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Bulezaus (pronounced: /ˈblɛzBOO-leh-zow[6]) were violence-craving tanar'ri demons that embodied primal fury and the bestial brutality of nature. Though the minotaur-like creatures appeared gaunt, they were the heavy infantry of the Abyss, too stupid and stubborn to retreat.[5][1] The demonic breed was commonly referred to by planar scholars as "Baphomet's perfect children".[2]

The bulezau are definitely bred for a role in the Blood War. But they are bull-headed in more ways than one. That is a slaadi joke - do you get that one, mortal?
— Xanxost the blue slaad[7]

Description

Bulezaus looked like 8‒9 ft (2.4‒2.7 m) tall minotaurs, but were gaunt to the point of seeming skeletal as opposed to being muscular, weighing 250 lb (110 kg).[4][5] Rather than those of a bull, a bulezaus' massive horns were curved like that of a ram, while their feet ended in claws as opposed to hooves.[5][4]

Their filth-covered flesh carried the stench of carrion and was covered in open boils filled with festering maggots. Patches of short, wiry bristles covered their bodies as opposed to a coat of fur, and their long, serpentine tails ended in a tangled clump of steel-like spines.[1][5] Their goat-like heads hosted pale, rheumy, and crusted over eyes, while their needle-like fangs were concealed by lips caked in foam.[1][4] They carried ranseurs seemingly too large for their scrawny physique, yet wielded them with an uncanny finesse.[4]

Personality

Bulezaus were antagonistic, violent bullies that constantly sought conflict and approached it with enthusiasm and glee. Fury was their default emotion and they gained entertainment only in the struggle of combat. Their eagerness to fight sometimes overwhelmed their sense of self preservation, and only the threats of significantly more powerful beings, coupled with promises of future warring could keep them under control.[1][5]

Disagreements among them turned violent extremely easily and they would immediately start fighting if they became tired of talking. Their form of speech was simplistic and animalistic and they also communicated through a weak telepathic empathy. To bulezaus, any activity that wasn't fighting was a waste of time, and they had no patience for guarding or sneaking. When a bulezau found something it classified as an enemy it attacked, and if no enemies were present then they would quickly try to find one.[5]

Abilities

Bulezaus were dangerous even without weaponry, capable of ripping their enemies apart with tooth and claws, or charging and goring them with their horns. They used their barbed tails to strike foes in combat, causing those stricken to shed rotting skin, develop boils and even cough up flies. Their presence alone caused those near them to be wracked by necrotic energy, which increased in potency when more were nearby.[1] Their powerful legs allowed them to jump across horizontal gaps that were 20 feet (6.1 meters) wide, and they could jump up to half of that vertically. Despite their leaping power, their clawed feet grasped the ground tenaciously and they were difficult to knock down.[1]

Their emaciated builds hid a terrifying strength, as they were able to wield weapons too large for normal creatures of their size. Once a day, they could emit a horrific cry powerful enough to blast apart enemy formations. They were always able to see invisible creatures and could summon a small mob of dretches[3][4] or rutterkins to aid them.[4]

Bulezaus very easily went into berserker rages, whether from the scent of blood whipping them into a frenzy or simply from the thrill of combat. Failing to strike their targets made this more likely, with the rage stemming from a hatred of failure rather than the sheer love of fighting. It was difficult to get them out of this rage unless all targets were gone or they were forcefully restrained for a short period of time.[2][5]

Combat

Bulezaus were neither smart, wise, nor charismatic, and despite grasping basic combat tactics could not utilize advanced fighting strategies, or lead other demons.[3][4] Thus, they relied on their physical capabilities and tenacity to do battle, often starting combat by roaring at the densest enemy cluster. They favored foes that could not or would not try to run away from them as well as those that seemed weak. Most owned a massive magical weapon in the form of a ranseur, but they sometimes wielded longspears, tridents, morningstars and other long weapons.[4] Their skill in these weapons was shown particularly when charging, attacking quickly, and finishing downed targets.[2] When an opponent became too close for a bulezau to fight with their weapons they dropped them and stuck to their natural armaments.[4]

Society

Bulezaus lurked within the deeper canyons and towering cliffs of the Abyss, most commonly on layers dedicated to warfare or ruled by barbaric demon lords like Kostchtchie or Yeenoghu.[1][4] If not being intimidated into service by a more powerful demon they gathered into chaotic mobs, constantly scuffling and clashing amongst themselves unless a better target made itself apparent.[1] A lone bulezau was almost certainly the result of complete slaughter of their horde, most likely the result of their own self-destructive feuding.[4]

Bulezaus had to be kept in line by a strong commander with significant charisma, demon or otherwise, often under orders to attack any bulezau that started a brawl. Tanar'ri leaders normally attempted to keep bulezaus at the front of a battle, as without some form of war to fight their mobs quickly descended into chaos. The threat of almost certain death was typically enough to restrain them for some time, but many of their superiors found themselves too late to stop a band of bulezaus from self-terminating.[4][5] Mortals attempting to call bulezaus to aid them found them annoyingly uncooperative unless random opportunities for violence were offered.[2]

Ironically, despite their utter hatred for everything that was around them, bulezaus were among the most appreciated creatures within all of the Abyss. Although difficult to control, bulezaus could in turn be relied upon to almost never retreat, a rare kind of loyalty within the treacherous depths of the Abyss. Higher ranking demons found bulezaus to be enough of a boon that they gathered them in large formations and created fanatical guards comprised of them, despite the burden of dealing with their stupidity and quarrels.[5]

Relatively high-ranking tanar'ri conscripts were also grateful for the bulezaus, as their enthusiasm for fighting the Blood War might allow the more subtle demons to sneak away unnoticed when they were around. However, weaker tanar'ri were frequently bullied by bulezaus and the creatures would savage them at the slightest provocation, with some cases having more dretches or rutterkin lost to the impatience of the bulezau than the invasion of the baatezu.[5]

Bulezau served a similar function to vrocks, being tough front-line infantry and assault leaders. Although vrocks were more magically adept and mobile, bulezaus were unwavering in their attacks as opposed to the flightiness of vrocks. The two sustained a bitter rivalry with only the presence of baatezu being enough to keep them from each other's throats.[5] Bulezaus held a similar animosity towards armanites, with which they fought with to claim the spoils of the Blood War during its hotter points.[8] They despised goodly and virtuous minotaurs, but were quick to come to the call of evil ones.[2]

History

You have pride in your children, but half of them are cattle in spirit, as well as in form. See how my children take what yours make and burn what yours build.
— Yeenoghu[2]

Aeons ago, Baphomet created mortal minotaurs, which were divided in their ways. Yeenoghu pointed out the division and mocked him, claiming that half of his minions were worthless. In response, Baphomet sent his underlings to perform demonic rituals upon the corpses of female mortals who were devoted to good-aligned deities.[2] Said rituals were purported to have involved the breeding of minotaurs and other tanar'ri, eventually spawning the bulezaus.[5]

While initially intended to crush Yeenoghu's forces, Baphomet's creations were too uncontrollable to be handled on a wider scale. He was forced to release the bulezaus into the Abyss to flourish, else allow them to keep killing his generals in their disorganized rebellions.[4]

During the more tumultuous part of the Blood War, all demon lords, apart from Yeenoghu, enlisted bulezaus to serve in the front ranks of their armies.[2] It was said Baphomet maintained a small number of strangely disciplined bulezaus as bodyguards, a group regarded fondly by more powerful tanar'ri.[5]

Appendix

See Also

Appearances

Adventures
Dragon+ #21, "Six Faces of Death"Baldur's Gate: Descent into Avernus
Video Games
Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms

References

  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 Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford (May 29, 2018). Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes. Edited by Kim Mohan, Michele Carter. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 131–132. 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 Mike Mearls, Brian R. James, Steve Townshend (July 2010). Demonomicon. Edited by Scott Fitzgerald Gray. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 107. ISBN 978-0786954926.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 James Jacobs (March 2006). “The Demonomicon of Iggwilv: Baphomet: Prince of Beasts”. In Erik Mona ed. Dragon #341 (Paizo Publishing, LLC), pp. 27–28.
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 4.13 4.14 4.15 4.16 4.17 4.18 4.19 4.20 4.21 Ed Stark, James Jacobs, Erik Mona (June 13, 2006). Fiendish Codex I: Hordes of the Abyss. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 33–34. ISBN 0-7869-3919-2.
  5. 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 5.11 5.12 5.13 5.14 5.15 5.16 Richard Baker (October 1995). Monstrous Compendium Planescape Appendix II. Edited by Karen S. Boomgarden. (TSR, Inc.), pp. 108–109. ISBN 0-7869-0173-X.
  6. Adam Lee, et al. (September 2019). Baldur's Gate: Descent into Avernus. Edited by Michele Carter, et al. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 978-0-7869-6687-5.
  7. Colin McComb (September 1997). Faces of Evil: The Fiends. Edited by Ray Vallese. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 45. ISBN 0-7869-3430-1.
  8. Mike Mearls, Brian R. James, Steve Townshend (July 2010). Demonomicon. Edited by Scott Fitzgerald Gray. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 105. ISBN 978-0786954926.

Connections

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