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Bhaal.

Bhaal (pronounced Beh-HAHL)[1], the Lord of Murder, was god of death who favored those that were carried out through violent or ritualistic means.[6] Originally a mortal of Toril, Bhaal ascended to godhood along with Bane, the Lord of Tyrants, and Myrkul the Lord of the Dead. The trio took on the portfolio of the ancient deity Jergal, and came to be known as the Dead Three.[4] Gugari worshipers knew Bhaal as Niynjushigampo.[7]

The Lord of Murder was feared throughout all of Faerûn—especially on the island realm of the Moonshaes.[8] Despite this shared dread throughout the Realms, nature of what the Lord of Murder had power over was contested among sages and scholars—in his best incarnation he might have taken strength in violently punishing murderers and warmongers. Challengers of this notion insisted that he judged whether a murder was righteous or not.[citation needed] Yet another ideal was propagated by the Bhaalspawn, his half-mortal children who had been spawned on Toril, simply insisted wanted more murder.[9]

Divine RealmEdit

In the centuries before the Time of Troubles, Bhaal’s divine realm was the Throne of Blood on Khalas, the first layer of the outer plane of Gehenna.[8]

WorshipersEdit

Main article: Church of Bhaal

The clergy of Bhaal in Faerûn were known as Bhaalists or Bhaalyn, the latter of which was more-commonly used in the lands east of the Dragon Reach. Together they were an disorderly network of local hierarchies,[8] with the urban and rural branches maintaining distant relations between one another. Collectively, they believed that murder was both a duty to their god and a game for their enjoyment. Each cleric of Bhaal was expected to perform at least one murder every tenday, in the darkest moment in the dead of night.[10]

Deathstalkers

During the time that he was dead, Bhaal most likely had the most scattered cultist groups, the most infamous were the Deathstalkers of Bhaal,[11] who attempted to bring him back to life. For a while after the Bhaalspawn crisis, it was believed his essence had been locked away on the Upper Planes, preventing his resurrection permanently. However, that notion was proven wrong after the death of the last two Bhaalspawn,[12] which revived Bhaal in the process.[13]

RelationshipsEdit

A wholly evil, debased and sadistic god, Bhaal was reviled by a majority of the pantheon; his divine foes included Chauntea, Helm, Ilmater, Lathander, Lliira and Tyr. Bhaal was served by the goddesses Talona and Loviatar,[8] who in turn served Bane[14] and to a lesser extent, Myrkul.[citation needed]

PowersEdit

AvatarsEdit

Bhaal had three avatar forms: a shape-shifting monstrosity called Kazgoroth, a corpse-like male humanoid called the Slayer, and a gargantuan beast known as the Ravager. The Lord of Murder preferred to assume the form of the Slayer when in urban areas. It resembled a humanoid corpse with a feral face; its ivory skin was inset with deep lacerations that flowed with black ichor. The Ravager, which Bhaal assumed when visiting the rural regions of Toril, was a 30' (9.1m) monster with a twisted, grimacing face that featured a flowing beard and mane, 7' long (2.1 m) horns and eyes full of the flames of Gehenna.[8]

In some extreme cases, Bhaal's mortal Bhaalspawn children could actually turn into creatures that were said to be these avatars after his death; however, these creatures were even more monstrous and inhuman in shape, acting as little more than powerful killing machines. While powerful, they were weaker form than a true god's avatars.[15]

HistoryEdit

As a mortalEdit

Before his ascension to godhood, Bhaal was a power-hungry adventurer on Toril. Along with his companions Bane and Myrkul Bey al-Kursi, they sought to attain the portfolio of the God of the Dead Jergal. After defeating one of the Seven Lost Gods, the three were able to travel to Jergal's domain, the Castle of Bone in the Gray Waste. Upon their arrival, Jergal willingly offered his realm to the Dark Three, though they couldn't decide amongst themselves who would rule.[16]

They decided to leave the decision to fate. The three dark companions played a game of knucklebones, and Bane emerged as the victor. He claimed the domains of hatred, strife and tyranny as his own and Myrkul chose rule over the dead, the ultimate fate for all of Bane's minions. Bhaal, finally chose the divine province of death. As he said:[16]

"I choose death...I can destroy your kingdom Bane, by murdering your subjects, and I can starve your kingdom, Myrkul by staying my hand."


GodhoodEdit

While originally Bhaal was the patron deity of assassins and their victims, it wasn't long before common murderers used a claim of his worship to justify their sadistic actions, warping the manner of his worship.[citation needed]

Time of TroublesEdit

During the Time of Troubles of 1358 DR, when the gods were forced to walk Faerûn, Bhaal was slain, on Eleint 16, by the upstart mortal Cyric using the avatar of Mask, a sword named Godsbane, who then stole Bhaal's divinity and portfolio elements.[17] However, much like Myrkul—who invested his divine essence in the artifact known as the Crown of Horns—Bhaal was not utterly removed from Faerûn. Part of his divinity remained in the Winding Water, around Boareskyr Bridge where he was slain, his blood having flowed into the river.[8] More importantly, Bhaal foresaw his death and impregnated many mortal women, creating his heirs, the Bhaalspawn.[17] The Bhaalspawn were involved in a series of conflicts along the Sword Coast, with one standing above the others and ultimately foiling Bhaal's plan to return through his children.[18]

After the death of the Lord of Murder, the city-dwelling Bhaalists quickly converted to the worship of Cyric, whom they referred to as Cyric-Bhaal. The rural priests maintained their faith for years to come, claiming they continued to receive their divine powers following their nightly prayers. The schism between Bhaal's remaining followers and the emerging Cyric-Bhaalists reached its apex in 1367 DR, and got to the point where the factions would ambush and assault one another. Soon later, the remaining worshipers of Bhaal stopped receiving their divine spell powers and began gradually converting to Cyricism or Xvimism.[8]

ReemergenceEdit

For a time it was believed that Bhaal's resurrection had been ended. The last known Bhaalspawn, Abdel Adrian, resisted the murderous impulses caused by his lineage and became a famed and beloved figure in the city of Baldur's Gate. Near the beginning of the era known as the Second Sundering, in 1482 DR, another Bhaalspawn, Viekang, who was thought dead, attacked Adrian as he spoke to a crowd in the portion of town known as The Wide. The ultimate winner of the duel is unknown, although it matters not as the victor transformed into a massive, blood-soaked creature and began a rampage that was only stopped when a group of adventurers new to Baldur's Gate defeated and killed the monstrosity.[12] These events marked the revival of Bhaal as he reclaimed the murder domain from Cyric.[13]

AppendixEdit

Further ReadingEdit

Magazines
Novels
Video Games

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Jeff Grubb, Ed Greenwood and Karen S. Martin (1987). Forgotten Realms Campaign Set (Cyclopedia of the Realms). (TSR, Inc), p. 10. ISBN 0-8803-8472-7.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Kim Mohan ed. (2015). Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 21,27. ISBN 978-0786965809.
  3. Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford, Christopher Perkins, James Wyatt (2014). Dungeon Master's Guide 5th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 96–97. ISBN 978-0786965622.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Richard Baker, Ed Bonny, Travis Stout (February 2005). Lost Empires of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 41–42. ISBN 0-7869-3654-1.
  5. Julia Martin, Eric L. Boyd (March 1996). Faiths & Avatars. (TSR, Inc), pp. 44–45. ISBN 978-0786903849.
  6. Julia Martin, Eric L. Boyd (March 1996). Faiths & Avatars. (TSR, Inc), p. 44. ISBN 978-0786903849.
  7. Cannot cite pages from this boxed set. Instead, see {{Cite book/The Horde}} for a list of products inside the boxed set and cite pages from a product.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 Julia Martin, Eric L. Boyd (March 1996). Faiths & Avatars. (TSR, Inc), p. 45. ISBN 978-0786903849.
  9. BioWare (1998). James Ohlen, Ray Muzyka. Baldur's GateBlack Isle Studios.
  10. Julia Martin, Eric L. Boyd (March 1996). Faiths & Avatars. (TSR, Inc), p. 46. ISBN 978-0786903849.
  11. Julia Martin, Eric L. Boyd (March 1996). Faiths & Avatars. (TSR, Inc), p. 47. ISBN 978-0786903849.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Ed Greenwood, Matt Sernett, Steve Winter (August 20, 2013). Murder in Baldur's Gate (Campaign Guide). (Wizards of the Coast), p. 3. ISBN 0-7869-6463-4.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Kim Mohan ed. (2015). Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 17. ISBN 978-0786965809.
  14. Julia Martin, Eric L. Boyd (March 1996). Faiths & Avatars. (TSR, Inc), p. 36. ISBN 978-0786903849.
  15. BioWare (2000). James OhlenKevin Martens. Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of AmnBlack Isle Studios.
  16. 16.0 16.1 Julia Martin, Eric L. Boyd (March 1996). Faiths & Avatars. (TSR, Inc), p. 37. ISBN 978-0786903849.
  17. 17.0 17.1 Richard Baker, Ed Bonny, Travis Stout (February 2005). Lost Empires of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 42. ISBN 0-7869-3654-1.
  18. BioWare (2001). James OhlenKevin Martens. Baldur's Gate II: Throne of BhaalBlack Isle Studios.

ConnectionsEdit

The Faerûnian Pantheon
Major Deities
AzuthBaneBhaalChaunteaCyricGondHelmIlmaterKelemvorKossuthLathanderLoviatarMaskMielikkiMyrkulMystra (Midnight) • OghmaSelûneSharShaundakulSilvanusSuneTalosTempusTormTymoraTyrUmberleeWaukeen
Other Members
AkadiAurilBeshabaDeneirEldathFinder WyvernspurGaragosGargauthGrumbarGwaeron WindstromHoarIstishiaIyachtu XvimJergalLliiraLurueMalarMililNobanionThe Red KnightSavrasSharessShialliaSiamorpheTalonaTiamatUbtaoUlutiuValkurVelsharoon


Deities of the Age of Humanity
Ao the Overgod
Major Human Deities of Faerûn
Angharradh | Bane | Bhaal | Chauntea | Corellon Larethian | Garl Glittergold | Gruumsh | Horus-Re | Lathander | Moradin | Myrkul | Mystra | Oghma | Shar | Silvanus | Sune | Talos | Tempus | Tyr | Yondalla
Other Human Deities of Faerûn
Auppenser | Abbathor | Arvoreen | Auril | Baervan Wildwanderer | Berronar Truesilver | Beshaba | Callarduran Smoothhands | Clangeddin Silverbeard | Cyrrollalee | Deep Duerra | Deep Sashelas | Dumathoin | Erevan Ilesere | Flandal Steelskin | Gond | Hanali Celanil | Helm | Ilmater | Isis | Labelas Enoreth | Laduguer | Lolth | Mask | Mielikki | Nephthys | Osiris | Rillifane Rallathil | Sehanine Moonbow | Segojan Earthcaller | Selûne | Set | Sharindlar | Sheela Peryroyl | Solonor Thelandira | Thoth | Tymora | Umberlee | Urdlen | Vergadain