Mask (Forgotten Realms)

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Mask
Game background
Title(s) Master of All Thieves
Lord of Shadows
Home plane 2E: Shadow Keep (Gray Waste)
3E: Shadow Keep, Plane of Shadow
Power level Intermediate
Alignment Neutral Evil
Portfolio Thieves, thievery, shadows
Design details

Mask (/ˈmɑːsk/ MAHSK)[1] is a fictional deity from the Dungeons & Dragons Forgotten Realms campaign setting. His portfolio (areas of concern) includes Shadows and thievery. Mask is a Neutral Evil Intermediate Power whose symbol is a black velvet mask tinged with red. His divine realm is Shadow Keep in the Plane of Shadow, and his Third Edition Dungeons & Dragons domains are Darkness, Evil, Luck, and Trickery.[2]

Publication history[edit]

Ed Greenwood created Mask for his home Dungeons & Dragons game, a rewritten version of the Greek deity Hermes found in the original Deities & Demigods book, stripped of justice and caduceus.[3]

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

Mask first appeared within Dungeons & Dragons as one of the deities featured in Ed Greenwood's article "Down-to-earth Divinity" in Dragon #54 (October 1981). Mask is introduced as the Lord of Shadows, god of thieves and intrigue, a neutral evil lesser god from the plane of Hades. Mask is commonly worshipped by thieves of any evil alignment, as well as neutral evil magic-users, assassins, and clerics.[3]

Mask later officially appeared as one of the major deities for the Forgotten Realms campaign setting, in the Forgotten Realms Campaign Set's "Cyclopedia of the Realms" booklet (1987).[1]

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

Mask was described in the hardback Forgotten Realms Adventures (1990),[4] the revised Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting (1993) in the "Running the Realms" booklet,[5] and Faiths & Avatars (1996).[6] His clergy was further detailed in Warriors and Priests of the Realms (1996),[7] and Prayers from the Faithful (1997).[8]

His role in the cosmology of the Planescape campaign setting was described in On Hallowed Ground (1996).[9]

His relationships with the nonhuman deities in the Forgotten Realms was covered in Demihuman Deities (1998).[10]

Dungeons & Dragons 3.0 edition (2000–2002)[edit]

Mask appears as one of the major deities of the Forgotten Realms setting again, in Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting (2001),[11] and is further detailed in Faiths and Pantheons (2002).[2]

Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 edition (2003–2007)[edit]

Mask appears in The Twilight War trilogy by Paul S. Kemp.

History[edit]

During the Time of Troubles, Mask—as the sword Godsbane—was caught up in the plots of Cyric and was used to help kill Bhaal. He was stripped of his portfolio element of intrigue by the upstart Mad God when he was tricked into reading the Cyrinishad, a powerful artifact created by Cyric. For the loss of intrigue to his portfolio, Mask harbors a burning hatred for Cyric. The First of the Five Chosen of Mask, Erevis Cale, indirectly aided his god in one of the greatest thefts of all time. One of the Twin Towers of the Eternal Eclipse was stolen by Mask and placed on the Wayrock, far in the Inner Sea. The Second of Five, Drasek Riven, cares for the Temple on the Wayrock and awaits the call of the Shadowlord.[2]:46

In 1374 DR Mask relinquished his divinity and his life over to Shar to repay a millennia-old debt to the goddess, who was revealed to be his "mother" as well as the person he served as a herald. Just before his death, Shar reveals Mask's true name as Lessinor, though its origin (either as a mortal name or birth name) is not explained. A portion of Mask's divinity—the portion stolen by Kesson Rel—was absorbed in equal portions by Erevis Cale, Drasek Riven, and Prince Rivalen of the Shade enclave. Erevis then sacrificed himself to Mephistopheles, the archdevil Lord of Cania, in payment for releasing the half of the soul of Magadon that he ate; Mephistopheles in turn absorbed the portion of Mask's divinity held by Cale.[12]

Followers[edit]

Within the mythos of Forgotten Realms, it is rumored that the Cult of Mask maintains a large network of informants throughout the cities of the realm. It is also rumored that this network provides employment for all sorts of thieves, beggars and thugs. Priests of Mask refer to each other as Sister/Brother Shadow. In 2nd Edition, the specialty Priests are known as Demarchs/Demarchesses. Those rogues that are worshipers but not part of the actual Church are known as the Order of the Grey Ribbon.

Relationships[edit]

Mask himself doesn't tend to make enemies (excepting Cyric); however, it is his nature to oppose Waukeen and Helm, and he has earned the enmity of Shar, Deneir, Oghma, Torm, Tyr, Selûne, and—worst of all—the entity known as Kezef the Chaos Hound, who pursued the Lord of Shadows a decade after the Time of Troubles, but whom Mask managed to get off his trail by acquiring a magic sword called Houndsbane, a gift from the Goddess Mystra after the end of the time of troubles. Near the end of the book "Shadowrealm" Mask is revealed to be a herald of Shar, and in actuality, her own son. At birth, he had stolen some of Shar's divinity, which is how he became a god in the first place. At the end of the book, Mask willingly lets Shar, his own mother, kill him to regain her stolen piece of divinity.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Ed Greenwood, Jeff Grubb and Karen S. Martin (1987). Forgotten Realms Campaign Set. Wizard of the Coast. ISBN 0-88038-472-7. 
  2. ^ a b c Eric L. Boyd and Erik Mona (2002). Faiths and Pantheons. Wizard of the Coast. ISBN 0-7869-2759-3. 
  3. ^ a b Ed Greenwood, Dragon magazine #54 - "Down-to-earth divinity" (October 1981)
  4. ^ Grubb, Jeff and Ed Greenwood. Forgotten Realms Adventures (TSR, 1990)
  5. ^ Ed Greenwood (1993). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting. ASIN B000K06S2E. 
  6. ^ Martin, Julia, and Eric L Boyd. Faiths & Avatars (TSR, 1996)
  7. ^ Terra, John. Warriors and Priests of the Realms (TSR, 1996)
  8. ^ Greenwood, Ed and Stewart, Doug. Prayers from the Faithful (TSR, 1997)
  9. ^ McComb, Colin. On Hallowed Ground (TSR, 1996)
  10. ^ Boyd, Eric L. Demihuman Deities (TSR, 1998)
  11. ^ Ed Greenwood et al. (2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting. Wizard of the Coast. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5. 
  12. ^ Kemp, Paul S. The Twilight War (trilogy). Wizards of the Coast.