Vhaeraun, also called the Masked Lord, the Masked God of Night, The Shadow, and, less frequently, the Shadow Lord, the Masked Mage and the Lord of Shadow was the drow god of drow males, thievery, territory, shadow magic, spellfilchers, and evil activities on the surface, aimed to further drow goals, interests, and power there. Vhaeraun was the son of Araushnee and Corellon Larethian. He held the unique view among drow that males and females were equally valuable and was primarily prayed to by those drow males who sought a better life than slavery under Lolth's matriarchy and who opposed it.
DescriptionIt was thought that he never used armor, but he was seen wearing leather armor always wore a black (or purple) mask and a long cloak of the same hue. His eyes and/or hair could change color to reflect his emotions (red for anger, gold for triumph, blue for amusement, green for puzzlement and curiosity). His hair's default color was white with red highlight. When he appeared to Inthracis in 1373 DR, he was missing a hand, though at a later time, he was reported to be holding two weapons, one in each hand. A legend told among drow, to crush the idea of rebellion against the matriarchy, was that Vhaeraun wore his mask to hide scars inflicted by Lolth for his arrogance. A similar legend was one that told Vhaeraun to be mute because he lost his tongue to Lolth for questioning her. The Masked Lord was seen talking with his mouth though the veracity of the latter legend was unknown.
As an avatar, Vhaeraun appeared as a normal male drow, handsome with a slim, graceful, and toned physique. He could change his size as he wanted and appeared either with a height of 16 feet (4.9 meters) or six feet (1.8 meters). His body was surrounded by shadow that did not just randomly lighten and darken but his body seemingly disappeared when this shadow went over him. By allowing it to swallow him completely, Vhaeraun could conduct a rapid form of teleportation.
PersonalityVhaeraun was an arrogant (at times vain) god and shared the vindictive trait of all drow deities. His arrogance made him believe the drow to be above other races. He also urged every single drow to believe she or he was above other drow. His followers derived the idea of gender equality from this belief of his. He believed that all other races should be subjugated by the drow. While he was willing to use underhandedness to reach his goals, he didn't tolerate the same being used against him or his people. Despite these harsh traits, he was also willing to cooperate when it came to undermining and fighting his mother, Lolth, and tried to unite the other drow gods against her. Vhaeraun was actively involved in the lives of his followers. Tzirik Jaelre went so far as to describe him as a caring god. Vhaeraun was indeed one who didn't distance himself from the concerns of his followers and answered their pleas about fifteen percent of the time, even in the form of sending divine servants in cases of real need. He also seemed to be protective of his followers and was seen providing protection to those in his vicinity when he could and the means to avert self-sacrifice to those working for him. He and his followers shared a realistic understanding regarding his strength. He knew that he was too weak to fight his mother directly, so he worked against her in secretive ways, directed at increasing his and his people's power and decreasing that of his enemies, starting with passive resistance by teaching ideas that contradicted Lolth's dogma and moving to open action. The Masked Lord was unusual among deities for his readiness to enter the front line himself when the scale was right, meaning when the target was another god.
PowersThe Masked Lord taught subtle opposition against the priestesses of Lolth and their ideals. He incited his followers to rebel and sow rebellion—especially among male drow—against the Spider Queen's matriarchy, by any means available, going as far as to personally teach methods and skills of resistance. According to the Mordenkainen, however, after the Second Sundering, Vhaeraun changed his stance, and his faith became mostly practiced by males who wished for a better lot in life, but that weren't willing to rebel against Lolth's matriarchy. On the surface, Vhaeraun taught his followers to increase drow power and influence based on real assets, by trade and association with other creatures, but also by criminal means, for example thievery. These kind of activities on the surface were so similar to Mask's—whose activities consisted of creating a trustworthy front and not committing unnecessary crimes in the face of other means—that the two deities were confused with each other among non-drow there. After the Second Sundering, Vhaeraun's modus operandi emphasized the "good citizens" part more strongly than before. The Shadow also gathered any particularly effective poisons, spells, and tactics devised by his clerics, in order to share such tools with the rest, and also trained the otherwise defenseless male drow in the skills of a rogue.
Vhaeraun was a lesser deity. He granted spells to his divine spellcasters and gave his clerics access to the abilities and spells of the Chaos, Drow, Evil, Travel, and Trickery domains and could inherently cast the spells from these domains. After the Second Sundering, he granted the new Trickery and War domain to his clerics.
He could look into people's minds. He combined his sensing abilities to be constantly on the look out for dissidents, rebels, and generally dissatisfied people with the potential to work for him against the Spider Queen in Lolth-ruled cities where he had already at least some worshipers working against his mother, like Menzoberranzan, Tlethtyrr, or Waerglarn. Once someone was deemed compatible, the individual was approached by a manifestation of Vhaeraun or sent clerics of his to have a one-on-one inducement interview.
Vhaeraun could speak and read any language, including nonverbal languages, but seemed to have a preference for High Drow. He could transfer information directly into the brains of people with whom he was conversing. This method ensured that the information was transferred without risk of misunderstandings but was very painful for the recipient.
Vhaeraun could levitate. He was one of two creatures who lived on Carceri but didn't really belong there, for he could get in and out of the Red Prison as he wanted. This fact brought them the hatred of other deities from the Tarterian Depths. Out of all his movement abilities, teleportation seemed to come most naturally to him. He was seen casually teleporting around walking distance during his business negotiation with Inthracis. For all these movement abilities, he had his limits. For example, he couldn't ignore Lolth's ban on entering her domain during the Silence of Lolth and needed outside help to do so. Vhaeraun had the ability to turn his body parts incorporeal and touch corporeal things inside a corporeal container while remaining incorporeal. For example, he could grab inside a body and crush its internal organs. It is not clear whether it was his ability to cast polymorph any object, but he once changed a cage with Sehanine Moonbow inside into portable size and dumped her through a gate that he created.
Apart from always moving as though under pass without trace, the Masked Lord could cast any invisibility spell and turning invisible was a part of his fighting style. What made his abilities at stealth truly special though wasn't the abilities themselves but his skills at them. An entire percent of his clergy in his church consisted of clerical double spies, called masked traitors, clerics whom Lolth believed were under her employment but were in truth specialty priests of her son. This was possible because of his aforementioned skill. Lolth, who was more powerful than him, simply couldn't compete with him on the field of stealth and trickery.
Vhaeraun could change his and his equipment's size and fought as a warrior and as an assassin with two weapons—a longsword, Nightshadow, in his main hand, and a short sword, Shadowflash, in the off-hand. His martial fighting style was of mostly defensive nature and consisted of riposting while primarily dodging and evading enemy blows, parrying only when he had no other choice. It was impossible to hit him with mundane weapons. His prowess in an open, frontal fight wasn't that of a war god. He once fought Selvetarm, the drow demigod of battle prowess, and was driven away, effectively losing against his own son. Vhaeraun possessed all the immunities and protections of a lesser deity. In addition, Vhaeraun was immune to all kind of illusions—except those created by more powerful divine beings—and to being charmed. While the immunities of deities were generally useless against a divine creature of higher status, when it came to his immunity against charms, he was under no such restrictions. Vhaeraun was thought to be unable to cast spells by himself; on the other hand, he was called the Masked Mage and was observed making extensive use of spells and Inthracis sensed immense arcane energy from him. He was able to duplicate any divine or arcane spell used by his followers within 180 feet (55 meters) and could cast them while fighting physically at the same time. Duplicating other people's spells was also possible for him. However it had a limit in both strength and frequency. he could do so only six times per day, but he could use the spells of any spellcaster within 120 feet (36 meters). He was capable of generating heat, both in the form of magma and by converting blasts of shadowstuff into fire, the latter being hot enough to cause agony to deities. He could also cause a bladebend effect once every six minutes.Possessions
Normally, deities didn't use magic items, but Vhaeraun could and did wield any magic item provided by his followers, as long as they could be used by evil individuals, and he had a penchant to use protective magic items. He also charged one magic item per calling of his avatar as payment. In battle, he wielded two swords, Nightshadow and Shadowflash. The former was a black longsword of quickness, which he could make appear out of nowhere in his hands and that was invisible while in darkness. Shadowflash was a short sword made of silver, which could emit a flash of eerie light, capable of blinding those who looked at it. He also carried a dagger, though its properties were unknown. The Masked Lord's cloak was able to absorb seven spells of any strength each day, including magic that could affect a whole area, (therefore protecting both the deity and those who stood near him,) and could make the wearer transparent to those who looked through it. If stolen, or when the avatar of its owner was destroyed, the cloak would melt into nothing.
Vhaeraun’s home realm was called Ellaniath, the whereabouts of which were unknown as the Masked Lord wiped the memories of any visitor.
Vhaeraun had a number of ways to manifest his powers. Apart from his own avatar or his minions' direct help, he could empower and inform his people. He had problems to keep himself from helping his followers, which translated into him answering 15% of the prayers towards him.
Avatar Vhaeraun was capable of creating avatars and preferred to appear in his avatar form when possible. A ritual needed to be completed for such an event, but even when said ritual was completed, the avatar appeared only once in five times. On appearing, a magic item needed to be given to (or just taken by) the avatar). If a magic item was not available, the summoner was sent on a quest to get one. The obtained magic item was then offered on an altar, and any thieves who might steal this item were pursued by the avatar. The ritual consisted of the casting of a gate spell and could be done reliably and without the need to offer a magic item when the Masked Lord's personal goals were involved, if the calling of an avatar as done by Tzirik Jaelre was taken as a standard. Servitors It was relatively easy to convince Vhaeraun to send one of his servitors for help, provided the proper rituals were conducted in situations of real need. "Real need" didn't necessarily mean life or death situations. Instances in which shadows were used as messengers to contact a large number of followers in a wide area were known. Tangible Effects Apart from direct help, Vhaeraun had other means by which he could provide his followers with tangible help. Flitting Black Shadow When Vhaeraun wanted to directly help an individual who hadn't conducted the ritual to call his avatar, he could send a flitting black shadow. It acted as a half-mask for a chosen individual for about nine minutes. During that time, the recipient received a blessing in the form of minor healing, the true seeing spell, ability to wound creatures immune to mundane weapons, moving silently while under the pass without trace spell, and success at keeping one's footing under all circumstances. A single creature could only be blessed like this once per day. Half-mask of Shadow Another manifestation consisted of a floating insubstantial half-mask, made of shadow. It could pass through any obstacle, magical or not and including divine boundaries, to reach the enemy of his people. The mask then (twice per appearance) laughed mockingly and chillingly, inducing terror in those who heard it, as though with the fear spell. Interview Vhaeraun could see into other people's minds, he used this ability to discern compatibility with his philosophy. Once a person with the proper mindset was found, a shadowy black face mask appeared before the individual. Via telepathy, a one-on-one inducement talk was conducted. If such a private meeting was discovered, the mask used a number spells to kill the intruders. After proving that his cause was based on power and had chances to succeed, the mask left to come back later for another talk. Information Vhaeraun could, apart from the standard manifestations, convey information by sharing concrete information with several people at once through shared dreams.Activities
Vhaeraun's goal was to put the Ilythiiri, or drow, back into the position of power that they once held. He detested seeing his people wither because of the pointless infighting and division that Lolth promoted. His plan towards his goal was to undo the Spider Queen and her idea of "society", replacing it with one where the drow would be united and both genders treated with equality. He saw that as the only way to lead the drow to reclaim their power and place on the surface, called the Night Above, to rule over all the others. Elves represented an exception, as it was Vhaeraun's belief that all the Tel'Quessir needed to work together for common progress.
RelationshipsVhaeraun was the son of Corellon Larethian and Lolth, the elder twin brother of Eilistraee. He was the father of Selvetarm. He opposed and was opposed by all of his family members. Seldarine The relationship between him and the Seldarine, of which he was formerly a part, were poor; in fact all members of the Seldarine considered him their enemy. Corellon Larethian After his son Vhaeraun's betrayal during the War of the Seldarine, Corellon practically cut his son off and exiled him. Corellon gave up on the idea of trying to turn his son Vhaeraun to abandon his ways. He vowed to kill Vhaeraun if he ever tried to hurt his sister. Nevertheless, the Masked Lord did threaten the Dark Maiden's life, without known action against him on Corellon's part. Interestingly, the one type of magic that the Protector considered too corrupt for elves and thus suitable for drow, the usage of the Shadow Weave, was the niche Vhaeraun filled in his role as the patron of shadow magic. Sehanine Moonbow Vhaeraun hated Sehanine Moonbow for escaping his prison during the War of the Seldarine. Shevarash Shevarash dedicated his life to killing drow. Vhaeraun was his primary target, alongside Lolth. It was unclear why the Black Archer viewed the Masked Lord as a primary enemy, since Vhaeraun also wanted to get rid of the Spider Queen. Dark Seldarine The relationship between him and the rest of the Dark Seldarine was not good; his relationship with Lolth was completely hostile. One of Vhaeraun's goals was it to unite the rest of the drow powers against the Spider Queen. Such cooperation was difficult, because of the vastly different views each deity shared, though he did succeed at forming an alliance with Kiaransalee with cooperation with both Ghaunadaur and Selvetarm to a lesser extent. Lolth Vhaeraun and Lolth's relationship started as mother and son. Vhaeraun shared her trait of ambition and became her confidant in her betrayal against her husband. At latest after the Descent, the two were complete enemies, Vhaeraun calling for the destruction of the society for which she stood. Vhaeraun was Lolth's favorite child and she encouraged her son's rivalry with her, for it appealed to her love of chaos. On the other hand, her son having actual success at swaying the drow to his cause of destroying her, her supporters and beneficiaries, and her version of society was a real source of fear for her. Lolth viewed him as her true rival and enemy, leading to her incorporating specific tenets against her son's followers. Mother and son had little to no common ground. Lolth promoted favoritism towards females; Vhaeraun promoted gender equality. The Spider Queen demanded surface elves as sacrifices from her worshipers; the Masked Lord urged his followers to cooperate with surface elves. Lolth tried to keep drow society stagnant in every regard; Vhaeraun attracted those who wanted change in societal progress, economic growth, territorial expansion, etc. Lolth wanted to extinguish the drow race's desire to return to the surface; Vhaeraun called for settling the surface. These differences made the idea of Lolth's forces and those from the surface working together against Vhaeraun's into something not completely impossible. According to the wizard Mordenkainen, this changed after the Second Sundering. He claimed that Vhaeraun had assumed a position of subservience to the Spider Queen. Eilistraee Vhaeraun hated his sister Eilistraee, and the two were on hostile terms. Vhaeraun's hatred against Eilistraee originated both from his sister having been the favored child of Corellon Larethian and from her hindering his efforts to bring the Ilythiiri under him, (as that conflict opened the way for Lolth and Ghaunadaur to rise to prominence.) Nonetheless, he tried to bring her alongside the other drow gods on his side against Lolth.Eilistraee, on the other hand, mourned her brother's selfishness and cruelty. The Dark Maiden opposed her brother's ruthless ways, and she wished to lead the drow along the path of light.. Her divine champions generally chose the evil deities of the Dark Seldarine as enemies to oppose, and that led some of them to focus their efforts against the followers of Vhaeraun. Their enmity continued after the Second Sundering. They shared a few characteristics. Both wanted their people on the surface—Eilistraee, in harmony with others, Vhaeraun, by building power structures that allowed his followers to rule over others. A slur to describe him among the followers of Eilistraee was the Sly Savage. Ghaunadaur He was opposed to Ghaunadaur. The two gods used to guide the elves of Ilythiir together, during their time there, though it was not clear whether they were on amicable terms. If Ka'Narlist was taken as a measure, followers of Ghaunadaur considered Vhaeraun an upstart who was not attractive to those who were looking for life force as a power source. There was also an overlap in their follower base. A meaningful part of Ghaunadaur's followers were philosophically closer to Vhaeraun than Ghaunadaur and followed the latter only because they didn't know about the god of thievery or his agenda. Followers of Ghaunadaur and Vhaeraun seemed to work together based on individual projects. As examples, followers of the two worked together to destroy the Lolth-worshipers in Eryndlyn. The Ghaunadan fey'ri House Dlardrageth and the Vhaeraunite drow House Jaelre worked together to protect themselves from the Army of Myth Drannor, and even after Vhaeraun's death, a faction of Vhaeraunites and Ghaunadans successfully worked together to destroy the Promenade of the Dark Maiden. They were even capable of living side by side, like in Holldaybim. Kiaransalee Vhaeraun was allied with Kiaransalee, though she was also allied with Lolth. The difference between these two relationships was that the former was a willing alliance to get rid of Lolth's dominance, while the latter took the form of forced subservience to the Spider Queen and included an enmity. Selvetarm Vhaeraun was opposed by his son Selvetarm. For example, when the draegloths started to convert to Vhaeraun during the Silence of Lolth, Selvetarm took some in with the intention of handing them over to his grandmother when she awoke again. Even though Selvetarm hated his grandmother, to whom he was practically enslaved, he still fought against his father during the Silence of Lolth, as Vhaeraun sought to destroy Lolth in her weakened state, thus botching his chance for freedom. Vhaeraun had a very low opinion about Selvetarm's intelligence, but the submissive trait of his son was what angered him most. It seemed that his position as patron of male drow was contended by the more conformist Selvetarm after the Second Sundering. At some point in time, though, the two managed to set aside their differences enough for radical Selvetargtlin and Vhaeraunites to cooperate, such that being raised by Selvetargtlin was not something to bat an eye at. It was heavily suspected that the reason why the attack on the Promenade of the Dark Maiden and Vhaeraun's assassination attempt on the Dark Maiden were on the same day was because the two gods were in league with each other. Enemies Underdark Deities A large number of Underdark deities were also his enemies. They included the duergar deities Laduguer and Deep Duerra, the derro deities Diirinka and Diinkarazan, the beholder deities Great Mother and Gzemnid, the mind flayer deities Ilsensine and Maanzecorian, the aboleth progenitor Piscaethces, the ixzan deity Ilxendren, the kuo-toa deity Blibdoolpoolp, the myconid deity Psilofyr, and the troglodyte deity Laogzed. This could have been less from personal grudges than from the fact that, in the Underdark, societies organized and identified themselves first through their racial identities and tended to enslave others who were not of the same race to make the generation and distribution of the (extremely) scarce resources easier. Surface Deities Other enemies of his were Sharess and the halfling deity Cyrrollalee. Vhaeraun's enmity with Cyrrollalee was rooted in their portfolios. The halfling goddess was the deity of homes and Vhaeraun was the god of thievery and thus an intruder into homes. His enmity with Sharess had a more specific background. (See Age of Humanity.) Allies Vhaeraun enjoyed a working relationship with Mask, Shar, and Talona. Mask Vhaeraun was an ally of Mask. The two were similar in many ways, and among non-drow on the surface, the two were often confused with one another. The two even shared one similar title—"Lord of Shadows" for Mask and "Lord of Shadow" for Vhaeraun. While Mask was interested in absorbing Vhaeraun to compensate his loss of power to Cyric, there were also followers of Vhaeraun who used the resemblance of the two gods' symbols and methods to recruit followers among humans and half-elves. Shar Vhaeraun was the drow patron of shadow magic and Shar was the owner of the Shadow Weave. They worked together in projects that concerned this magic, like the School of the Shadow Weave, which had followers of both Vhaeraun and Shar among them. When Vhaeraun died, Shar was also one of the prime choices to whom his followers might convert. Talona Talona was a deity from Carceri, which meant that she hated Vhaeraun for being able to go in out of the Red Prison at his leisure, but she found him exceedingly dangerous. Still, the Lady of Poison and the Masked Lord maintained a functional working relationship. Followers Generally speaking, the evil drow deities had a strange relationship with their followers. In some cases, followers were referred to in terms of belonging to one or the other deity like possessions.. That seemed to be meant in the literal sense for Lolth and Kiaransalee, who were capable of using their followers' fate as a wager in their game for their own gain. While Vhaeraun meddled in this game, he didn't wager his followers like the others. The drow gods also had dogmas that were generally concerned with describing how to live a life that pleased them, whereas Vhaeraun's dogma was unique in that it was used to outline the goal of his organization and the steps towards it. He considered himself the leader of this endeavor. The relationship between him and his followers was based on a deal—the followers' obedience in exchange for divine support, whereas piety was at best of secondary concern. His followers joined him for different reasons, from actually agreeing with his philosophy, to more personal reasons like the desire for change or freedom, to completely personal reasons like the desire for revenge, simple madness, or because they thought that Vhaeraun's support was a tool strong enough for the follower's social advancement to justify the risk of exposure. Vhaeraun primarily valued his followers for their action; what was excluded from evaluation were their intentions, private desires, and thoughts, including rebellious ones. He was capable of punishing his followers for bad performance—a good track record wasn't considered an excuse for it. He also punished for transgressions, such as impersonating him, even with punishments that virtually meant death, as happened to Tellik Melarn. He held people in high standing for their actions, despite any rebellious thoughts against him. Mortals His goal was to lead the drow back to their former position of power. He saw a general need for advancement for elves and encouraged cooperation, including intermarriage among the elven races. The goal included the subjugation of other races. Intermarrying also had an ulterior motive in the form of increasing drow numbers on the surface by taking advantage of the drow's genetic dominance and the psychological quirk of children to favor their drow parent. Despite this, cooperation with other races was possible. He had an unexplained dislike against dwarves and gnomes and forbade his followers from associating with these races, but they did so anyway. (See Church of Vhaeraun.) He found halflings and humans tolerable. It was believed that the Shadow wanted, or at least was not against, the drow interbreeding with humans to acquire their genetic traits.
WorshipersVhaeraun had the largest drow following on the surface and the second largest overall. The church of Vhaeraun primarily consisted of drow and half-drow males who sought a better life than slavery under Lolth's matriarchy, and who opposed it. The promise of a gender-fair society in which empathy, cooperation, and growth was possible appealed to them. The followers of Vhaeraun believed that they must free themselves from the tyranny of the Lolth and take their rightful place in the Night Above by force. This would involve the destruction of the drow matriarchy and the infighting of Lolth's followers, resulting in the unification of the drow people, as opposed to a squabbling collection of rival Houses with conflicting aims. They believed that Vhaeraun would lead them in a society where the drow ruled over all the other, inferior races and where male and female were equals. Servitors The Masked Lord was personally served by his petitioners, the souls of his dead followers, on his realm Ellaniath. Some petitioners were turned into vhaeraths, petitioners who gained additional abilities in stealth and retained their skills in life, who were frequently dispatched to Toril to do their god's bidding. Other servitor creatures weregehreleths (farastu, kelubar, and shator mephits (air, smoke, and earth), shadow dragons, shadow fiends, shadows, and yeth hounds. Petitioners who distinguished themselves in life through great service were turned by the Masked Lord into some type of his servitor creatures. Vhaeraun once forbade his priests to use spells to summon any servant creatures, as he expected them to only perform rituals to summon his avatar and to show their self-reliance. This rule was substantially relaxed, and it became in fact easy to convince him to send one of his servitors for help, provided the proper ritual was conducted. He also provided his followers access to his servitors for their summon monster and planar ally spells. The vhaeraths were an exception; calling them required the knowledge outlined in the Obsul Ssussun.
- The Masked Lord
- The Masked God of Night
- The Shadow
- The Masked Mage
- The Lord of Shadow
- Shadow Lord
- Lesser Deity
- Chaotic Evil
- Black mask with blue glasses inset over eyes
- Demonweb Pits
- Drow Males
- Surface Raids
- Drow males who rebel against the matriarchy
- Black Cats
- Dead Spiders
- Air Mephits
- Earth Mephits
- Smoke Mephits
- Shadow Dragons
- Shadow Fiends
- Yeth Hounds
- Agni Mani
- Black Marble
- Black Onyx
- Black Pearl
- Black Sapphire
- Black-Hued Chalcedony
- Black-Hued Jasper
- Crown of Silver
- Horn Coral
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