Dungeons and Dragons, like any Role-Playing Game, is about the journey, not the destination. It is a long, enjoyable marathon rather than a short sprint. And whilst in the early days, you will get much satisfaction from clearing out a nest of Trolls for a local village elder or defeating an Orcish war leader in one on one combat, as the game progresses the challenges increase. But so do the rewards.
And then, one day years down the line, you realise that you have risen to the highest echelons of the game. Your humble mercenary is now a lord of a vast estate, your wandering Cleric the leader of a whole kingdom’s religion, your wizard the dean of an arcane university. It is then that the challenges set before you will be the stuff of legend. It is then that you will be pitched against the mightiest adversities, such as the demon lord Baphomet.
The long dark history of The Prince of Beasts
The myths and legends which surround Baphomet are as many as its various names and titles. It is thought that it began life as a mortal, perhaps human, perhaps a bull, maybe a hybrid of the two. It was cursed by the gods and banished to the Abyss where it turned this curse into a blessing and through various alliances and aggressions it rose to be one of the most powerful demons of that dark place.
The Prince of Beasts, to give him one of his many titles, is the enemy of all good forces but he also has adversaries within The Abyss. He maintains an ancient feud with Yeenoghu and has a hatred of Orcus who once held him prisoner. He also wishes vengeance on Demon Queen of Harpies, Ardat for past actions and has a non-aggression pact with his nearest adversary, the beast known as Pale Night.
Baphomet now calls the Endless Maze home, located in the 600th layer of the Abyss its is a place of infinite darkness as well as infinite size. Here, Baphomet dwells in his diabolical palace, the Lyktion, where he spends his time creating various new and foul demonic breeds in his dreaded Tower of Science.
Baphomet in Person
Few have encountered Baphomet in person and survived, certainly no-one that has intended him harm has ever lived to tell the tale. But there are enough writings and rumours gathered together to tell us about the Demon Lord’s physical appearance and demeanour.
Baphomet usually takes the form of a 12-foot tall minotaur, an immensely powerful human body with a bull’s head. Its horns are long and curve downwards, the body is covered with coarse, thick, dark hair and it wields a giant bardiche. It is rumoured that it can spit out gouts of unholy water at its enemies before they can come in close for combat.
Baphomet is the embodiment of savagery in all its forms. It is an insidious force that works its way into the heart of its followers by deceiving them with the promise of brutality and the surge of power that such unrestrained savagery brings.
It should be noted that Baphomet is a deity drawn from our own, real-world myths. It is a middle-eastern force of evil, a being that the Knights Templars were accused of worshipping when they found themselves on trial. As such, depending on the nature of your campaign, giving it the trappings and traits of an ancient Persian god might help make him stand apart from the more western image of many underworld denizens.
The Cult of Baphomet
Baphomet is rarely followed by humans or mortal races, his armies in the physical world are generally Minotaurs, made in his image, Orges and Giants. Though these will often employ mortal slaves, initiates and familiars to do their bidding. His lieutenants are usually Ghour demons, products of his machinations in the Tower of Science and these are often sent to the mortal realm to Marshall his forces and lead his armies into battles.
Those who please him and do his bidding well, usually minotaurs, can find themselves as minor lords of domains within the Endless Maze. Those who displease end up eaten… or worse.
His followers create temples within mazes and mazes within temples. They protect their belongings and property with complex knots and use such knotted belts and designs to recognise each other covertly. Over time, Baphomet’s cultists often become tainted by his influence, this leads to them developing bloodshot eyes and coarse, thickening hair will appear on their body. Small horns can also issue forth from their foreheads. In time, a devoted human or orc cultist might transform entirely into a minotaur, something which is considered the greatest blessing of all.
Facing the Fiend
Although pursuing such a legendary foe might initially seem like madness, when your campaign reaches the highest levels, say level 30 and upwards, the tasks laid before them become similarly legendary. Where once you took on goblin raiding parties and wild drow pirates, now, quests and campaigns will lead you in other dimensions to face god-like creatures.
But bettering and defeating Baphomet is not going to be an easy task. Physically he can charge, bite and gore like a bull and wield his mighty bardiche better than the most powerful fighter. He is armed with spells, both protective and offensive, and his demonic nature makes him fairly resistant to most magic.
He will generally be encountered in The Endless Maze, which he can manipulate to confound and surprise his foes and of course he will never be encountered alone. To even get close to the Demon Lord the adventurers will have had to fight through his Ghour and minotaur followers first.
The Road to The Abyss
It is a long road that leads to encounters with such Demonic powers. But a good DM will begin to lay threads right from the earliest campaigns, just loose ends which can be explored and developed later. Some knowledge of the beasts existence can be seeded in the lowest level adventures, later encounters with his minions and followers might bring you to the attention of minor demons and cult leaders.
As you rise through the ranks you might find yourself leading armies against his mortal worshippers or even fighting his demonic lieutenants. Eventually, years down the line, when a full war between the mortal realm and the Abyss might be brewing, your, now legendary character, might be charged with defeating the power behind this possible demon incursion and find themselves descending into the Abyss to do something that no-one has yet been able to achieve.
Sweet dreams, everyone.