Baphomet

From Greyhawk Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Greyhawk Deity
Baphomet
Baphomet03.jpg
Baphomet, Demon Lord of Minotaurs, as depicted in the Dragon #369 (2008).
Title(s) Prince of Beasts, Demon Lord of Minotaurs, the Trampler, the Horned King
Home Plane Abyss
Power Level Demon lord
Gender Male
Class(es) Fighter 14, priest 7 (avatar)
Alignment Chaotic evil
Portfolio Minotaurs, Beasts, Vengeance
Domains Chaos, Evil, Fury, Strength
Alias(es)
Superior None

Baphomet is a demon lord who rules a layer of the Abyss called the Endless Maze. He is the Prince of Beasts and the Demon Lord of Minotaurs. His symbol is a twisted circular maze awash in blood, or the severed head of a bull, goat, or bearded human. Where more subtlety is needed, Baphomet's cultists may crook their fingers like bull's horns in order to identify themselves to one another.

Description

Baphomet has the appearance of a 12' tall humanoid with a bull's head, a bovine tail, and broad, stubby hands and feet. His body is covered with coarse black hair. His horns curve downward and outward, and are carved with blasphemous sigils. He wields a giant bardiche. Baphomet can spit out gouts of unholy water. He often wears an iron crown and wields the battleaxe Heartcleaver.

Relationships

Baphomet hates Yeenoghu, and the two are bitter enemies. The two have been warring against each other for as long as they themselves could remember, and both have forgotten the origin of their feud. Baphomet's other enemies include the Demon Queen of Harpies, Ardat, and Graz'zt and Orcus, who both imprisoned him for a time. He hates the gods of nature who would rival his claim over beasts, as Obad-hai does.

Baphomet has an unknown relationship with Pale Night, who shares his layer. The two have never joined forces, but they may come to one another's aid if the layer is invaded. Pale Night introduced him to the even more ancient demon known as Dwiergus, the Chrysalis Prince, who seems to have aided him in learning to create new demon breeds of his own. Baphomet has approached Malcanthet, Queen of the Succubi, with offers of alliance, but their shared hatred of Yeenoghu and Graz'zt have not yet been enough to overcome their many other differences.

Baphomet's relationship with Geryon, who also has minotaur worshippers, is unknown.

Vassals

  • Asterion, Thief of the Maze, a massive minotaur whose shifting tattoo maps the Endless Maze around him.

Realm

Baphomet's realm of the Endless Maze (in Gary Gygax's Gord novels, Baphomet's realm is called Shubgottia) is the 600th layer of the Abyss, supposedly infinite in size. Here, Baphomet dwells in his palace, the Lyktion, and spend his time creating various new demonic breeds in his infamous Tower of Science (also known as the Horrid Spire). Some of his more successful creations are the goristroi, the bulezaus, the ghours, fiendish and half-fiend minotaurs, and more recently, the feral ankashars. The coflizu demons are clouds of blood and torn flesh created from demonic corpses. The kalakas are minor demons of nearly endless variation created from mortals. Mortals known as the Lost, often humans and gnolls, are set loose in the maze to be hunted down at Baphomet's leisure. The perditazu, or maze demons, are the undead remnants of dead Lost. The layer also contains a massive coliseum known as the Fields of Brass. The Misbegotten, bloated worms with tentacles tipped with horns, are created from fiends who disappoint the Prince of Beasts. Many of them are imprisoned in the Maze of the Misbegotten beneath the Tower of Science.

Dogma

Baphomet is the embodiment of savagery tempered with the keen mind of a scientist, an insidious force that worms its way into the heart of his followers to deceive them into embracing brutality. His priests speculate that what others call the "soul" is merely the dream of those who wish they had some indefinable essence that separated them from beasts. In truth, all are no more than beasts, and souls and conscience are lies told by the gods to enslave their servants. Only by embracing the beast within is true freedom possible.

Worshipers

Baphomet, as depicted in Fiendish Codex I (2006). Art by Tom Baxa.

Baphomet has a multitude of minotaur, ogre, and giant followers and minions. His nature also appeals to evil rangers and barbarians. He is served by ghour demons, a race of demons resembling burly, hairless minotaurs which command troops of these mortal minions. He seeks to use them to further his schemes, notably to gain the upper hand in his battles against Yeenoghu. A multitude of other twisted creatures revere Baphomet as well, some becoming his thralls, and if they pleased their bestial patron, they would be granted rulership of a portion of the Endless Maze. Those who displease Baphomet are eaten.

Most of Baphomet's followers are minotaurs. The bulk of these are faithful in name only, having little patience with religion.

Occasionally cults of Baphomet will masquerade as charitable organizations or militant arms of established religions such as that of Pelor. Many of the cults' members may be unaware of their true patron, and revere a severed head instead of Baphomet's typical bloody maze symbol.

The Temple of Redemption

In a growing number of impoverished rural areas, desperate commoners turn to evil rangers who claim to worship a nature deity who promises vengeance to those who have been wronged by the government. They call themselves the Temple of Redemption or simply the Redeemers. They make no effort to hide their cruelty, but keep word of their presence from reaching more civilized areas by decapitating those they think may talk.

Cabalists

The most intelligent and strong-willed minotaurs are the cabalists, a priestly caste that worships Baphomet and plots the subjugation of neighboring peoples. They rule minotaur strongholds as malevolent theocracies.

Temples

Occasionally a charismatic priest of Baphomet will establish temple complexes in the form of complex mazes built around portals to the Abyss.

Rituals

Rituals in the Temple of Redemption involve the decapitation of prize bulls. It is said that those who listen at the mouths of the bulls hear whispers of how best to punish their oppressors.

To a minotaur cultist, the highest offering that can be given to Baphomet is the corpse of a gnoll.

Relics

The brazen skulls were created by Baphomet from the horns of his 13 greatest minotaur priests, fitted into bestial statues crafted from brass, gold, iron, and red metal, with eyes of pearl. The spirits of the minotaur priests lie dormant within them, awakened with humanoid sacrifice. They have a variety of useful powers, including curing, resurrection, and divination.

History

Baphomet, as depicted in Monster Manual II (1983).

It is suggested that Baphomet started his existence as a mortal creature; although it is unclear whether he was a beast that lived as a man or a man who lived as a beast. It is also suggested that he was cursed by the gods for daring to treat them like cattle, and thus banished to the Abyss. In 4th edition, he was allegedly once a primordial godlike being representing the dark side of nature, who cast himself into the Abyss to avoid the judgment of the gods after being defeated by them in battle. In any case, Baphomet reveled in his Abyss-born power, seeing the curse more as a blessing.

The minotaur race is said to have been created in pre-history when a group of wicked humans, who may have had dealings with the tanar'ri, were condemned by a terrible curse. This curse drew Baphomet's attention, or perhaps Baphomet was responsible for the curse. Another myth claims that Baphomet created the minotaurs as warriors against the servants of the gods.

Almost a thousand years ago, Yeenoghu and Baphomet orchestrated an invasion of Western Oerik, opening vast portals in the forest of Ravilla. Armies of demons, gnolls, and minotaurs poured into the forests, burning them and slaughtering wood elves by the thousands. An army of elves, allied with Bahamut and his dragons, managed to defeat the demonic alliance after a long war. The portals were sealed shut and cities were built to guard them. Yeenoghu and Baphomet became enemies, each blaming the other for their defeat.

Yeenoghu and Baphomet have invaded one another's Abyssal realms several times, each time resulting in disaster for the invading army. Baphomet has knotched his axe three times in personal combat with Yeenoghu. Since then, they have mostly contented themselves with fighting through proxies. On the Prime Material Plane, gnolls and minotaurs battle one another with regularity.

Creative origins

Baphomet was inspired by the enigmatic figure of Baphomet, allegedly worshipped in secret by the Knights Templar. The appearance of Baphomet as he is in Dungeons & Dragons is derived from fanciful depictions created by occultist Eliphas Lévi, although historical evidence leans against any such depiction actually being worshipped by the Templars (the actual accusation claims they worshipped a severed head and called it "Baphomet").

Bibliography

Baphomet, as depicted in the 4th edition Manual of the Planes (2008).
  • Baker, Richard; Rob Heinsoo; and James Wyatt. Manual of the Planes. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2008.
  • Gygax, Gary. "Evening Odds." Pawn of Chaos. Clarkson, Ga: White Wolf Publishing, 1996.
  • -----. The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1982.
  • -----. Monster Manual II. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1983.
  • Mearls, Mike, and Stephen Schubert and James Wyatt. Monster Manual. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2008.
  • Pramas, Chris. "The Empire of Ravilla." Dragon #285. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2001.
  • -----. "The Gnolls of Naresh." Dragon #289. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2001.
  • Winninger, Ray. Giantcraft. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1995.