Baphomet


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Baphomet
demipower, "Prince of Beasts"
AoC: Minotaurs, battle, beasts, uncontrolled nature
Worshippers: Minotaurs, evil rangers or druids, ferals
AL: CE WAL: CE,NE,CN
Symbol: A bull's head
Home p/r: Abyss/Endless Maze
Allies: Dwiergus, Malcanthet, Pale Night
Enemies: Ardat, Geryon, Graz'zt, Yeenoghu
Favored Weapon: Glaive or Greataxe
Domains: Animal, Chaos, Destruction, Evil, Strength
Subdomains: Ferocity, Fur, Rage, Tanar'ri
Known Proxies: None

A vicious, bestial lord, the demon Baphomet claims reign over the violent natural world and the creatures that live in it. He would see civilization utterly ripped asunder, having no need for the trappings of urban life. And yet he has his own brilliance, especially towards the ways of beast and man. A scholar in many ways, he has brought life to any number of new species of tanar'ri through his knowledge of dark sciences.

History

By the tales of those that follow Baphomet, he was long ago a mortal — though tales are split on if he was man or beast in those early days. It is said that he saw the gods as little better than cattle, nothing but beasts to use as he wished, to survive through the benefit of, and to abandon when he had no further need of them. The gods took great offense at this treatment, cursing him to be neither man nor beast but a merger of both, and casting him into the depths of the Pit. He saw this curse as none at all, however; instead, he embraced his new life. With the aid of the ancient being known as Pale Night, he took quick control of his layer, forming the Endless Maze around her realm and the lands within.

From then, he began work on testing the limits of what the tanar'ric form could sustain. Through the allegiance of Dwiergus, the Chrysalis Prince, he constructed his great Tower of Science, where he began experimentations on crafting new forms of Abyssal life. Over the coming centuries, he had a number of successes, including the creation of both the buleazu and the goristroi. These now-widespread beings came first from the laboratories of Baphomet, in addition to the lesser-known castes, the ghour and the ankashar. There are some that say he has even endeavored to investigate the Far Realm, and learn how to blend those otherworldly beings with native beasts and fiends.

He further began to come to the attention of the minotaur soon after, a people trapped between beast and man much as he was. Seeing common kinship in them, he established himself as a patron of the darker members of those people, spreading word of his worship throughout their number. From the minotaur, the cult of Baphomet began to grow, soon including many other mortals as well; he became quite popular with giants and ogres as well, as well as those that would see the natural world overcome and subsume civilization, see violent, natural instinct supplement intellect rather than be subsumed by it.

At some time, though the reasons have been lost even to them, Baphomet and Yeenoghu came into conflict with one another. Some say it was an allegiance that went sour, others say rivalry over the gnolls, still others claim that some of Baphomet's knowledge was stolen from Yeenoghu. It could be all these and more. But the reasons are no longer relevant, and the gnolls are now as much an enemy to Baphomet as Yeenoghu himself. The war with both the demon and his people is Baphomet's largest priority, even above his cults, and near all his attention is focused on the goal of wiping them from existence. A number of souls of sacrificed gnolls fill the Endless Maze, and it is one of Baphomet's great joys to torture them endlessly merely to revel in their suffering. On numerous occasions, he has gone so far as to attempt an alliance with Malcanthet over their shared hated for the Lord of Gnolls, but their completely disparate personalities and means have as of yet prevented any such allegiances from coming to fruition.

Yeenoghu is far from Baphomet's only foe, however, for the lord has a habit of treating other Abyssal lords much the way he once treated gods. A recent example is that of Ardat, Queen of the Harpies. Allying with her and her cabal of half-fiendish harpies, the Soul Sirens, he sought to devastate the gnoll city of Hykanask on the layer of Vorganund. His attack was successful, but following the strike, he abandoned the Sirens on that layer, stranding them without recourse for months until Ardat could muster the means to retrieve the survivors. This pattern of behavior — allying with someone just long enough to get what he needs, only to abandon them once the act is completed — has led many demon lords to to keep a wary eye out for any requests from Baphomet.

More recently, in Hashkar 116, Baphomet suffered a brief imprisoning at the hands of Graz'zt, the reasons for which are yet known only to them. Though lasting only a year, it through both his cult and his layer into minor chaos until his return due to strikes from Yeenoghu across the duration of his captivity. It was only through the intervention of Pale Night that the entire Maze wasn't lost, but numerous captive spirits of Baphomet's, both gnoll and not, were released during the strikes.

Priesthood

Cults of Baphomet span the Prime, but on the planes they tend to be restricted to the Lower Planes, or the lower segments of the Outlands. Most commonly worshipped by minotaurs, his largest cults are found in their tribes and cities; as much because of his status as their patron as the relative rarity of minotaurs on the planes beyond those that follow some deity. Still, there are plenty of mortals beyond that species that worship and respect him as well, hoping to truly encompass his blend of savagery and intellect. Followers of Baphomet are especially common in poorer rural areas, where they seek to defend the lower classes wronged or forgotten by the government. These branches of the cult — most often known as the Temple of Redemption, or the Redeemers — promise (often sincerely) to overthrow the bureaucracies that have trod upon the poor, and allow them new reign in the remains once the cult has purged them and allowed the wild to take over.

These cults usually make no effort to hide their depravity; instead they revel in it, ensuring all that their threats are not empty, that they are well capable of acting on them. As such, most cities tend to bar them outright, though the less governed tend to have little trouble from their number despite. They tend to avoid attention by crusaders of order instead through cowing those that would report their presence. Violence is a part of their lifestyle fully and thoroughly, and the most dangerous enemies of their cults are not merely slain, but bound in public ceremony and sacrificed to Baphomet through decapitation, to demonstrate to all what happens to those that would act against them.

Worship is similarly violent, usually involving a sacrifice of some sort, though never a random victim. If not an enemy of the cult, more often it's some sort of animal, similarly publicly decapitated before being burnt or consumed in his name. The largest ceremonies short of sentient sacrifice, especially amongst the Redeemers, are those where the finest examples of cattle are offered, for it is through these sacrifices that Baphomet directs his followers, whispering through the mouth of the slain bull to advise his herd how best to achieve their goals.

References

  • Dragon #341 - Demonomicon of Iggwilv: Baphomet, pp.20-33
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