability of other yugoloths to become baernaloths, it was long thought that baernaloths were not truly yugoloths at all but a more ancient and primal force. On the other hand, considering the moral characters of both the ultroloths and baernaloths, it was not implausible that this was an intentional deception perpetuated by both. While it was purported that the baernaloths created the yugoloths, the most explanatory creation myth of the gehreleths also had a baernaloth creator in the form of Apomps. It was said that when Apomps and the other baernaloths were deciding the shape that their evil creations should take, Apomps went off on his own and ended up shunned for his chaos-tainted creations. Furthering the claims of creation by the baernaloths was the existence of immeasurably ancient texts that asserted both the obyriths and an ancient race of Baatorians were made by the yugoloths, although few outside of Gehenna and Hades believed them.
The baernaloths' true motivation behind the creation of the various fiendish races was fiercely debated among scholars. While some thought they were master visionaries that saw the course of creation and the best path for evil as a whole, others believed they merely wanted puppets who would create opportunities for them to exploit. However, it was completely possible that their creation myth was mere fabrication. The baernaloths themselves claimed not to be responsible for the creation of the yugoloths, an idea supported by more recent reports that the yugoloths were a commission by Asmodeus provided by the night hags. The claim that only ultroloths could locate them was also contradicted by rumors of mortals coming across them, although according to those who allegedly came across them, the baernaloths admitted to only advising certain ultroloths. The fact that their enigmatic secrets were only confirmed to be true by the ultroloths themselves made it entirely possible that the creation myth was invented or simply furthered by the ultroloths to justify their rule.
- A blind, mad baernoloth called Harishek ap Thulkesh, otherwise known as the Blind Clockmaker, made his home in a demiplane known as the Clockwork Gap along with his terrifying creations.
- Daru Ib Shaitiiq was a baernaloth that didn't care for the yugoloth hierarchy, their plans, or even his own life in particular. He had experienced an emotion on the edge of remorse for his hand in turning the once celestial being Maeldur into a tool of the yugoloths.
- ↑ 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 Monte Cook (December 1995). “Monstrous Supplement”. In Michele Carter ed. Planes of Conflict (TSR, Inc), pp. 30–31. ISBN 0-7869-0309-0.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Mike Mearls, Brian R. James, Steve Townshend (July 2010). Demonomicon. Edited by Scott Fitzgerald Gray. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 134–135. ISBN 978-0786954926.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Ed Stark, James Jacobs, Erik Mona (June 13, 2006). Fiendish Codex I: Hordes of the Abyss. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 107. ISBN 0-7869-3919-2.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Colin McComb (September 1997). Faces of Evil: The Fiends. Edited by Ray Vallese. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 83–84. ISBN 0-7869-3430-1.
- ↑ Colin McComb (December 1995). “Liber Malevolentiae”. In Michele Carter ed. Planes of Conflict (TSR, Inc.), p. 31. ISBN 0-7869-0309-0.
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 Colin McComb and Monte Cook (July 1996). Hellbound: The Blood War. Edited by Ray Vallese. (TSR, Inc). ISBN 0-7869-0407-0.
- ↑ Wizards RPG Team (2014). Monster Manual 5th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 311. ISBN 978-0786965614.
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 Colin McComb (September 1997). Faces of Evil: The Fiends. Edited by Ray Vallese. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 71. ISBN 0-7869-3430-1.
- ↑ Template:Cite dragon/353/Multiple Dementia