Gargauth

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Gargauth
Game background
Title(s) The Tenth Lord of Nine
The Lost Lord of the Pit
The Hidden Lord
Home plane Material Plane
Power level Demipower/Archdevil
Alignment Lawful Evil
Portfolio Betrayal, cruelty, political corruption, powerbrokers
Design details

Gargauth is a fictional Faerûnian demipower deity in the Forgotten Realms campaign setting for the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy roleplaying game. He is the deity of betrayal, cruelty, political corruption and powerbrokers.

Publication history[edit]

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st edition (1977-1988)[edit]

Gargauth first appeared in 1984 in Dragon #91 (as "Gargoth") in an article written by Ed Greenwood.[1] The description given shows many similarities to that of Astaroth, a devil described in an article by Alexander von Thorn in Dragon #28[2] (Greenwood states in the same article that this name is sometimes mistakenly applied to Gargoth).

Gargauth later officially appeared in the Forgotten Realms campaign setting, mentioned in the Forgotten Realms Campaign Set's "Cyclopedia of the Realms" booklet (1987) as a "Loosed Devil" walking the realms in person.[3]

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition (1989-1999)[edit]

Gargauth was described fully in Powers & Pantheons (1997),[4] and his relationships with the nonhuman deities in the Forgotten Realms was covered in Demihuman Deities (1998).[5]

Dungeons & Dragons 3rd edition (2000-2007)[edit]

Gargauth appears in 3rd edition in the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting book (2001),[6] and was further described in Faiths and Pantheons (2002).[7]

Overview[edit]

Gargauth embodies the inevitable decay and corruption that accompanies all self-serving, greedy, and power-hungry leaders and groups. Gargauth's malevolence and cruelty are made all the worse by the veneer of civility and compassion he wears when first encountered. Gargauth holds to the letter of any agreement, not the spirit, and relishes betraying anyone with whom he forges a pact by twisting the contract to serve his own ends. Gargauth is a master strategist, and his sense of humor moderates his temper. He can be erudite, charming, and genteel, but his true nature always reveals itself eventually. In truth, the Lord Who Watches is utterly depraved, the incarnation of evil most foul[who?].

Church[edit]

The church of Gargauth is a secretive faith, although there are some significant exceptions. Clerics work to increase their personal power, the power of the church, and by extension, the power of Gargauth. Clerics are expected to be Gargauth's eyes and ears throughout Faerun. They are to entice and corrupt powerful individuals and leaders in communities throughout Faerun and bind them into strict contracts favorable to Gargauth's goals. They seek to seize positions of power whenever possible and integrate their positions into the secretive hierarchy of the faith. Gargauth has directed his followers to undermine other evil faiths and steal their worshipers rather than waste energy in conflicts with good deities.

Clerics[edit]

Clerics of Gargauth pray for their spells at dusk, when night first begins to corrupt the day. The church of Gargauth celebrates two holy days. The Unveiling occurs each Midwinter night. This horrific ceremony, believed to involve many gruesome sacrifices, heralds the imminent time when Gargauth shall seize Faerun as his unholy kingdom and transport it to Baator to form the Tenth Pit of Hell[who?]. The Binding is celebrated on the eve of the Feast of the Moon. It is a personal ritual in which each cleric renews his eternal contract with Gargauth, trading absolute fealty for increased power. This unholy ritual is believed to involve personal sacrifices of money, magic, and hoarded knowledge and the casting of many horrific spells[who?]. Gargauth's clergy mark all agreements with signed contracts consecrated in the name of the Lord Who Watches. Many clerics multiclass as divine disciples or sorcerers[vague].

History / Relationships[edit]

Gargauth is a former arch-devil whose foul nature was too much even for others of his ilk. Exiled from the Nine Hells, Gargauth took to wandering the planes, returning time and again to Toril. His cult blossomed during the war between the Harpers and the malaugrym. In addition to the Dark Deities, Gargauth is also opposed to evil deities such as Cyric and Shar. He poses a particular threat to Siamorphe, given his interest in corrupting those who she holds up as shining paragons of virtue[original research?].

Gargauth sometimes employs a powerful blue dragon named Rathguul as a steed[citation needed].

Dogma[edit]

Life is all based about the accumulation of power. Civilization is a thin veneer over the base desires that make up the core of every living being. Those who wish to survive and prosper must recognize this truth and concentrate all their resources on the pursuit of power. High moral principles are complete hypocrisy. All beings act in their own self-interest at all times; some just prefer to cloak their actions in sanctimonious philosophies. To achieve power one should use one's charms and honeyed words or a barbed and bloody dagger as appropriate for the situation. When in doubt, the ruthless excerise of power is the safest route to the further accumulation of power and the maintenance of one's position. It is more important to rule than to sit on the throne; often the being behind the king has the true power. All beings are regimented in a strict hierarchy governed by the politics of power. Those who try to avoid the rules of the game are destined for powerlessness, to be cast in the dust of history and ground beneath the heels of the powerful, but be prepared to twist any contract or stricture so as to maximize the benefit you receive.

Day-to-day activities[edit]

The clergy of Gargauth tend to keep their faith secret, although there are significant exceptions. Priests work to increase their personal power, the power of the church, and, by extension, the power of Gargauth. Priests of the Lord Who Watches are expected to be Gargauth's eyes and ears throughout the realm. They are to entice and corrupt powerful individuals and leaders in communities throughout Faerun and bind them into strict contracts favorable to Gargauth's goals. Gargauth's clergy seek to seize positions of power for themselves whenever possible and integrate their positions into the secretive hierarchy of the faith. Gargauth has decreed that for the time being his priests should work to undermine rival groups to gain more likeminded converts to Gargauth's church before attacking diametrically opposed factions.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Greenwood, Ed. "The Nine Hells Revisited." Dragon #91 (TSR, 1984)
  2. ^ Von Thorn, Alexander. "The Politics of Hell." Dragon #28 (TSR, 1979)
  3. ^ Ed Greenwood, Jeff Grubb and Karen S. Martin (1987). Forgotten Realms Campaign Set. Wizard of the Coast. ISBN 0-88038-472-7. 
  4. ^ Boyd, Eric L. Powers & Pantheons (TSR, 1997)
  5. ^ Boyd, Eric L. Demihuman Deities (TSR, 1998)
  6. ^ Greenwood, Ed; Reynolds, Sean K.; Williams, Skip (2001). Forgotten Realms: Campaign Setting. Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5. 
  7. ^ Boyd, Eric L., and Erik Mona. Faiths and Pantheons (Wizards of the Coast, 2002).