Despite his most common title, Bhaal was the god of death, but he especially favoured violent or ritual deaths. While originally he was the patron 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. As a result, Bhaal was feared throughout Faerûn - especially in the island realm of the Moonshaes.
The nature of what the Lord of Murder has power over is contested - in his best incarnation he may take strength in violently punishing murderers and warmongers, others that he judged whether a murder was righteous or not, while the Bhaalspawn simply believed he wanted more murder.
Of all the dead deities of Abeir-Toril, Bhaal most likely has the most scattered cultists, the worst known as deathstalkers, attempting to bring him back to 'life'. However, after the Bhaalspawn crisis, his essence might had been locked away on the Upper Planes, preventing his resurrection permanently.
During the Time of Troubles, 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. 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.
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 Sundering" 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 which was only stopped when a group of adventurers new to Baldur's Gate defeated and killed the monstrosity.
Bhaalists believed that every murder committed strengthened holy Bhaal. As a result, they viewed murder as both a pastime and a duty. Bhaalists were required to deal death once in every tenday during the darkest period at the heart of the night. If imprisonment or other constraining circumstances made this impossible, they had to murder twice for each death missed. In accordance with the Lord of Murder's teachings, Bhaalists strove to ensure before they died, murder victims knew who was killing them and that their death was in the name of Bhaal. Novices of Bhaal were charged as follows: "Make all folk fear Bhaal. Let your killings be especially elegant, or grisly, or seem easy so that those observing them are awed or terrified. Tell folk that gold proffered can make the Lord of Murder overlook them for today".
Bhaal had three avatar forms; a shape-shifting one called Kazgoroth, a human-sized one called the Slayer, and a giant called the Ravager. The Slayer appeared as a corpse-like male humanoid, whereas the Ravager was large and bestial.
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. They were also weaker than a true god's avatar, though still very powerful.
Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st edition (1977-1988)Edit
Bhaal first appeared within Dungeons & Dragons as one of the deities featured in Ed Greenwood's article "Down-to-earth Divinity" in Dragon #54 (October 1981). Bhaal was introduced as Lord of Murder, the god of death, a lawful evil lesser god from the plane of Gehenna. The article states that "Bhaal strikes unerringly, and his dagger causes the area wounded to wither," and that he "rarely appears to worshippers or others, but is depicted by priests as a bloody, mutilated corpse with a feral face and silent movements. It is said that every murder done strengthens Bhaal. Myrkul is lord of the dead; Bhaal is the lord of death itself, the act of killing." Bhaal was described as one of “The Dark Gods” of evil alignment: "Loviatar, Talona, and Malar serve Bane through Bhaal (although Loviatar and Talona are rivals). Bhaal and Myrkul have an unbreakable, symbiotic alliance." Bhaal was commonly worshipped by assassins of any evil alignment, as well as lawful evil clerics.
Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition (1989-1999)Edit
Bhaal was destroyed in the novel Tantras (1989), and its accompanying adventure module of the same name. Despite his death, Bhaal was still described in the hardback Forgotten Realms Adventures (1990), the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting (1993) in the "Running the Realms" booklet, and Faiths & Avatars (1996).
Dungeons & Dragons 3rd edition (2000-2007)Edit
Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition (2014)Edit
Bhaal has returned as the God of Murder. His associated domain is Death. His brothers, Bane and Myrkul have been similarly restored to the Realms' pantheon. His current rank is unknown.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 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.
- ↑ Richard Baker, James Wyatt (March 2004). Player's Guide to Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 165. ISBN 0-7869-3134-5.
- ↑ Richard Baker, Ed Bonny, Travis Stout (February 2005). Lost Empires of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 41. ISBN 0-7869-3654-1.
- ↑ David Cook (1990). The Horde. (TSR, Inc), p. 57. ISBN 978-0880388689.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Richard Baker, Ed Bonny, Travis Stout (February 2005). Lost Empires of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 42. ISBN 0-7869-3654-1.
- ↑ Murder in Baldur's Gate is a multi-volume set and so should not be cited directly. Please use one of the following citation subtemplates:
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 Ed Greenwood, Dragon magazine #54 - "Down-to-earth divinity" (October 1981)
- ↑ Jeff Grubb, Ed Greenwood and Karen S. Martin (1987). Forgotten Realms Campaign Set (Cyclopedia of the Realms). (TSR, Inc). ISBN 0-8803-8472-7.
- ↑ Jeff Grubb and Ed Greenwood (1990). Forgotten Realms Adventures. (TSR, Inc). ISBN 0-8803-8828-5.
- ↑ Jeff Grubb, Ed Greenwood and Julia Martin (1993). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 2nd edition. (TSR, Inc).
- ↑ Julia Martin, Eric L. Boyd (March 1996). Faiths & Avatars. (TSR, Inc). ISBN 978-0786903849.
- ↑ Colin McComb (1996). On Hallowed Ground. (TSR, Inc). ISBN 0-7869-0430-5.
- ↑ Richard Baker, Ed Bonny, Travis Stout (February 2005). Lost Empires of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 0-7869-3654-1.
- ↑ Wizards of the Coast, Basic Rules PDF - "D&D Basic Rules 5th edition" (August 2014)
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
|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|