Bhaal (pronounced: /ˈbɔːl/ BAWL or: /ˈbɑːl/ BAHL or: /bɛˈhɑːl/ beh-HAHL listen), known as Niynjushigampo among his Gugari worshipers, was the widely feared, Faerûnian god of violent and ritualistic murder.
Divine Realm[edit | edit source]
Relationships[edit | edit source]
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, who in turn served Bane and to a lesser extent, Myrkul.
Worshipers[edit | edit source]
The clergy of Bhaal in Faerûn were known as Bhaalists or Bhaalyn, the latter being used more commonly in the lands east of the Dragon Reach. Together they were a disorderly network of local hierarchies, with the urban and rural branches maintaining distant relations from 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.
Despite most throughout the Realms being terrified of him, especially those of the Moonshae Isles, the exact nature of what the Lord of Murder had power over was contested among sages and scholars, In his most generous incarnation, he was viewed as a figure that 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. Yet another ideal was propagated by the Bhaalspawn, his half-mortal children who had been spawned on Toril, who insisted that he simply wanted more murder.
During the time that he was dead, Bhaal had many scattered cultist groups, the most infamous being the Deathstalkers of Bhaal, 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, this proved to be incorrect. Bhaal's essence had been preserved in his half-mortal children, the Bhaalspawn, and after the death of the last two Bhaalspawn, Bhaal was revived.
Avatars[edit | edit source]
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 being inset with deep lacerations flowing with black ichor. The Ravager, which Bhaal assumed when visiting the rural regions of Toril, was a 30 ft (9.1 m) monster with a twisted, grimacing face that featured a flowing beard and mane, 7 ft (2.1 m) horns and eyes full of the flames of Gehenna.
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.
History[edit | edit source]
Mortal[edit | edit source]
Before his ascension to godhood, Bhaal was a power-hungry adventurer on Toril. Along with his companions Bane and Myrkul Bey al-Kursi, he 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.
Upon Jergal's suggestion, the three divided his power, deciding how to divide it based on the outcome of a game. The three played a game of knucklebones, and Bane emerged as the victor. He claimed the domains of hatred, strife and tyranny as his own. Myrkul, coming second, chose rule over the dead, the ultimate fate for all of Bane's minions. Finally, Bhaal chose the divine province of death. As he said:
Godhood[edit | edit source]
While Bhaal was originally 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.
Time of Troubles[edit | edit source]
On Eleint 16, in the Year of Shadows, 1358 DR, having lost his powers and being forced to walk Faerûn like the rest of the gods, Bhaal was slain by the upstart mortal Cyric using the avatar of Mask, a sword named Godsbane. In doing this, Cyric stole Bhaal's divinity and portfolio elements. 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. More importantly, Bhaal foresaw his death and impregnated many mortal women, creating his heirs, the Bhaalspawn. 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.
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 the Year of the Shield, 1367 DR, getting to the point where the factions would ambush and assault one another. Soon later, the remaining worshipers of Bhaal stopped receiving their divine powers and began gradually converting to Cyricism or Xvimism.
Reemergence[edit | edit source]
For a time, it was believed that any possibility for Bhaal's resurrection had been stopped. 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. In the Year of the Narthex Murders, 1482 DR, near the beginning of the era known as the Second Sundering, Viekang, another Bhaalspawn who was thought to be dead, attacked Adrian as he spoke to a crowd in the portion of town known as The Wide. While the ultimate winner of the duel is unknown, 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.
With all of his children dead, all of Bhaal's essence was freed, allowing for his resurrection. Bhaal was revived, and reclaimed the murder domain from Cyric. However, the Lord of Murder was no longer a true deity, and was instead a being of quasi-divine status. As with Bane and Myrkul, he was effectively a mortal.
Appendix[edit | edit source]
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Further Reading[edit | edit source]
- Thomas M. Costa (August 2004). “Faiths of Faerûn: Deathstalkers of Bhaal”. In Matthew Sernett ed. Dragon #322 (Paizo Publishing, LLC), pp. 92–94.
Appearances[edit | edit source]
[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
- Adam Lee, Christopher Perkins (September 17, 2019). Baldur's Gate: Descent into Avernus. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 231. ISBN 0786966769.
- 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.
- Kim Mohan ed. (2015). Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 21, 27. ISBN 978-0786965809.
- James Butler, Elizabeth T. Danforth, Jean Rabe (September 1994). “The Cormyrean Marshes”. In Karen S. Boomgarden ed. Elminster's Ecologies (TSR, Inc), p. 23. ISBN 1-5607-6917-3.
- Larian Studios (October 2020). Designed by Swen Vincke, et al. Baldur's Gate III. Larian Studios.
- David Cook (1990). The Horde (Volume I). (TSR, Inc), p. 57. ISBN 978-0880388689.
- 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.
- Richard Baker, Ed Bonny, Travis Stout (February 2005). Lost Empires of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 41–42. ISBN 0-7869-3654-1.
- Thomas M. Costa (August 2004). “Faiths of Faerûn: Deathstalkers of Bhaal”. In Matthew Sernett ed. Dragon #322 (Paizo Publishing, LLC), p. 94.
- Julia Martin, Eric L. Boyd (March 1996). Faiths & Avatars. (TSR, Inc), pp. 44–45. ISBN 978-0786903849.
- Adam Lee, Christopher Perkins (September 17, 2019). Baldur's Gate: Descent into Avernus. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 4. ISBN 0786966769.
- Kim Mohan ed. (2015). Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 31. ISBN 978-0786965809.
- Julia Martin, Eric L. Boyd (March 1996). Faiths & Avatars. (TSR, Inc), p. 36. ISBN 978-0786903849.
- BioWare (June 2001). Designed by Kevin Martens. Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal. Black Isle Studios.
- Julia Martin, Eric L. Boyd (March 1996). Faiths & Avatars. (TSR, Inc), p. 46. ISBN 978-0786903849.
- BioWare (December 1998). Designed by James Ohlen. Baldur's Gate. Black Isle Studios.
- Julia Martin, Eric L. Boyd (March 1996). Faiths & Avatars. (TSR, Inc), p. 47. ISBN 978-0786903849.
- Ed Greenwood, Matt Sernett, Steve Winter (August 20, 2013). “Campaign Guide”. In Dawn J. Geluso ed. Murder in Baldur's Gate (Wizards of the Coast), p. 3. ISBN 0-7869-6463-4.
- Kim Mohan ed. (2015). Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 17. ISBN 978-0786965809.
- BioWare (September 2000). Designed by James Ohlen, Kevin Martens. Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn. Black Isle Studios.
- Julia Martin, Eric L. Boyd (March 1996). Faiths & Avatars. (TSR, Inc), p. 37. ISBN 978-0786903849.
- Richard Baker, Ed Bonny, Travis Stout (February 2005). Lost Empires of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 41. ISBN 0-7869-3654-1.
- Richard Baker, Ed Bonny, Travis Stout (February 2005). Lost Empires of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 42. ISBN 0-7869-3654-1.
- BioWare (June 2001). Designed by Kevin Martens. Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal. Black Isle Studios.
Connections[edit | edit source]
Azuth • Bane • Bhaal • Chauntea • Cyric • Gond • Helm • Ilmater • Kelemvor • Kossuth • Lathander • Loviatar • Mask • Mielikki • Myrkul • Mystra (Midnight) • Oghma • Selûne • Shar • Shaundakul • Silvanus • Sune • Talos • Tempus • Torm • Tymora • Tyr • Umberlee • Waukeen
Akadi • Auril • Beshaba • Deneir • Eldath • Finder Wyvernspur • Garagos • Gargauth • Grumbar • Gwaeron Windstrom • Hoar • Istishia • Iyachtu Xvim • Jergal • Lliira • Lurue • Malar • Milil • Nobanion • The Red Knight • Savras • Sharess • Shiallia • Siamorphe • Talona • Tiamat • Ubtao • Ulutiu • Valkur • Velsharoon
Akadi | Amaunator | Asmodeus | Auril | Azuth | Bane | Beshaba | Bhaal | Chauntea | Cyric | Deneir | Eldath | Gond | Grumbar | Gwaeron | Helm | Hoar | Ilmater | Istishia | Jergal | Kelemvor | Kossuth | Lathander | Leira | Lliira | Loviatar | Malar | Mask | Mielikki | Milil | Myrkul | Mystra | Oghma | Red Knight | Savras | Selûne | Shar | Silvanus | Sune | Talona | Talos | Tempus | Torm | Tymora | Tyr | Umberlee | Valkur | Waukeen
Abbathor | Berronar Truesilver | Clangeddin Silverbeard | Deep Duerra | Dugmaren Brightmantle | Dumathoin | Gorm Gulthyn | Haela Brightaxe | Laduguer | Marthammor Duin | Moradin | Sharindlar | Vergadain
Aerdrie Faenya | Angharradh | Corellon | Deep Sashelas | Erevan | Fenmarel Mestarine | Hanali Celanil | Labelas Enoreth | Rillifane Rallathil | Sehanine Moonbow | Shevarash | Solonor Thelandira
The Dark Seldarine
Eilistraee | Kiaransalee | Lolth | Selvetarm | Vhaeraun
Arvoreen | Brandobaris | Cyrrollalee | Sheela Peryroyl | Urogalan | Yondalla
Lords of the Golden Hills
Baervan Wildwanderer | Baravar Cloakshadow | Callarduran Smoothhands | Flandal Steelskin | Gaerdal Ironhand | Garl Glittergold | Nebelun | Segojan Earthcaller | Urdlen
Bahgtru | Gruumsh | Ilneval | Luthic | Shargaas | Yurtrus
Anhur | Bast | Geb | Hathor | Horus | Isis | Nephthys | Osiris | Re | Sebek | Set | Thoth
Other gods of Faerûn
Bahamut | Enlil | Finder Wyvernspur | Ghaunadaur | Gilgeam | Lurue | Moander | Nobanion | Raven Queen | Tiamat
Greater Gods of Faerûn
Amaunator | Asmodeus | Bane | Chauntea | Corellon | Cyric | Ghaunadaur | Gruumsh | Kelemvor | Lolth | Moradin | Oghma | Selûne | Shar | Silvanus | Sune | Tempus | Torm
Gods of Faerûn
Angharradh | Auril | Bahamut | Berronar Truesilver | Beshaba | Garl Glittergold | Gond | Ilmater | Loviatar | Luthic | Malar | Mielikki | Sheela Peryroyl | Sseth | Talona | Tiamat | Tymora | Umberlee | Waukeen | Zehir
Exarchs of Faerûn
Abbathor | Arvoreen | Baervan Wildwanderer | Bahgtru | Baravar Cloakshadow | Brandobaris | Callarduran Smoothhands | Clangeddin Silverbeard | Cyrrollalee | Deep Sashelas | Dugmaren Brightmantle | Erevan Ilesere | Fenmarel Mestarine | Fzoul Chembryl | Garagos | Hoar | Hruggek | Jergal | Labelas Enoreth | Lliira | Maglubiyet | Malar | Marthammor Duin | Milil | Obould | Red Knight | Sharess | Shargaas | Shevarash | Shiallia | Siamorphe | Solonor Thelandira | Thard Harr | Uthgar | Valkur | Vaprak | Vergadain
Greater Deities of Faerûn
Angharradh | Bane | Chauntea | Corellon Larethian | Cyric | Garl Glittergold | Gruumsh | Horus-Re | Kelemvor | Lathander | Moradin | Mystra | Oghma | Shar | Silvanus | Sune | Talos | Tempus | Tyr | Yondalla
Intermediate Deities of Faerûn
Abbathor | Arvoreen | 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
Major 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 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