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John Daker
Seeker

USA
41 Posts

Posted - 18 Jul 2020 :  03:25:04  Show Profile Send John Daker a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
One of my players wants to play a character whose father is a Cult of the Dead Three member. She wants advice about a language proficiency for a language that her father would have spoken during rituals to Bhaal.

What should I tell her—Infernal? Abyssal?

Zeromaru X
Master of Realmslore

Colombia
1745 Posts

Posted - 18 Jul 2020 :  05:32:35  Show Profile Send Zeromaru X a Private Message  Reply with Quote
According to 4th edition, the language of the gods is the Supernal. Other than that, yeah, I guess Bhaal would know all those, and perhaps even Celestial.

https://forgottenrealms.fandom.com/wiki/Supernal

Long ago, in the distant past, they fell into decay. The philosopher’s path... The river of glory... Even the saints resting in the darkness rise up without response and block the way...
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Ayrik
Great Reader

Canada
7232 Posts

Posted - 18 Jul 2020 :  05:42:11  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Bhaal is (or was) worshipped by many peoples in many cultures across the Realms. They spoke many languages. As did their dead-language-speaking Bhaal-worshipping predecesors from ancient history.

Bhaal has been described in various editions as residing in Gehenna, the Throne of Blood (on Khalas, the first layer of Gehenna), the Barrens of Doom and Despair (a generic lower plane), and even the Fugue Plane (a demiplane attached to the Realms). The native inhabitants of all these places (except the Fugue, ahem) each speak their own languages.

Bhaal is Lawful Evil in every game edition (except 4E, which doesn't have LE anymore). The game editions which contain "Infernal" and "Abyssal" languages often describe Bhaal sharing his domain with Bane (Lawful Evil), Myrkul (Neutral Evil), and Jergal (Lawful Neutral). And Gehenna itself is traditionally located adjacent to the Nine Hells.
So it would seem logical for Bhaal to speak Infernal. Bhaal's unholy invocations (prayers, spells, rituals) would thus likely be based on Infernal.
Of course, Bhaal himself is a powerful and ancient deity (and, according to Planescape, a nasty antagonist in the Blood War), so he probably speaks basically every language which is used across the Lower Planes and the Realms. Indeed, as a god, he has the continuous passive ability to magically understand and speak any language he encounters.

In 1E, Bhaal was worshipped almost exclusively by assassin-classed characters (whether they wanted to or not). Assassins could be any Evil alignment (Lawful or not). They did not speak any special class language of their own, but they had the unique abiity to learn the "secret" Alignment Languages, Thieves' Cant, and Druidic Speech normally restricted to others.

In early-2E, Bhaal was killed (along with all the Bhaal-worshipping assassins of the world, when he consumed their essences). But by late-2E, underground Bhaal worship renewed in Zhentil Keep, some monasteries in Tethyr, Westgate, Mulmaster, Hillsfar, and possibly (probably) other isolated places. Worshippers of this era would speak their Common or other local languages.

[/Ayrik]

Edited by - Ayrik on 18 Jul 2020 05:56:56
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Copper Elven Vampire
Master of Realmslore

1078 Posts

Posted - 18 Jul 2020 :  05:46:20  Show Profile Send Copper Elven Vampire a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The deity would speak to you in whatever fashion it sees fit.

Language aside... The higher character/ creature knows already.

Pantheons know how to converse with their believers.
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Copper Elven Vampire
Master of Realmslore

1078 Posts

Posted - 18 Jul 2020 :  06:00:58  Show Profile Send Copper Elven Vampire a Private Message  Reply with Quote
well? I just can;t say.
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LordofBones
Master of Realmslore

1249 Posts

Posted - 18 Jul 2020 :  17:08:34  Show Profile Send LordofBones a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Bhaal, being a god of mercenaries, would probably not really require his adherents to know the languages of the Lower Planes. I imagine Bhaalyn worship to be somewhat informal, Myrkulyte worship to be formal, and Banite to be ritualistic.
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
33995 Posts

Posted - 18 Jul 2020 :  18:31:06  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I would expect that any deity could understand any language, and that only ones explicitly focused on language or knowledge would care what language their followers used. It's not the language that matters, it's the worship.

Now, I could see an argument for certain ancient rituals being conducted in the language they were originally done in, but that would be more of a tradition thing, more mortal belief than divine requirement.

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Icelander
Master of Realmslore

1861 Posts

Posted - 18 Jul 2020 :  19:08:22  Show Profile  Visit Icelander's Homepage Send Icelander a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Isn't organized religion on Toril almost always more mortal belief than divine requirement?

If it wasn't, then presumably you couldn't have the same god being known by more than one name in different regions, not to mention heresies and contradictory myths.

Judging from the sources, mortal belief seems to shape the faith of Realmsian deities, with the gods directly stepping in to tell their priests how things ought to be done only in the most exceptional cases.

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Lord Karsus
Great Reader

USA
3424 Posts

Posted - 19 Jul 2020 :  03:41:21  Show Profile Send Lord Karsus a Private Message  Reply with Quote
-I would recommend some kind of coded language that assassins might use. Not so much a language in and of itself but whatever their main language is with some Infernal seeded in there.

(A Tri-Partite Arcanist Who Has Forgotten More Than Most Will Ever Know)

Elves of Faerūn
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CorellonsDevout
Great Reader

USA
2534 Posts

Posted - 25 Jul 2020 :  20:50:02  Show Profile Send CorellonsDevout a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Icelander

Isn't organized religion on Toril almost always more mortal belief than divine requirement?

If it wasn't, then presumably you couldn't have the same god being known by more than one name in different regions, not to mention heresies and contradictory myths.

Judging from the sources, mortal belief seems to shape the faith of Realmsian deities, with the gods directly stepping in to tell their priests how things ought to be done only in the most exceptional cases.



Most Faerunians are polytheistic, anyway, worshiping a variety of deities throughout their lives. Clergy, paladins, and clerics of course have a defined patron, and you do have those who are devoted lay followers of a particular deity, but most Faerunians appeal to a variety of gods, though they usually end up leaning towards one deity above others as they go through life. Even those of a defined faith (say, a priest of Lathander) acknowledge the other deities.

So yes, I would say that "organized religion" isn't the same in the Realms as it would be in the real world, especially not in the monotheistic sense. Of course you have your temples and such, and priests do have rituals and things they follow (and the overall doctrine of a particular deity), and racial pantheons are most likely to be followed by their respective race (Seldarine by the elves, the dwarven pantheon by the dwarves, etc), but it wouldn't necessarily resemble "organized religion" in the way we think of it (YMMV). Depending on the deity, I would assume that those who do have a defined patron (clerics and priests) may know certain langauges like Infernal or Celestial.

Sweet water and light laughter

Edited by - CorellonsDevout on 25 Jul 2020 20:58:00
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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
9634 Posts

Posted - 25 Jul 2020 :  23:24:12  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Lord Karsus

-I would recommend some kind of coded language that assassins might use. Not so much a language in and of itself but whatever their main language is with some Infernal seeded in there.



There was thieve's cant for a long time.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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Baltas
Senior Scribe

Poland
775 Posts

Posted - 26 Jul 2020 :  21:42:43  Show Profile Send Baltas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Ayrik

Of course, Bhaal himself is a powerful and ancient deity (and, according to Planescape, a nasty antagonist in the Blood War), so he probably speaks basically every language which is used across the Lower Planes and the Realms. Indeed, as a god, he has the continuous passive ability to magically understand and speak any language he encounters.



Wait, were Bhaal was described as taking an active role in the Blood War? That sounds very interesting.
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