|Lesser Power, "The Avaricious, The Chromatic Dragon, Queen of Evil Dragonkind"|
|Pantheon: Draconic Pantheon|
|AoC: Evil dragons, conquest, greed|
|Worshippers: Chromatic dragons|
|AL: LE||WAL: LE, NE, CE|
|Symbol: Five-headed dragon|
|Home p/l/r: Baator/Avernus/Azharul|
|Allies: Bel, Githyanki, Hextor, Maglubiyet?|
|Enemies: Bahamut, Heironeous, Io, Marduk, Moradin|
|Favored Weapon: Heavy pick (bite)|
|Domains: Destruction, Evil, Law, Scalykind, Trickery|
|Subdomains: Baatezu, Catastrophe, Deception, Dragon, Saurian, Thievery|
|Known Proxies: Amduscias, Reconciliator of Foes (Px/♂ baatezu/LE); An-Ur, the Wandering Death (Px/♂ dragon/HD 18/LE); General Goap the Marauder (Px/♂ pit fiend/HD 20/LE); Malphas, Duke of Azharul (Px/♂ baatezu/LE); Mordukhavar the Reaver (Px/♂ red dragon/HD 24/LE)|
The mother of all chromatic dragons, and one of the few deities mortals can find themselves in a position of interacting with directly, Tiamat is a terrifying figure to many, and inspirational to others. Those that have seen her visage have most often done so in the realm of Azharul, or as most know it, "Tiamat's Lair"; the only major passageway between Avernus and Dis. Her five-headed figure is known near multiversally, and few would wish to confront her or risk her wrath.
Tiamat was the third child of Io, born in eons hence as the sister of Vorel, Io's first, and Bahamut, Io's second. Bahamut and Tiamat were intended by Io to capture the full potential of dragonkind, that which Vorel alone couldn't hold, as treasured as he was: the male and the female, the good and the evil, the sheen and the hue. They would grow together, and eventually mate, allowing all this potential to spread throughout Io's descendants for eternity hence. But Io's children were simply too different, set at odds from the beginning in competition for their father's love: Bahamut through good works, Tiamat through guile. Tiamat's schemes came to a head with her first true act of treachery. First, she tricked Vorel into destroying some of Bahamut's most treasured creations. Second, she claimed to Io that such an act enraged the normally-placid Bahamut. And finally, while the rest of the family slept, she slew Vorel with her own claws and framed Bahamut for the crime. Though she was certain that Io would strike out and slay Bahamut for his "crime", Io's love led him to investigate, and eventually see through her deception. And for her crime against her kin, Tiamat was exiled from her father's court, cast out into the wilds of the planes. And so began the conflict between the two siblings known today as the Dragonfall War.
Establishing herself in the mountains of Avernus following her exile, here Tiamat first carved her lair, digging deep into the stone of Baator all the way to Dis. She named her realm Azharul; in Trade, simply "the Lair". It wasn't long, though, before her exile brought feeligns of solitude, of loneliness. In hardly a century, she felt an ache for companionship, and so from her five breaths, she formed the first of her children: An-Ur, "the originator". In An-Ur held the potential of the five, and with An-Ur came the first clutch. Once lain, Tiamat's son departed to walk the planes, and Tiamat prepared for her first generation.
It wasn't to be so simple, though, as a full army of thieves seeking treasure beneath Avernus's surface invaded her realm. Still weak and still new, Tiamat still fought tenaciously, slaying hundreds of invaders with breath and claw. Still, their weapons took their toll, soon leaving her barely able to move. Taking the chance, the thieves began for her eggs, glittering in the cavern's glow. Spying this offense, she mustered her strength, and with a mighty roar collapsed the tunnels around both her and her foes, slaying those that would have sought to take her children. Struggling to her nest, she used the last of her power to allow one of her children to hatch before its time. Collapsing in exhaustion, Tiamat fell into a deep slumber, while her first-hatched - Kurtulmak, father of kobolds - cleared the rubble from her home and worked to defend it from future attack (and himself spawned the first kobolds in the process).
Eventually, Tiamat recovered, and from that first clutch spawned the first of the chromatic dragons. Some remained with their great queen, while others journeyed to the Prime, there first encountering the children of Bahamut in any number of bloody encounters. At home, though, Tiamat began her still-standing tradition of keeping one consort of each of the five races of chromatic dragons, held in special import above all others. Many prominent dragons have held this position over the hundreds of centuries — Ephelomon, Etiol, Dragotha — as well as those beyond the draconic race as well, deities and mortals alike. It was through her relationship with both Abzu of the Anunna and their child Kingu that her long-standing relationship with that pantheon was forged, while her relationship to the Baatezu was similarly established through her relationship with the since-passed Cantrum of the Dark Eight, from which the terrifying Mordukhavar the Reaver was spawned.
Her spawning was far from limited to dragonkind, of course. Soon after the hatching of Mordukhavar, and the great power that the blend of dragon and baatezu was seen to present, Pearza approached Tiamat with a new possibility; a lesser, but still significant, blending. An entire race of baatezu imbued with a draconic essence, empowering them above what they would achieve alone. And so, after some experimentation, the abishai caste was first produced under their combined guidance. Tiamat at first was reluctant to share the final secrets of the race's creation, instead merely lending out squadrons as needed, but as the success of the caste was proven again and again in the field, and at the increasingly pressing demands on her, she finally acquiesced and spread knowledge of their breeding to all the baatezu in exchange for greater power within Avernus. Many baatezu have since been given over for her command, and her prominence is such that many on the Prime believe she to be the ruler of Avernus, the name of Bel completely unknown to them.
Though her long-standing feud with Marduk of the Ananaki is well-known, it in fact started relatively recently in history, within but the last four millennia. As the Ananaki began to quarrel with the Anunna, Marduk sought to bring order to the two pantheons by force of arms; as a tentative member that stood against much Marduk representated, Tiamat was the first choice to begin his attack. He in fact succeeded, bringing Tiamat low and forcing many centuries before she fully recovered, and though Marduk's efforts did serve to bring about a tentative peace between the two pantheons, Tiamat grew an ire towards the deity and his pantheon that has never since been quenched. Many times has she fought against the Ananaki since, including slaying the demigod Gilgeam upon the world of Toril during the recent Time of Troubles.
Some centuries past she was again struck a blow, a party of adventurers having with the aid of Bahamut slain her aspect within the bounds of Azharul itself as part of an effort to destroy the Wand of XXXXXX, if temporarily in both parts. Once more forced to recover her energies, Tiamat has been somewhat quiescent since, keeping her focus on matters at home whenever possible (though the above-mentioned Time of Troubles did force her into matters abroad), reaffirming her alliances with Asmodeus and his lessers after a long period spent separate from devilkind. (Further, rumors continue to spread of a possible alliance with Maglubiyet, bringing goblinoid forces to bear in her crusades on the Prime.) She's sent her energies out through her bloodlines into the children of chromatics across the Prime, forming the first spawn of Tiamat that she might better set them against her enemies, finally reign victorious in the Dragonfell War, and prevent yet another defeat at the hands of those that would seek it. And for the first time, she seems to have turned her attention to the Blood War, dispatching Mordukhavar and a large detachment of baatezu as of Hashkar 127 to fight under the banner of Law; the reason for her newfound interest in the eternal conflict is yet unknown, but Tiamat has never been one to make her plans open.
As said above, Tiamat's most commonly encountered form is known across the planes: that of a five-headed dragon, black, blue, red, green, and white heads each acting independently, blending into a bluish-grey body the size of a small house. Though without wings, Tiamat bears a tail much like that of a wyvern, ending in a stinger dripping with a black venom that to the unlucky is instantly fatal. Occasionally, Tiamat will take the form of a dark-haired, dark-eyed human or elven woman to walk the Prime, near always accompanied by her five consorts themselves either also disguised, or hidden nearby.
By far, the majority of Tiamat's clerics are amongst the chromatic dragons. Most dragons tend to be solitary beings, making any sort of an organized priesthood amongst them a difficult matter, but individual hatchlings are occasionally apprenticed by hopeful parents to priests in their region that they may be raised in the faith and serve Tiamat with great devotion; thanks to this admittedly-slow system, certain beliefs and tendencies have spread across their number over the millennia. As is expected, the first goal is always to increase the value of ones hoard, so as to demonstrate superior worth. This is a goal amongst all dragons, naturally, but amongst the faithful of Tiamat it's especially prominent, as it is believed that the more success a dragon has in the collection of treasure, the greater Tiamat must be pleased with them. And of course, they're also expected to do what they can to bring Tiamat's presence to all that lack it, dragon or not, and purge those that would stand against her will.
As thanks for her blessing, a full 5% of all treasure collected over the year is tithed via sacrifice in her name, destroyed with breath in a great public showing, the more blatant the better. Not only does this sacrifice serve as repayment to Tiamat (for it is believed that all such treasure destroyed manifests itself in her realm), but it serves as a show of wealth to others in the area, that the dragon in question literally has money to burn. Draconic clerics are also expected to serve as emissaries both to and from Tiamat, acting to fend off the actions of would-be dragon slayers, seek out threats to the chromatics, make war against whatever metallics may be nearby, sending missives to her children as needed for their success, and taking note of requests they may have of her. It is considered presumptive even amongst dragonkind for a chromatic to pray to Tiamat directly; instead, any such prayers must be offered to a priest of her faith, who then passes them along to the Queen (most often for a reasonable fee).
A slight few with the desire to serve her by whatever means possible, but without the intelligence of guile to progress her schemes, are brought into her fold as her unholy ravagers. Following the route of Mordukhavar, they do nothing but destroy in her name. No subtlety, no trickery, nothing but the full power of a dragon set against a target, rendering it to nothing.
Outside the chromatics, the majority of Tiamat's faith consists of kobolds and dragonkin, but include significant numbers of lizardfolk, tieflings, and humans as well; such clerics are commonly known as "wyrmlairds". While the reptilians are somewhat respected, if less so than true dragons, other faithful are hardly regarded at all. Most accept this, in fact seeing themselves as naturally inferior to dragons and those descended from them, and act in her name to seek redemption for their race and a place in her court. They must ritualistically debase themselves before any ceremony to reaffirm their lesser status, and before they may even speak with a chromatic, they must appropriately perform the Ritual of Respect in her name.
The duties of the wyrmlairds of Tiamat are twofold: expand their hoard, just as for dragons, and sabotage the workings of rival faiths and entities. (Rival being defined as "any which might get in your way", but with special focus on those with a misguided focus on justice, righteousness, or other concepts appealing to Bahamut and thus anathema to Tiamat.) Even more so than chromatics, though, all that wyrmlairds achieve is intended to be nothing but a presentation of Tiamat's greatness. All success is by her wish, while all failure is an insult to her name. It is by bending the structures of others to her will that she will achieve domination over the lands of the Prime, and from there, end the Dragonfell War once and for all with the death of Bahamut and the extermination of the metallics. Occasionally, a wyrmlaird will be called by her as a prophet, and given some especially significant goal towards her end; for example, Ochir Naal of Toril, who came near to summoning Tiamat bodily to the Prime some 1400 years ago.
Wyrmlairds, usually lacking breath, are less able to tithe as do their draconic equivalents, but they are still required to present an offering of some level each month, offering it in cupped hands alongside a ritual of supplication before burying, sealing, or destroying it; the size of the tithe required varies, but it must be of an amount significant to the person offering.
Wyrmlairds most often dress in a manner allowing them to at the least resemble a chromatic, and thus grow closer to their goddess. Most preferred are suits of metallic hide dyed in the colors of the chromatics, representing the eventual dominance of hue over sheen, but dyed leathers of any sort are acceptable. Diaphanous, wing-like cloaks are common, as are clawed gauntlets, and many private rituals include a full mask (preferably gem-encrusted) so as to hide their disappointing visage from her view.
"Work tirelessly toward the day when Tiamat will banish the gods and unite the Prime under her rule. Toward this goal, follow her commands unquestioningly and be willing to sacrifice yourself in her service. To overthrow the gods requires power, and power is acquired through the accumulation of wealth and magic. Power demands respect. Chromatic dragons everywhere are to be venerated as the spawn of the Dragon Queen and paid homage. When Tiamat assumes her throne, her draconic children shall serve her as dukes, and her clergy as their mortal vassals."
- Draconomicon, pgs.35-36,97
- Dragon #38 - Rearranging and redefining the mighty dragon, pp.41-42
- Dragon #75 - The Nine Hells: Part I, pp.18-21
- Dragon #86 - Dragons and their deities: The lowdown on how and why they worship, pp.36-37
- Dragon #134 - Lords & Legends, pg.29
- Dragon #213 - Series Magic, pp.96-97
- Dragon #260 - Spawn of Tiamat, Children of Bahamut, pp.48-51
- Dragon #332 - Ecology of the Kobold, pg.59
- Dragon #359 - 1d20 Villains, pg.68
- Faiths and Pantheons, pg.108
- Fiendish Codex II: Tyrants of the Nine Hells, pgs.39,108-112
- Monster Manual II (1983), pp.44-45
- Monster Manual IV, pg.128
- Monster Mythology, pg.107
- On Hallowed Ground, pgs.65,137
- Powers and Pantheons, pp.133-137
- Races of the Dragon, pg.16
- Supplement I: Greyhawk, pg.37
- The Throne of Bloodstone, pp.80-81