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Gary Dallison
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5279 Posts

Posted - 25 Sep 2020 :  09:21:05  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
After doing the Church of Myrkul i thought id move on to the cult of Bhaal.

First, i'm not going to make it a single unified cult, but rather a number of separate cults that all have their own heirarchies and organisation. This decision is largely because i have seen no evidence of an organised church, instead it is individuals and small groups. Secondly is because i can see no reason why anyone would allow to exist such a large group of people dedicated purely to murdering others in the most violent ways.

Found a few interesting quotes, first was Marchosias the King of Killers, who is now a vestige, but was presumably the most accomplished death bringer in the realms (from a web article on Binders).

The one i like most of all is about a mummy in the 2e Lords of Darkness accessory. Rethekan, the Avenger of Bhaal, who has a set of golden eyes named after him.

There is little to no lore about Rethekan, beyond being called avenger of Bhaal, and the golden eyes of Rethekan, so plenty of room to make stuff up.

First is a location. The practice of mummification is not widespread and usually associated with the egyptian / arabian analogues in the realms. Bhaal's cult is not particularly active in the Old Empires, and Bhaal has never been there to my knowledge so i was going to place Rethekan in Calimshan / Tethyr, the name Rethekan sounds a bit like some of the Tethyrian / Calishite dynasty entries and i can find several mummies existing in Calimshan.

I was thinking of making Rethekan more historic than modern, probably Shoon or pre Shoon era (thats when the cults of Bhaal, Bane, and Myrkul seem to have been most active in the region).

And then there is the reference to "golden eyes", i'm going to go with the slightly grim idea that these are Rethekan's actual eyes, removed from his body, preserved, and enchanted to become some kind of sacred relic to the cultists of Bhaal.

Golden eyes are slightly unusual, and i found only one other instance of golden eyes, in princess Cyriana Rhindaun of Tethyr. Curiously Lands of Intrigue shows that the clergies of Cyric / Bane / Xvim have predictions or prophecies that their downfall / doom will be caused by a child with gold eyes.


Soooo, Cyriana's eyes i'm guessing are seen as a blessing from Siamorphe, which may hint at a divine connection. What if Bhaal and the whole Bhaalspawn thing is not a recent idea. I find it hard to believe Bhaal remained celibate during his lifetime, and probably fathered several children. If those children had golden eyes, and if Bhaal had golden eyes then Rethekan could have been one of his children.

Then there is the idea that Bane's church is worried about a child with golden eyes. What if the followers of Bane betrayed the followers of Bhaal at some point, and Rethekan may have been the one betrayed and the instrument of that vengeance (hence the title Avenger of Bhaal).

Might be an interesting trait for Bhaalspawn to have golden eyes, and indeed any semi divine being to have golden eyes of some kind. I dont think Princess Cyriana Rhindaun is a bhaalspawn, because Bhaal was made semi divine after taking part in a ritual with Jergal and a number of other beings, who also became semi divine, plus there are many other semi divine beings around at various points in history.


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Edited by - Gary Dallison on 25 Sep 2020 09:42:55

Gary Dallison
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Posted - 27 Sep 2020 :  21:09:49  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
So i came across mention of the original shadow thieves being established in Waterdeep by worshippers of Bhaal and it set off an interesting search.

Empire of the Sands establishes Deepshadow as the leader of the Shadow Thieves guild, his name unknown and he's a thief based out of Amn and the Shadowhouse, although he is rarely seen.

Then Cloak and Dagger establishes that the Shadow Thieves were founded by 5 members, one of whom is Carzakh "Deepshadow" Halandir. He is the only founding member to survive Lhestyn Arunsun's infiltration of the Shadow Thieves, he flees south and re-establishes the Shadow Thieves in Amn, reforming it to have more wizrds and priests. It expands into Tethyr during the troubles in Tethyr from 1347 DR, and from there into calimshan (presumably taking control of all illicit activities in 1357 DR in the aftermath of Pasha Pook's death.

Now City of Splendors 3e says that Marune helped found the Shadow Thieves. Helping to found it implies that he was one of the founders.

Now curiously the Shadow Thieves controls at least half the organised crime of the sword coast in 1341 DR, and in 1342 DR Marune chooses to sell his holdings in Luskan and Mirabar and retreat into isolation in the Sword Mountains.

The Shadow Thieves are reorganised to be run by a Shade Council of 3 mages who presumably report to Deepshadow who is rarely seen and nobody knows his name.

What if Marune is Deepshadow, and he Carzakh Harandil was just a fake identity (i dont know what Andrathath's Mask does but i'm guessing it allows for disguises).

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Mrestos Khorvaen
Seeker

Spain
48 Posts

Posted - 29 Sep 2020 :  13:36:45  Show Profile Send Mrestos Khorvaen a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I've always thought Bhaal cult is more a bunch of independent cells, without mutual connections, each one lead by a charismatic leader.
All your ideas sounds nice. If you can give some stats for dnd5e I could give it a playtesting with my group.
One question: Bhaal (and the Assassin player class) were killed during Time of Troubles. The return of the Assassin in the third edition and the fact it's not a prestige class, but a simply speciality class... Does it mean the Lord of Murder is a great power now, expanding its base of followers?
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Gary Dallison
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United Kingdom
5279 Posts

Posted - 29 Sep 2020 :  13:50:12  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well I'm strictly pre spell plague, but the death of all bhaal worshippers in ToT has caused many problems. It was later retconned to be all his assassins, and then only a few assassins.

I find the whole concept of Myrkul just being able to snap his fingers and kill a thousand assassins to be hokey at best and completely unworkable in the theme of the realms at worst.

My personal view is that Myrkul's followers had been gathering the true names of Bhaal's assassins for a while, and used that to steal their souls in a series of assassinations across large areas of the realms.

Anything after the spellplague I just dont know enough about unfortunately.

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Gary Dallison
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United Kingdom
5279 Posts

Posted - 29 Sep 2020 :  20:08:43  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
So, i've got many different names for various titles in various sourcebooks; Deathbringers, Deathstalkers, Night Blade, Reaper, Death's Head, Primate, High Primate, First Murder, Cowled Death, Deathdealers.

I'm happy that any of them can be used for a variety of cult cells without any rigid structure.

The one thing that does bother me is Thay. It would appear that Thay does have temples to Bhaal, and they are present in almost every city in Thay. So did the cult in Thay evolve into a true church because their worship was openly allowed. In which case the High Primate, Primate, First Murder, Cowled Death structure from Faiths and Avatars seems applicable only to that church.


The Brethren of the Keen Strike is another curiosity, a secret order of super assassins that roams Faerun perhaps and is called upon to kill those that beat the assassins. Or is it perhaps based in one of the existing cells of Bhaal.


Known Bhaalite cells are the Shadow Thieves (pre ToT), Brethren of the keen Strike, the church in Thay and the Citadel of Assassins (perhaps the brethren is part of the Citadel of Assassins).

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Mrestos Khorvaen
Seeker

Spain
48 Posts

Posted - 29 Sep 2020 :  21:49:19  Show Profile Send Mrestos Khorvaen a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Perhaps Myrkul had helped these assassins in some moment and still had some power over them.

Maybe the temples of Bhaal in Thay work like official torture and execution centers, or each city has a different type of cult. Every church in each city can be independent.
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ElfBane
Learned Scribe

USA
159 Posts

Posted - 29 Sep 2020 :  23:20:43  Show Profile Send ElfBane a Private Message  Reply with Quote
It should be "cults of Bhaal" IMO. If Bhaal is not dead, but not communicating with his followers, then "cults" can arise around charismatic leaders. and not necessarily just one, but many leaders. But they best be wary if Bhaal IS watching, because he will want his Divine Due, and if he's not getting his DD, he WILL be pissed.
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AJA
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USA
535 Posts

Posted - 29 Sep 2020 :  23:37:39  Show Profile Send AJA a Private Message  Reply with Quote
From his Twitter, Ed would seem to agree about the temple thing (although that may be a thing only in "goodly governed cities and realms"), and also a bit more info;
quote:
Originally posted by @TheEdVerse
BHAALISTS tend to operate “undercover,” having a daytime identity (often a shopkeeper or delivery carter in a large city), with a private cellar (or sometimes attic or city catacombs) shrine where they pray to the god before and after a murder expedition. (So, no public temples! A few remote monasteries, yes, but temples, no.) Few neighbours or city authorities will know a priest of the Lord of Murder is a cleric of Bhaal. The Bhaalist/Bhaalyn observes unfolding life in the city and picks targets to be murdered, often troublemakers, individuals rising in power or wealth, or even clergy of rival deities. Then, in the darkest dead of night, at least once a tenday, properly clad as a Bhaalist, they murder their target, and “take home” some token or trophy (from a finger or heart of their victim, to personal jewelry), plus wealth from the victim if available. The token or trophy is offered to Bhaal on a simple altar anointed with the Bhaalist’s own blood, with prayers, and the wealth used by the Bhaalist to fund their ongoing life and continue their holy work.

Wooly has the full tweet in the Ed Greenwood on Twitter thread (one of the 05 Oct 2019 posts).


AJA
YAFRP

Edited by - AJA on 29 Sep 2020 23:41:23
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Gary Dallison
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United Kingdom
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Posted - 30 Sep 2020 :  10:45:48  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Good to know i'm on the right track, i hadnt gathered the info from Twitter yet (a single pdf would be helpful).

In my view if you have a number of cult cells in a concentrated area then they would naturally start to conflict with one another and that conflict would lead to attempts to eliminate or control their rivals.

For example if you had too many Bhaalyn cult cells in Thay they could begin to murder to many people and draw attention to themselves and that could incur the ire of the authorities and so they would need to limit the activities of their rivals by killing them or taking over that cult.

Now in Thay its slightly different because the Cult of Bhaal appears to be allowed to operate and thus would not incur the wrath of the authorities unless they broke the law (which roughly means dont kill Red Wizards or their slaves). However, due to the fractious nature of Thayan elite society it is highly probable that some Red Wizards might use the Cult of Bhaal to eliminate their rivals.

A single unifying church that controls and oversees all these activities would be easier to deal with from a government point of view. It would ensure that certain targets are off limits (Zulkirs, certain Tharchions, etc), and allow Red Wizards to control the assassinations more easily.

If it were individual cells in each city then each cell would most likely come under the control of the most powerful Red Wizard (and therefore his Zulkir master) in the nearby area. This would result in a turf war between the cells of Bhaal as they were ordered to murder their rivals in a tit for tat manner. Since that doesnt appear to happen i'm more inclined it is a single and powerful church that can resist the commands of an individual Zulkir because it has the respect and influence of every Zulkir.





As for individual cults or a single cult. I have a particular view about it. Bhaal established a variety of cult cells all over Netheril, Jhaamdath, and Calimshan during his lifetime (in my version anyway). These cults of personality were the forebears of the Cult of the Deathbringer.
The reason i am making them a single cult but with many cells spread across the continent is because all of these cults follow the same ethos based upon Bhaals words and actions during his lifetime that were documented by his followers and became the dogma that they follow.
Because Bhaal behaved the same way in each region (an assassin for hire that often targetted the most powerful individuals in the land) then each cult cell behaves in such a similar manner that members can move freely from one cell to another.
This system is not an organised Church because there is no formal hierarchy and no ruling leader of all the cult cells across Faerun. Each cell has its own little quirks of hierarchy and activity and they all follow their own "Primate" or whatever the high priest is called and he obeys only himself.

When an assassin moves from one area to another, he can quite quickly locate the nearby cell and join it, knowing that his beliefs closely match those of the new cell.

Plus its easier for me to document all the cells of Bhaal if they are all part of the same cult.

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ElfBane
Learned Scribe

USA
159 Posts

Posted - 30 Sep 2020 :  11:49:30  Show Profile Send ElfBane a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Dontcha think Bhaal cults would start preying on each other? I can easily see one cult leader claiming that a rival cult "isn't Bhaal enough".
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Gary Dallison
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United Kingdom
5279 Posts

Posted - 30 Sep 2020 :  12:06:46  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I imagine that would happen an awful lot. It's probably how Thay ended up with the beginnings of an organised church. Two cults in the same settlement or nearby settlements start a conflict with each other. Eventually one achieves supremacy and gains the power and resources to predate upon other nearby cult cells until it controls all the cells in a region.

That is probably prevented from happening in many regions because large groups of murderers draw attention and because major population centres are very far apart. But in Thay they are near enough and the entire nation itself is happy enough to have these cults exist and more than a few Red Wizards probably tried to use individual cells to gain power and conquer rivals.

I have read in Ed's replies at the keep that duelling is allowed in Bhaals cult so that implies that inter member and inter cult strife is endorsed and probably common place given the nature of that worship (murder is good).

It wouldn't surprise me if murdering your superior was the most common means of advancement in the cult.

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Demzer
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750 Posts

Posted - 30 Sep 2020 :  16:16:56  Show Profile Send Demzer a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I completely agree that the overall structure of the Church of Bhaal is cellular, with no main headquarters or recognised Fearun-wide head/chief. I also agree that the dogma is quite simple and not lending itself to any big misinterpretation as to make transitions between one cell in a city to another cell in another city quite seamless given some background knowledge of the faith and/or the criminal elements.

I don't agree with assuming a lot of internal strife within the individual cells or inter-cell strife because of the following. While Banites might crave personal power and to be the leader in charge and Malarites might want to assert dominance to be the Alpha, Bhaalists don't care about such things, they want to murder people. And if they kill each other, they can't kill other people.
While occasionally individuals might want to be "the boss" because that's human nature, the adherents of the faith are not as power-hungry as in other churches and the structure of the church itself probably has very rigid and ritualised ways to deal with internal strife (duels, assassination competitions, something like that) to prevent useless infighting from depleting the strenght of the faithful.

Regarding the issue with Myrkul killing off Bhaal's follower in the ToT, if we really want to venture into trying to explain that (not sure it's worth it), my personal inclination is based on the fact that of the Trio, Bhaal was the more down-to-earth one and the one that trusted his companions the most, he was the most loyal (probably the most human, at least towards them). So when s**t started hitting the fan, power-hungry Bane and detached Myrkul did something to Bhaal (either to his divinity, to the common channel they used to achieve godhood, to some artifact of his in their caring, whatever) that siphoned off his power and to stay alive he had to drain the lifeforce of his assassins.

Bhaal clearly was in it from the start just for s**t and giggles, he was in it for to have a good time with his best buddies, it's just that his fun was bloodbath.
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Gary Dallison
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Posted - 30 Sep 2020 :  17:40:41  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Maybe not a lot of internal strife but definitely enough to make murder a promotion method.

Bhaalyn believe they should murder every day if possible, and they try to do it at least every tenday. So these are not normal people like you and me, they are psychopaths and thoroughly evil.

Furthermore they are operating outside the law in most societies and so are not constrained in their natural impulses by the environment or by a fear of the authorities who likely would not find out or care if two lunatic criminals killed each other in the sewers.

In short they are naturally evil, pre disposed to murder, encouraged to murder by their colleagues, and unconstrained by society because they are already operating outside the law.

It's difficult to relate to in modern society because the majority of nations are law abiding.

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Demzer
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750 Posts

Posted - 01 Oct 2020 :  08:25:38  Show Profile Send Demzer a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Gary Dallison

Maybe not a lot of internal strife but definitely enough to make murder a promotion method.

Bhaalyn believe they should murder every day if possible, and they try to do it at least every tenday. So these are not normal people like you and me, they are psychopaths and thoroughly evil.

Furthermore they are operating outside the law in most societies and so are not constrained in their natural impulses by the environment or by a fear of the authorities who likely would not find out or care if two lunatic criminals killed each other in the sewers.

In short they are naturally evil, pre disposed to murder, encouraged to murder by their colleagues, and unconstrained by society because they are already operating outside the law.

It's difficult to relate to in modern society because the majority of nations are law abiding.



Yes but people should stop equating evil to stupid and senseless.

Murdering for promotions might happen but promotion is mostly meaningless in the Bhaalyn view as it doesn't make them better at killing, more killing makes them better at killing.

Also for Bhaal it's not like every death counts, only deaths ritually dedicated to him by his faithful count. So if the faithful waste time and their lives killing each other then they are not feeding His thirst and they are failing in their divine commitment.

In short, Bhaalyns can and do kill each other but they don't spend the inordinate amount of time other evil faiths do on this topic because it is not advancing the faith or their divine mandate in any meaningful way (unless the head of a cell has "gone soft" or more mundane/political reasons crop up).

Otherwise every evil cult and their dog is the same old stupid insipid senseless story of endless betrayals but with a different badge. Don't do this to Bhaal, don't stop the flow of blood with useless waste of resources.
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Gary Dallison
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Posted - 01 Oct 2020 :  08:42:41  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Very true, I'm not envisaging an endless stream of murders just because they can. In the dogma I'm adding the number one rule for murder - dont get caught. If murder is part of the natural order then it should go unpunished.

Murder as well as for dogmatic reasons is also for profit and personal gain. People join the cult to indulge their base desires (or to remove a rival and then they get blackmailed into membership and murder themselves), but also to gain wealth and power.

If you kill a superior then you or the cult must profit by it. So old assassins that are past their prime have to deal with more attempts on their life from their juniors.

If however someone kills a the primate and the cult loses income or is discovered then the murderer can expect lethal retribution.

You will of course get complete psychosis that cant control themselves, they remain low level members until they are caught. It's the hannibal lecter types that become primate and operate as high profile members of society while using the cult to advance their station.

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Gary Dallison
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5279 Posts

Posted - 02 Oct 2020 :  16:48:24  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Working through the bhaalspawn bit at the moment.

Found that sarevok was raised by Rieltar anchev, also known as Richtar the Red Man, an assassin from Sembia (making him likely a bhaal worshipper given his profession and association to sarevok).

Hi mentor was a guy known as win ski prerorate, who appears briefly at the end and dies. Winski educates him about the bhalspawn stuff. So what if winski was a primate of the cult of bhaal in baldurs gate.
He could even have kidnapped sarevok and other bhaalspawn and tried to sacrifice them to become a bhaalspawn himself (the Harpers foil that plan and rescue all the kids except sarevok who ends up on the streets if baldurs gate as a waif until an encounter with Rieltar who adopts him.

If it were me, I'd be inclined to have winski escape the Harpers with sarevok by teleporting to baldurs gate. He then sets sarevok with a poor woman to act as his mother (he pays her to look after him and keeps an eye on them). Then Rieltar comes to Baldurs Gate to establish the Iron Throne in Baldurs Gate in the 1350s and will ski engineers a meeting between sarevok and Rieltar (and perhaps a dream vision of the boy beforehand).

Rieltar adopts sarevok. Winski joins the iron throne and becomes sarevok mentor. The whole iron throne starting a war thing could have been winski's idea in the first place.

Only problem is sarevok becomes too powerful to control and takes the plan for his own.

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Gary Dallison
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Posted - 05 Oct 2020 :  08:51:52  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
So, what if the bhaalspawn weren't created in the 1300s by bhaal the god, what if they are all descended from tharlagaunt bale from when he was alive and siring many children.

The descendants carry an increased likelihood for latent abilities, and occasionally when the bloodlines cross the offspring are quite powerful.

Add into the mix people trying to steal the power of that bloodline and infuse it into themselves, and ancient rituals that draw on the power of the god into a mortal vessel to create a new bhaal infused bloodline.

So, no more need for bhaal to have foreseen the ToT when far more powerful divine beings could not. Also no more need for bhaal to appear in person and force himself on half a hundred women (who in their right minds would submit willingly).


Given the involvement of the silver shield family in the bhaalspawn saga, and Torlin silvershields big reveal as a chosen of bhaal, what if the silvershields are unknowing descendants of bhaal. Gives a better reason for sarevok targeting entar silvershield and his children.

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Demzer
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750 Posts

Posted - 05 Oct 2020 :  18:24:30  Show Profile Send Demzer a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Gary Dallison

So, what if the bhaalspawn weren't created in the 1300s by bhaal the god, what if they are all descended from tharlagaunt bale from when he was alive and siring many children.



While it might sound promising this is actually a mess of having that many bloodlines survive (without being diluted) for like 1300 years. It's much easier to let Bhaal the god do the dirty dancing.

quote:
Originally posted by Gary Dallison

The descendants carry an increased likelihood for latent abilities, and occasionally when the bloodlines cross the offspring are quite powerful.



Don't know how it was in the novels but in the games the fact that Abazigal had a kid or that the player/Abdel Adrian conceived a child were meaningless for the Bhaalspawn Battle Royal. It seemed really just the direct sons/daugther mattered. Also it's quite difficult to have that many bloodlines survive long enough while being diluted and then it's even more complicated to explain why the intermingling (which would have to be proved) of two of them produces exceptional individuals while the previous, less diluted generations didn't.

quote:
Originally posted by Gary Dallison

Add into the mix people trying to steal the power of that bloodline and infuse it into themselves, and ancient rituals that draw on the power of the god into a mortal vessel to create a new bhaal infused bloodline.



If it becomes widespread it just cheapens the achievement. It makes sense for a truly exceptional and driven individual like Jon Irenicus to devise a method to do that. It makes sense for the last and most powerful priestess of the faith to "take matters in her own hands" and subtly change a divine construct/conduit (while the original deity is dead) to empower herself. Having your run-of-the-mill wizard or cabal do that every X years only to justify the number of occurrences sounds bad.

quote:
Originally posted by Gary Dallison

So, no more need for bhaal to have foreseen the ToT when far more powerful divine beings could not. Also no more need for bhaal to appear in person and force himself on half a hundred women (who in their right minds would submit willingly).



Well you don't have to foresee much when you are the one doing the deed. Bane, Bhaal and Myrkul didn't foresee the ToT, they caused it. Being the guy who made killing not only an art but a religion is not unconceivable that Bhaal had a backup in case he died. Bane went for the same route but with quality over quantity (or so he thought), Bhaal went at it with big numbers and having as much fun as possible in the meantime.
Also I'm not sure where you get the "forcing himself" part, he wanted the women (of countless races as we get offsprings which are, at least, an half-dragon, an half-giant, an half-orc, dozens of humans, a full blooded drow, a full blooded elf, a full blooded halfling and I might be missing some) to carry on with the pregnancy and the best way would have been to not force himself and not appear to them as the ravager or even as a god at all. A lot of the kids didn't even know they were Bhaalspawn, this tells me he went at it the sly way. On the final point though, any of his fanatical worshipers and then quite some other individuals would submit willingly anyway, but that was not his point.

quote:
Originally posted by Gary Dallison

Given the involvement of the silver shield family in the bhaalspawn saga, and Torlin silvershields big reveal as a chosen of bhaal, what if the silvershields are unknowing descendants of bhaal. Gives a better reason for sarevok targeting entar silvershield and his children.



The Silvershields are never noted to be Bhaalspawns so I would see that as a stretch. Sarevok wanted secular power (getting the leadership of Baldur's Gate) and wanted to eliminate possible threats (other Bhaalspawns) on his way to engineering a huge bloodbath to reach apotheosis. The other Bhaalspawns down south wanted basically the same thing, some (ill)advised by Amelyssan who only wanted the Bhaalspawn to off each other so she could siphon the power only one time.

Edited by - Demzer on 05 Oct 2020 18:26:40
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Gary Dallison
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Posted - 07 Oct 2020 :  14:57:56  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
So, the friendly arm inn was once a castle which ended up In the hands of the cult of bhaal run by a priest called mericor. Then in 1346 DR Bentley Mirrorshade and I presume his adventuring companions kill Mericor and the cult and then kill Mericor again in undead form.

I was wondering if anyone has seen any more about this, like what undead Mericor turned into, I'm thinking I shall make it a poltergeist so he can keep coming back (otherwise there isn't interesting much going on at the Friendly Arm Inn).

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Gary Dallison
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Posted - 07 Oct 2020 :  19:27:59  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
So 1255 DR the Shadow Thieves is founded in Waterdeep, all 5 of the founders are followers of Bhaal.

1255 DR is the Crusade of Slaughter where cultists of Bhaal rampage east from Amn all the way to Westgate.

1254 DR is a rising of power in thieves guilds resulting in many assassinations

Presumably there was an explosion of thievery, assassination and lawlessness in Amn that led to thieves and assassins from Amn expanding their operations. The assassins go on a rampage to Westgate. Others of their kind move north to Waterdeep and found the Shadow Thieves.

So i looked a bit further back in Amnian history and in 1238 DR there was a trade war between various Amnian houses of rights to Zakhara between Ophal and Ulvax families, which precipitated other trade wars. I'm wondering if this caused a number of houses to abandon their holdings in Amn and move north to Waterdeep (which has noble links to Tethyr so why not Amn).

In 1248 DR in Waterdeep the guilds are formed and the merchant gentry are recognised so there is plenty of time for Amn trade war to cause noble houses to flee to Waterdeep and set up shop. They become recognised nobles in 1248 DR and in 1255 DR some of their members establish the Shadow Thieves.

Then when the Shadow Thieves are exiled from Waterdeep in 1298 DR they return home to Amn.

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Gary Dallison
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Posted - 08 Oct 2020 :  09:38:39  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
1186 DR must be the start of the thievery and assassination explosion. That is when the great trade routes are finished linking tethyr, baldurs gate, and waterdeep to amn (cant remember when the road to Westgate was finished).

Easier overland travel would mean more trade and freedom of movement and thus more crime.

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Demzer
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Posted - 08 Oct 2020 :  15:54:28  Show Profile Send Demzer a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Gary Dallison

So 1255 DR the Shadow Thieves is founded in Waterdeep, all 5 of the founders are followers of Bhaal.

1255 DR is the Crusade of Slaughter where cultists of Bhaal rampage east from Amn all the way to Westgate.

1254 DR is a rising of power in thieves guilds resulting in many assassinations

Presumably there was an explosion of thievery, assassination and lawlessness in Amn that led to thieves and assassins from Amn expanding their operations. The assassins go on a rampage to Westgate. Others of their kind move north to Waterdeep and found the Shadow Thieves.

So i looked a bit further back in Amnian history and in 1238 DR there was a trade war between various Amnian houses of rights to Zakhara between Ophal and Ulvax families, which precipitated other trade wars. I'm wondering if this caused a number of houses to abandon their holdings in Amn and move north to Waterdeep (which has noble links to Tethyr so why not Amn).

In 1248 DR in Waterdeep the guilds are formed and the merchant gentry are recognised so there is plenty of time for Amn trade war to cause noble houses to flee to Waterdeep and set up shop. They become recognised nobles in 1248 DR and in 1255 DR some of their members establish the Shadow Thieves.

Then when the Shadow Thieves are exiled from Waterdeep in 1298 DR they return home to Amn.



Agreed. Probably not whole houses left but surely big parts of houses, for example both House Zoar and House Gheldieg are still among the mercantile houses of Amn and if you look at the names of the two "Lords-Magister" who survive the Guildswar in Waterdeep in 1262 (curiously when the Shadow Thieves establish their cozy Citadel in Mount Waterdeep) then you find a Zoar and a Gildeggh who ... clearly have no relation to the families in Amn ... right?
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Gary Dallison
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Posted - 08 Oct 2020 :  16:15:10  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Excellent find Demzer, I was going to look through all the Waterdeep houses for Amnian ancestry but you saved me the trouble.

Zaor and Gildegh provide at least part of the name of two of the 5 founding members of the shadow thieves.

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LordofBones
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Posted - 09 Oct 2020 :  04:03:12  Show Profile Send LordofBones a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Demzer

quote:
Originally posted by Gary Dallison

Maybe not a lot of internal strife but definitely enough to make murder a promotion method.

Bhaalyn believe they should murder every day if possible, and they try to do it at least every tenday. So these are not normal people like you and me, they are psychopaths and thoroughly evil.

Furthermore they are operating outside the law in most societies and so are not constrained in their natural impulses by the environment or by a fear of the authorities who likely would not find out or care if two lunatic criminals killed each other in the sewers.

In short they are naturally evil, pre disposed to murder, encouraged to murder by their colleagues, and unconstrained by society because they are already operating outside the law.

It's difficult to relate to in modern society because the majority of nations are law abiding.



Yes but people should stop equating evil to stupid and senseless.

Murdering for promotions might happen but promotion is mostly meaningless in the Bhaalyn view as it doesn't make them better at killing, more killing makes them better at killing.

Also for Bhaal it's not like every death counts, only deaths ritually dedicated to him by his faithful count. So if the faithful waste time and their lives killing each other then they are not feeding His thirst and they are failing in their divine commitment.

In short, Bhaalyns can and do kill each other but they don't spend the inordinate amount of time other evil faiths do on this topic because it is not advancing the faith or their divine mandate in any meaningful way (unless the head of a cell has "gone soft" or more mundane/political reasons crop up).

Otherwise every evil cult and their dog is the same old stupid insipid senseless story of endless betrayals but with a different badge. Don't do this to Bhaal, don't stop the flow of blood with useless waste of resources.



This, pretty much.

Bhaalyn should treat death and murder as a business. Bhaalyn and Cyricists should have different methods and ethos; Bhaalyn are the professional contract killers and assassin guilds.

Think the Daggerfall-era Dark Brotherhood. Less loony death cult, more network of professional killers and hitmen with a divine guildmaster.
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George Krashos
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Posted - 09 Oct 2020 :  07:37:56  Show Profile Send George Krashos a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Yes, I think they consider murder as an art. Simply killing things isn’t .... right.

— George Krashos

"Because only we, contrary to the barbarians, never count the enemy in battle." -- Aeschylus
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cpthero2
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Posted - 23 Oct 2020 :  22:53:30  Show Profile  Visit cpthero2's Homepage Send cpthero2 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Master Krashos,

You are correct there. Here is the relevant quote:

quote:
Novices of Bhaal were charged as follows: “Make all folk fear Bhaal. Let your killings be especially elegant, or grisly, or seem easy so that those observing them are awed or terrified. Tell folk that gold proffered to the church can make the Lord of Murder overlook them for today.”


What I never took note of though, which was right above the quote I just made, was the requirements. I don't recollect reading it this way, but here it is:

quote:
Bhaalists were required to deal death once in every tenday during the darkest period at the heart of the night.


Damn! That is a lot of murderin'!

Best regards,



Higher Atlar
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