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Bhaal (pronounced Beh-HAHL)[1], the Lord of Murder, was originally a mortal and one of the Dead Three. Along with Bane and Myrkul, Bhaal took the portfolios of the ancient deity Jergal.[4] Gugari worshipers knew Bhaal as Niynjushigampo.[6]

Despite his most common title, Bhaal was the god of death, but he especially favored 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 on the island realm of the Moonshaes.[citation needed]

The nature of what the Lord of Murder had power over is contested—in his best incarnation he might 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.[citation needed]

WorshipersEdit

Bhaal's worshippers are known as Bhaalists. 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 that before they died, their 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".

During the time he was dead, Bhaal most likely has the most scattered cultist groups, the most infamous were 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, that notion was proven wrong after the death of the last two Bhaalspawn, which revived Bhaal in the process.[citation needed]

RelationshipsEdit

A wholly evil, debased and sadistic god, Bhaal was served by the goddesses Talona and Loviatar, who in turn served Bane and to a lesser extent, Myrkul.[citation needed]

HistoryEdit

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.[7] 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.[7] 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.[citation needed]

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.[8] These events marked the revival of Bhaal as he reclaimed the murder domain from Cyric.[9]

AvatarsEdit

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.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]

AppendixEdit

BackgroundEdit

Ed Greenwood created Bhaal for his home Dungeons & Dragons game set in the Forgotten Realms.[10]

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 worshiped by assassins of any evil alignment, as well as lawful evil clerics.[10]

Bhaal later officially appeared as one of the major deities for the Forgotten Realms campaign setting, in the Forgotten Realms Campaign Set "Cyclopedia of the Realms" (1987).[11]

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),[12] the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 2nd edition: "Running the Realms" (1993)[13] and Faiths & Avatars (1996).[14]

His role in the cosmology of the Planescape campaign setting was described in On Hallowed Ground (1996).[15]

In 3rd edition D&D, Bhaal's worship was discussed in Lost Empires of Faerûn (2005).[16]

In 5th edition, Bhaal returned as the God of Murder. His associated domain is Death. His fellows Bane and Myrkul have been similarly restored to the Realms' pantheon. His current rank is unknown.[17]

External linksEdit

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. 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.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Richard Baker, Ed Bonny, Travis Stout (February 2005). Lost Empires of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 42. ISBN 0-7869-3654-1.
  8. 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.
  9. Kim Mohan ed. (2015). Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 17. ISBN 978-0786965809.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Ed Greenwood (October 1981). “Down-to-earth divinity”. In Kim Mohan ed. Dragon #54 (TSR, Inc.), pp. 6–9, 52–56.
  11. Jeff Grubb, Ed Greenwood and Karen S. Martin (1987). Forgotten Realms Campaign Set (Cyclopedia of the Realms). (TSR, Inc). ISBN 0-8803-8472-7.
  12. Jeff Grubb and Ed Greenwood (1990). Forgotten Realms Adventures. (TSR, Inc). ISBN 0-8803-8828-5.
  13. Jeff Grubb, Ed Greenwood and Julia Martin (1993). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 2nd edition. (TSR, Inc).
  14. Julia Martin, Eric L. Boyd (March 1996). Faiths & Avatars. (TSR, Inc). ISBN 978-0786903849.
  15. Colin McComb (1996). On Hallowed Ground. (TSR, Inc). ISBN 0-7869-0430-5.
  16. Richard Baker, Ed Bonny, Travis Stout (February 2005). Lost Empires of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 0-7869-3654-1.
  17. Wizards of the Coast, Basic Rules PDF - "D&D Basic Rules 5th edition" (August 2014)

SourcesEdit

Eric L. Boyd, Erik Mona (May 2002). Faiths and Pantheons. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 0-7869-2759-3.

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