Baalzephon

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Greyhawk Deity
Baalzephon
Title(s) Supply Master of Baator
Home Plane Nine Hells
Power Level Pit fiend
Gender Female
Class(es)
Alignment Lawful Evil
Portfolio Prosperity, Wealth
Domains N/A
Alias(es) Baalzy, Baael
Superior Asmodeus

Baalzephon is Minister of Supply in the Dark Eight, in charge of making sure that the Blood War receives all the equipment, weapons, money, food, and supplies it needs.

Description

Baalzephon's natural form is that of a mighty pit fiend, though outside her home plane she sometimes manifests as a slightly fiendish-looking human woman.

Baalzephon is the least talkative of the Dark Eight, keeping her own council. As the oldest of the eight pit fiends in her station, she knows the histories of all the others, and uses this knowledge to woo them to her side with fine gifts and other bribes, such as promises of future support. She is rarely turned down, in part because she knows the machinery of the Blood War would run to a halt without her.

Relationships

Baalzephon is among the most powerful of the Dark Eight, but is subordinate to the Lords of the Nine. She meets with the other members of the Eight four times a year in Malsheem, a palace on the deepest of the Nine Hells, to discuss strategy. One of her servants, the pit fiend Zuchanx, originally alerted her to the ambition and desires of Ivenzen Naelax. The mortal archmage Karoolck, servant and secret master of Ivid V, is devoted to her. In exchange for his service, Karoolck will live 333 years and will be wished back to life up to nine times.

Using the pseudonym "Baalzy," she is worshiped as a god of prosperity and wealth in the lands of the former Great Kingdom. She is really just a pit fiend, although one of the most powerful of her kind.

History

Baalzephon is the last remaining original member of the Dark Eight, although this is a deadly secret (which is to say, those who find out are killed). As far as the majority of the multiverse knows, every member of the Eight is an original member.

The Reckoning of Hell

Uncounted years in the past, Baalzephon was the Prime Minister in Dispater's court. She was approached by the mysterious pit fiend Cantrum to join a secretive cabal that would be devoted to creating even greater order among the legions of Hell. She accepted, not telling even her own master of her new allegiance, but she maneuvered herself into the command of one of the nine armies of Hell. Over a thousand years ago there was a civil war on the plane now remembered as the Reckoning of Hell; the long simmering rivalry between the faction comprised of Dispater, Mammon, Geryon, Mephistopheles and the faction comprised of Zariel, Belial, Moloch, and Baalzebul flamed into open battles. Ultimately the armies of both factions poured into Nessus, each determined to be the one to unseat Asmodeus first. At a critical moment, Geryon blew his trumpet and the nine pit fiend generals, including Baalzephon, turned against their masters. With their generals and armies no longer following their commands, the archdevils were forced to surrender to Asmodeus. In reward for their service, the nine generals - known then as the Dark Nine - were put in charge of all of Hell's legions, given charge of determining strategy and much else in their struggles against the demons of the Abyss. When Cantrum, their founder, was slain by either a paladin or an abishai assassin (tales and rumors differ) they elected not to replace him out of respect for his great deeds.

The Rebellion of the Inferiors

The Dark Eight next acted openly during the so-called Rebellion of the Inferiors, when at the instigation of balor spies the lesser devils of one infernal town rose in revolt. The Dark Eight arrived to personally deal with the situation. When the balors were revealed, they were torn apart by those they hoped to control.

The Naelax Overkings

In the fifth century CY, Baalzephon allied herself with Ivenzen, ancestor of the Naelax line of Overkings, promising House Naelax aid in gaining the status of Overking in exchange for the souls of his heirs and descendants for the next 888 years, should they continue to rule. She guided Ivenzen's men to the Cauldron of Night and instructed them in how to create the Malachite Throne, which they did in the years between 443 and 446. It is said the magical resonances of the throne played a role in the madness that has plagued the Naelax Overkings.

She played a role in creating the animuses, providing pit fiend servants and an artifact, the Casket of Abyssal Bone, with which to do so. On her orders Ivid V himself was ultimately so transformed.

"Baalzy" was declared to be an official god of Aerdy, and part of its mandatory state religion, by Ivid V. Non-evil religions were officially tolerated, but most were taxed so heavily that parishioners were forced to choose new gods when their temples closed, while unofficially their priests were harassed and even assassinated. One of Baalzy's high priests is in reality a cornugon devil in human guise.

When Rauxes disappeared in a magical conflagration in 586 CY Baalzephon's hold over the Great Kingdom was broken, and the Great Kingdom itself was shattered. What further schemes the pit fiend has in the Flanaess are unknown, but the line of Naelax is not yet extinct. For example, Grenell is a Naelax scion who claims the title of Overking of Northern Aerdy, and hopes for more.

Recently, Baalzephon's oldest and most powerful rival, Furcas, was assassinated, greatly increasing her power among the Dark Eight.

Associated magic items

Magic items supplied by Baalzephon to the House of Naelax include the Malachite Throne, the Casket of Abyssal Bone, fiend armor, the Fiend Circlet, the Unholy Bloodshield, and the Spear of Sorrow.

Creative origins

The name Baal-zephon means "lord of the north [side]" in Hebrew.

Publishing history

Baalzephon first appeared in the preview for the Monster Manual II in Dragon #75, in a list of powerful pit fiends and lords of Hell. Fate of Istus said that the false god Baalzy was actually an "archfiend named Baael." Before then, there had never been an archfiend by that name, although there was a "Bael" working for Mammon. Perhaps this was a repeated misspelling, or perhaps "Baael" was intended to be a different figure altogether.

Baalzephon next appeared among the lists of pit fiends of the Dark Eight in the Monstrous Compendium: Outer Planes Appendix in 1991. Because those were the most powerful devils (or baatezu, as they were then known) then available for designers to use, Carl Sargent, in Ivid the Undying, identified one of them, Baalzephon, as the enigmatic Baalzy. At the time, Baalzephon was consistently referred to by the masculine pronoun.

Baalzephon wasn't described in detail until the Hellbound: The Blood War boxed set described each member of the Dark Eight. There, Baalzephon is consistently referred to as female.

Fiendish Codex II demoted the Dark Eight somewhat, changing them from a cabal of masterminds meeting in Nessus to a group of generals working for Bel, the Warlord of Avernus. That book also killed off the original Furcas, leaving Baalzephon as the oldest remaining member of the group.

Bibliography

  • Cook, Monte. A Paladin in Hell. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 1998. ISBN 0-7869-1210-3
  • Gygax, Gary. Monster Manual II. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1983.
  • Greenwood, Ed. "The Nine Hells, Part I." Dragon #75. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1983.
  • LaFountain, J. Paul. Monstrous Compendium Outer Planes Appendix. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1991.
  • McComb, Colin. Faces of Evil: The Fiends. Renton, WA: TSR, 1997.
  • McComb, Colin, and Monte Cook. Hellbound: The Blood War. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1996.
  • Pramas, Chris. Guide to Hell. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 1999.
  • Varney, Allen, ed. Planescape Monstrous Compendium Appendix. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1994.