Bahamut

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Greyhawk Deity
Bahamut
Bahamut01.jpg
Bahamut the Platinum Dragon, as depicted in Deities and Demigods (2002).
Title(s) The Platinum Dragon, King of the Good Dragons, Grandfather of Dragons, Lord of the North Wind, the Dragon King, Justicemaker, Draco Paladin
Home Plane Seven Mounting Heavens of Celestia
Power Level Lesser
Gender Male
Class(es)
Alignment Lawful good
Portfolio Good dragons, wind, wisdom, enlightened justice
Domains Air, Cold, Dragon, Good, Law, Luck, Nobility, Protection, Storm
Alias(es) Xymor
Superior Io

Bahamut, the Platinum Dragon, is the King of the Good Dragons. He is a deity of Good Dragonkind. He is also referred to as the God of Dragons or the Lord of the North Wind. His symbol is a star over a milky nebula.

Description

Bahamut is depicted as a massive, long and sinuous dragon with silver-white scales and blue, catlike eyes. According to Complete Divine and Races of the Dragon, the exact color of Bahamut's eyes is hard to specify and may depend on Bahamut's mood, ranging from sky-blue to frosty indigo.

About a quarter of the time, Bahamut wanders the Oerth in the shape of a human or some other guise. He is said to have been encountered as a frail old hermit, with the seven great golden wyrms that accompany him disguised as seven canaries singing sweetly nearby.

Relationships

Bahamut is a child of the dragon god Io, and a fierce enemy of Tiamat, his evil sister and twin. He respects Heironeous, Moradin, Yondalla, and other lawful good deities. Some myths claim he is the son of Lendys, god of justice, and Tamara, goddess of mercy, but more commonly those deities are said to be among his younger siblings, which also include Aasterinian, Chronepsis (also said to be his uncle), Astilabor, Hlal, Faluzure, Garyx, and Nathair Sgiathach.

Bahamut cannot be harmed by Kelmar, the intelligent greatsword of Kord.

Vassals

An aspect of Bahamut, as depicted in the Miniatures Handbook (2003).

A number of non-divine dragons and dragonlike beings serve Bahamut:

  • Borkadd the Claw is Bahamut's hand of justice, sent to set things right when nothing else when suffice. He is one of the seven great wyrm gold dragons in Bahamut's direct service.
  • Gruemar the Voice is a slender great wyrm gold dragon who serves as Bahamut's negotiator, known for preferring words of peace over blood and claw.
  • Kuria the Eye is a sleek, serpentine gold dragon who is sent by Bahamut on tasks that demand secrecy. One of the seven great wyrms who serve Bahamut directly, Kuria can be suspicious and threatening even to those she knows well.
  • Marroshok the Tail is Bahamut's genial, massive bodyguard, another of the seven great wyrm gold dragons who serve him directly.
  • Medrinia is a blue-green aquatic dragon said to have been born from the first tear that Bahamut shed after witnessing the desolation left after the first battle between Tiamat and the dragons of good. She dwells in the undersea palace of Sea Reach on the Prime Material Plane, allying with dolphins, sea-horses, and other aquatic dragons to defeat evil and protect good.
  • Sonngrad the Wing is a gold dragon who serves as Bahamut's messenger. A thrill-seeker and explorer, Bahamut gives this great wyrm time off after she has completed her mission in order to investigate new places.
  • Troannaxia the Presence is a shining gold dragon that Bahamut sends out when Gruemar's words fail and intimidation is needed. She is another of his seven great wyrms.
  • Xathanon is a burst of golden energy with draconic shape, said to be a physical embodiment of the Positive Energy Plane. It was created by Bahamut from positive energy long ago, and it serves Draco Paladin unswervingly. It has a special hatred for Dhrakoth the Corruptor, a negative energy being created by Tiamat.
  • Vanathor, the Golden Harpist, is Bahamut's advisor and bard, appearing as a gold dragon with a swirl of rainbow colors on his breast. The master of all things musical, Vanathor dwells with the Platinum Dragon in his palace. He is on good terms with all the gods of music, especially Corellon Larethian. He sometimes appears as a handsome half-elven bard. Some myths say he was actually a dead god from an ancient pantheon, given new life by Bahamut's magic.
  • Urgala the Fang is one of the seven great wyrm gold dragons who serve Bahamut. She serves as the leader and chief tactician of Bahamut's army, flying above the troops to scout and lead. She is proud and uncompromising, but stubborn and rude when she is in a bad mood.

Realm

Bahamut's realm, Bahamut's Palace, is said to exist "beyond the East Wind." It is unknown to most sages whether this means it is somewhere on the Elemental Plane of Air or somewhere between that plane and the Seven Heavens or Tri-Paradises, but in truth it may be found traveling in a whirlwind between the first four layers of Mount Celestia. It is a wondrous, glittering fortress with windows made from gems set in silver and gold, walls of inlaid copper and ivory, and floors of beaten mithral. When they are not traveling with their master, Bahamut's seven great golden wyrms tend to the palace and its treasures.

Within the palace are open, unkeyed portals leading to all four of the first four layers of the plane as well as the Elemental Plane of Air and the Astral Plane. There are four gates nearby leading to each of the four winds, each guarded by a warden archon. The guardian of the gate to the North Wind is Yonel, the guardian of the gate to the South Wind is Kerkhoutha, the guardian of the gate to the West Wind is Moriel, and the guardian of the gate to the East Wind is Ruhiel.

Bahamut's palace is the only known shortcut to the upper layers of the celestial mountain, though he and his servants only permit those who are worthy to pass through.

Dogma

Bahamut's symbol, as depicted in Deities and Demigods (2002).

Bahamut is very stern and disapproving of evil. He accepts no excuses for foul deeds. On the other hand, he is very compassionate, and has boundless empathy for the weak and downtrodden. He urges his followers to promote good, but to let people fight their own battles when they can, providing healing, information, or temporary safe refuge rather than fighting alongside those who can fight for themselves.

Bahamut's own greatest priority is his endless war with his sister Tiamat. He opposes all her schemes, answering them move for move. He values wisdom, knowledge, prophecies, and song. For a dragon, he is neither vain nor greedy.

Worshipers

Bahamut is revered by all good dragons, but gold, silver, and brass dragons hold him in particularly high regard.

Clergy

Bahamut only accepts good-aligned priests. They may be dragons, half-dragons, or other beings. They strive to constantly yet subtly act on behalf of good. They oppose evil, but their first mandate is to ensure they do no harm in the process.

Temples

Temples to the Platinum Dragon are very rare. Those few that exist are beautiful, elegant edifices characterized by clean, simple architecture and furnishings. Within them will be public rooms in which the faithful can gather and private rooms for meditation and recuperation.

Dragons will not normally build temples, contenting themselves with simple symbols on the wall that they treat as shrines. Bahamut prefers his followers to worship him with deeds, not objects.

Rituals

Most of the quests that Bahamut's followers go on are apt to involve opposing Tiamat in some way. They have few formal rituals. Instead of praying aloud, they count their deeds as prayers, supporting goodness and opposing evil. Bahamut cares little for mere words.

The Rite of Rebirth

Rarely, humans, elves, halflings, or other humanoid races may hear a call, like a faint question in their hearts, asking them if they want to devote themselves completely to Bahamut. Normally it is first heard before adolescence, but sometimes adults hear it as well. Not all those who are called answer, but those who do may undergo the Rite of Rebirth. Those who commit to this demanding ritual put aside all their weapons and equipment, dressing in a simple linen shift. They meditate for a full day and night, their head filled with reminders of all they are giving up. If they elect to go on, they then enter an egg-shaped chamber at dawn and sleep until dawn the next day, emerging as a dragonborn, a noble, draconic, platinum-scaled version of their previous shape, ready to become a permanent champion against Tiamat and her spawn.

Myths and legends

Bahamut the Platinum Dragon, as depicted in the 1st edition Monster Manual (1977).

Vorel

Tiamat's emnity with Bahamut dates back to their creation, when Io made them; they were made with the intention of becoming complements and mates, but their personalities were too much at odds. Tiamat murdered Vorel, her eldest brother, and tried to frame Bahamut for the deed. Io realized who was truly to blame, though, and banished Tiamat from his presence.

The Banishment of Tiamat

Many myths claim that Tiamat lived for a long time on the Prime Material Plane, seeding it with evil dragons and dark magic. Eventually she was banished to the Nine Hells by Bahamut and a sky/sun god (perhaps Pelor or Heironeous).

The Prodigal Son

One myth has it that Bahamut is known as the Grandfather of Dragons because he has a son who is the true father of metallic dragonkind. This son rebelled against Bahamut long ago, but if he defeated Bahamut in battle he would be able to claim his father's place among the gods. Divinations are unable to reveal this son's location or even his name, though Tiamat's agents are always on the lookout for him.

Bahamut's death

Legend has it that Bahamut can be permanently slain by his own offspring, or he can be forced to abandon his divinity if he ever commits a dishonorable deed.

Bahamut's rebirth

Bahamut infuses certain chosen warriors, known as Bahamut's vessels, with a portion of his divinity. Should his divine form be destroyed, these godly sparks may act as embryos that, if certain conditions are met, will allow the Platinum Dragon to be reborn into the world. When every condition is fulfilled, the Vessel will be consumed with divine fire, sacrificing his or her very essence to allow the dragon god to live again. Only the memory of the champion will live on in the god.

Creative origins

Bahamut first appeared in Supplement I: Greyhawk by Gary Gygax and Rob Kuntz (1976) as the Dragon King, also called the Platinum Dragon. He was given a personal name in the Monster Manual (1977). Bahamut's personal name is derived from the Bahamut of Arabic mythology, an elephant-headed fish that supports the world.

Gallery

Bahamut04.jpg Bahamut05.jpg Bahamut06.jpg

Bibliography

  • Conforti, Steven, ed. Living Greyhawk Official Listing of Deities for Use in the Campaign, version 2.0. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2005. Available online:[1]
  • Donovan, Dale. Cult of the Dragon. Renton, WA: TSR, 1998.
  • Kestrel, Gwendolyn F.M., Jennifer Clarke Wilkes, and Kolja Raven Liquette. Races of the Dragon. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2006.
  • McComb, Colin, and Wolfgang Baur. Planes of Law. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1995.
  • Niles, Douglas, and Michael Dobson. The Throne of Bloodstone. Lake Geneva, WI: 1988.
  • Noonan, David. Complete Divine. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2004.
  • Redman, Rich, and James Wyatt. Defenders of the Faith. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2000.
  • Schwalb, Robert J. "Channel Divinity: Bahamut's Champions." Dragon #378. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2009.
  • -----. "Deities and Demigods: Bahamut." Dragon #378. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2009.
  • Strohm, Keith Francis. "Spawn of Tiamat, Children of Bahamut." Dragon #260. Renton, WA: TSR, 1999.

External links