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Vhaeraun (Vay-RAWN) is the god of thievery and the furthering of drow aims, interests, and power in the Night Above, as the surface world is known to the faithful. He is also the god of drow males opposed to the matriarchy of Lolth, teaching that males are as skilled and valuable as females, and thus passively opposing the teachings of Lolth's clergy on this point. He believes that drow should work with the other elven races for common advancement and never associates or trade with Duergar, Svirfneblin, or other Dwarven and Gnome races. (Humans and Halflings can be tolerated, however).
Vhaeraun is vain, proud, and sometimes haughty, bears grudges of legendary length, and never forgets slights or deceptions. Any underhanded means and treachery is acceptable to him if it furthers his aims or is done in his service--but if others so treat him or his people, it is a deep sin that cannot go unpunished. He actively involves himself in drow affairs and moderately often sends an Avatar to assist the work of his priests if the proper rituals are performed and the need is genuine.
Vhaeraun is the brother of Eilistraee and the son of Araushnee, who was cast out and became Lolth, and Corellon Larethian. The Masked Lord was cast out of the Seldarine and banished from Arvandor, along with is mother and sister, when his complicity was revealed in Araushnee's plot to destroy Corellon. While he hates all of the Seldarine, Vhaeraun harbors a particular enmity for Sehanine Moonbow, who escaped the Masked Lord's prison at great cost to herself and unmasked the culpability of both Vhaeraun and Araushnee. Likewise, the Masked Lord nurtures an abiding hatred of Eilistraee. The Dark Maiden always held Corellon's favor more than her hateful brother, and she thwarted Vhaeraun's early efforts to bring all the Ilythiiri (southern, dark skinned elves) under his sway, enabling Lolth and Ghaunadar to make great inroads among those who would become the drow. Vhaeraun reserves his greatest hatred for the Spider Queen who gave birth to him long ago. The Masked Lord lacks the strength to challenge Lolth directly, so he works against her in shadow, undermines her in silence, and looks to unite the other drow powers against her.

(The Masked Lord, the Masked God of Night, the Shadow)

STATUS: Lesser Deity

ALIGNMENT: Chaotic Evil

PORTFOLIO: Thievery, Drow males, territory, evil activity on the surface world, (furthering of Shadow Weave magic use, along with Shar)

ALIASES: Vhaerun

HOME PLANE/DOMAIN NAME: Demonweb Pits/Colothys & Ellaniath


ALLIES: Mask, Shar, Talona

FOES: Cyrrollalee, Deep Duerra, Eilistraee, Ghaunadar, Laduguer, Lolth, the Seldarine, Sharess, Blibdoolpoopl, the Blood Queen, Diinkarazan, Diirinka, the Great Mother, Gzemnid, Ilsensine, Ilxendren, Laogzed, Maanzecorian (dead), Psilofyr

SYMBOL: Black Half-mask


DOMAINS: Chaos, Drow, Evil, Travel, Trickery

MANIFESTATIONS: Vhaeraun prefers to appear in his Avatar form but only comes when summoned by a magic ritual. (In fact, he forbids his priests to use spells of the summoning variety as they are only to summon him.) When he cannot send his Avatar (in other words, when the ritual of summoning has not been performed), he sends a flitting black shadow. It cloaks a favored being about the face like a half-mask and remains for 9 rounds. During that time, the favored being is empowered with True Seeing; empowered to strike creatures normally hit with only the most powerful magic weapons (i.e. up to +5), even if the weapon employed is not magical; unable to fall, fumble, or miss it's footing or a leap or catch; able to move silently and Pass Without a Trace; and healed of 2d4 points of current damage. This manifestation never favors the same being more than once per day.
Vhaeraun may also send a manifestation to signify his displeasure or his defiance or rivals or enemies of his people. This takes the form of a floating, insubstantial half-mask of shadows that drifts silently to confront the beings he wishes to (passing any magical barriers, and entering any place, regardless of guards, holiness to another deity, etc.) The mask can only move and (twice per appearance) utter a chilling, mocking laugh. Those hearing it must succeed at a Will save (DC ?) or be affected as if by a Fear spell.
Vhaeraun also acts through the appearance or presence of gehreleths (farastu, kelubar, and shator), mephits (air, smoke, and earth), shadow dragons, shadow fiends, yeth hounds, and undead shadows. More commonly he sends a region of absolute, impenetrable darkness, black cats, ravens, dead spiders, agni manis, black opals, black sapphires, black-hued chalcedony, crown of silver, hematite, horn, coral, black-hued jasper, jet, black-hued pearls, ravenar, or samarskite to show his favor or displeasure and as a sign to inspire his faithful.


All clergy receive Knowledge (Religion) as a bonus Skill. All clerics of the Masked Lord must be male, with the rare exception of the suborned priestesses of Lolth (i.e. Masked Traitors). Clergy of Vhaeraun may not cast any spell of the summoning variety that does not directly summon the Avatar of the Masked God of Night or request his favor (such as Blessing of Vhaeraun). Spells that are directly of the Conjuration school are permitted.
Vhaeraun is little known on the surface world among nondrow or in the Lolth-dominated cities of the dark elves in the Underdark. Among those nondrow aware of the activities of his followers in the surface, the Masked Lord is often confused with the human god of thieves, Mask. Very few surface dwellers appreciate the threat Vhaeraun and his followers represent to the established order. In the wilds of the Underdark, the faith of Vhaeraun is seen to be slowly expanding in power and influence, and the followers of the Masked Lord are viewed with fearful respect. To priests of Lolth, priests of Vhaeraun are the enemy, to be hunted down by any means possible--torture of suspected drow is a favorite tactic--and eradicated on the altars of Lolth to earn the maximum glory of the goddess and drive the most personal enjoyment out of one's efforts. To dissatisfied, city-dwelling drow, particularly males, who somehow learn of the Masked Lord, Vhaeraun's faith is seen to offer a means of escape from the enslavement of the Spider Queen.
In the Underdark, Vhaeraun is worshiped in deep caverns cloaked in multiple, overlapping Darkness spells. Such temples are typically natural amphitheaters, with soaring ceilings studded with sparkling beljurils spaced to resemble stars. In the Night Above, the Masked Lord is venerated in shallow woodland caves cloaked by layers of leaves of deep forest canopies that allow little light to reach the forest floor. Such shrines are typically located near or in small communities of surface-dwelling drow who seek the return of the drow to the Night Above as the Masked Lord has called for. One such temple and community may be found in the western fringes of the High Forest, just two days south of the River Dessarin's headwaters near the Lost Peaks.

Titles and Ranks: Vhaeraun's clergy are known collectively as the Masked. Novices of Vhaeraun are known as the Uncloaked. All other members of the clergy are known as Nightshadows. Titles used by Vhaeraunian priests vary widely across temple hierarchies, but typical titles (in no particular order) include Ascendant Darkness, Black Moon, Dark Mantle, Deep Rogue, Enveloping Night, Raven's Claw, Shadow Hunter, Silent Sable, and Twilight's Herald. High-ranking clergy of the Masked Lord have unique, individual titles. Specialty priests are known as Darkmasks, and traitorous priestesses of Lolth are known as Masked Traitors. The clergy of Vhaeraun includes only dark elves (drow), over 99% of whom are male.

Dogma: The shadows of the Masked Lord must cast off the tyranny of the Spider Queen and forcibly reclaim their birthright and rightful place in the Night Above. The existing drow matriarchies must be smashed, and the warring practices of twisted Lolth done away with so that the drow are welded into a unified people, not a squabbling gaggle of rival Houses, clans, and aims. Vhaeraun will lead his followers into a society where the Ilythiiri once again reign supreme over the other, lesser races, and there is equality between males and females.
Clergy of Vhaeraun must encourage, lead, or aid bands of drow and aligned chaotic evil creatures in thievery and instigate plots, intrigues, and events to continually increase drow influence and real power in the surface Realms. They must manipulate trade, creatures, and intrigues designed to lessen the power of and frustrate the plans of drow priests (particularly those who serve Lolth), and continually foment rebellion or disobedience among drow males. Drow thieves in need must be aided (even if female): healed, bailed out of jail, or forcibly rescued. Drow men oppressed or under attack by drow women must be physically aided in any circumstances. Cruelties against drow men must be avenged.

Day-to-Day Activities: Vhaeraun's priesthood is nearly exclusively male and practices passive opposition to Lolth's clergy. They are also active in the surface world, and some preach a heresy of the unity of elven races and their need to work together for dominion. They specialize in intrigue, trickery, and treachery, and foment disobedience and rebellion among males. In drow communities, Vhaeraun's clergy often disguise their allegiance, for obvious reasons.
Contact and marriage with other elven races is encouraged. Half-drow in such unions usually breed true back into the drow race; Vhaeraun sees this practice inexorably raising drow numbers in the surface lands. Every cleric seeks to establish some sort of permanent drow settlement on the surface world, and either support that settlement's needs personally, or (preferably) make it self supporting. (The settlement of Vhaeraun worshipers in the High Forest, as discussed above, was established by the drow wizard Nisstyre, captain of the merchant band Dragon's Hoard, before his death in a clash with the Dark Maidens of the Promenade in chambers beneath Skullport.)
Poison use, manufacture, and experimentation is also common. Especially effective spells, poisons, and tactics devised by a cleric are to be shared with the Masked Lord--and thence, all clergy.

Holy Days/Important Ceremonies: The most important attacks, negotiations, and other activities of the clergy must occur at night. Clerics of Vhaeraun utter prayers to the Masked God of Night whenever they accomplish something to further his aims. Offerings of the wealth and weapons of those they vanquish (enemies of the drow, or regalia of female drow priests) are to be melted in black, bowl-shaped altars. Offerings of magic and wealth are made regularly. The more and the more value, the more Vhaeraun is pleased, though he favors daily diligence more than rare, huge hauls.
Midwinter Night, known to Vhaeraun's followers as the Masked Lord's Embrace, is the most sacred time of year to the followers of the Masked Lord. This annual holy day is celebrated by the Masked Lord's followers with daylong introspective rituals of total sensory deprivation. Each worshiper is expected to cloak himself in a region of magical Darkness and Levitate at the middle of the effect for a full 24 hours while contemplating Vhaeraun's teachings and dreaming up schemes to advance the Masked Lord's goals in the coming year. All followers of Vhaeraun who wish to perform this ritual are granted the ability to employ both spell-like effects on this day, with the necessary extended duration, by a special boon of the Masked Lord himself.
In the Night Above, nights of the new moon are considered sacred to the followers of the Masked Lord. Such occasions are observed with midnight stag hunts that range over miles of shadowy woodlands, such as the Forest of Lethyr, the Forest of Mir, the Frozen Forest, the Lurkwood, Rawlinswood, the Trollbark Forest, and the Winterwood. Packs of Vhaeraun worshipers, mounted on riding lizards brought up from the Underdark, run down a noble hart and then sacrifice it's rack of antlers and still-beating heart to the Masked Lord in dark rites that pervert the ancient ways of the surface elves.

Major Centers of Worship: One of the largest, if not the largest, concentrations of dark elves on the surface of Faerun is found in the northern reaches of Sarenestar, also known as the Forest of Mir, on the border of Tethyr and Calimshan. The drow who reside within it's great timberland are concentrated into three separate settlements, all connected by tunnels and caverns created during the Night Wars. Each city consists of a few buildings dotting the surface and extensive caverns below. Unlike the egalitarian Holldaybim where both males and females rule, most of the drow who inhabit Dallnothax and Iskasshyoll are ardent Vhaeraun worshipers. Both patriarchal societies have been engaged in a centuries-long conflict with the Spider Queen's followers in Guallidurth, a drow city deep beneath Calimshan from which their ancestors escaped long ago. As part of this unending, intermittent conflict, the small temples to the Masked Lord found within Dallnothax and Iskasshyoll--the Hall of Midnight Bloodshed and the Onyx Labyrinth, respectively--have been sacked on several occasions by Lolth's worshipers. Both shrines serve their true purpose, however, by diverting attacks from the true center of the Masked Lord's worship in the region, a vast underground temple hidden beneath the flanks of Mount Sarengard known as the Vault of Cloaked Midnight. Under the able leadership of Envenomed Edge Masoj Naerth, the southern Nightshadows have recovered much of their strength since the near disintegration of the Calishite-based cells of the Dark Dagger (see below) in the Darkstalker Wars of the Year of the Serpent (1359 DR).
As noted beforehand, there is a Vhaeraunian settlement of drow in the High Forest, near the Lost Peaks. There is also a temple dedicated to the Masked Lord in the city of Sshamath, the Tower of the Masked Mage, led by Shadow Sorcerer Pharaun Lhalabar.

Affiliated Orders: The Dark Dagger, composed of drow who venerate Vhaeraun, is a whispered name of growing weight in the dark alleys around the Inner Sea lands. Individually powerful but few in numbers, the Dark Dagger agents habitually use poison (which they are largely immune to, thanks to lifelong incremental dosage procedures). Active in Skullport (in Undermountain, beneath Waterdeep), in Turmish and the Vilhon Reach, and to a lesser extent in Amn and Calimshan, the various Points of the Dagger are now beginning to infiltrate coastal cities all around the Sea of Fallen Stars. They like to take control of local thieving guilds and fellowships behind the scenes, hire skilled human and humanoid agents, and establish hidden temples to Vhaeraun. They recruit disaffected half-elves and humans to worship the Masked Lord, whose symbol is nearly identical to that of Mask, Lord of the Shadows.
Very rare, but greatly feared in Lolth-fostered drow folklore and among living clergy of Lolth, is the traitor priest who serves Lolth and another deity (usually Vhaeraun). It is for this reason that male drow who aspire to be priests in Lolth's service seldom rise very far in levels: even if they overcome the hatred and resentment of any female drow clergy they must work with, the Spider Queen simply does not trust them--they tend to end their days quickly, being used as temple enforcers or guards. In this role they face many spell battles with intruders (such as drow trying to settle grudges with enemies in the clergy) or priests who are rebellious, or feuding, or who have succumbed to insanity under the pressures of their station or contact with lower-planar creatures. There are priests who serve Lolth on the surface and Vhaeraun underneath. The reverse is almost unknown, though the destructive potential of such a one would be very great, but finding suitable candidates and steering them alive through the perils of preparation without losing their loyalty to Lolth and to their handler is unlikely in the extreme--and so far, as far as it is can be told from the news of the Underdark, so unlikely as to be unknown.
How can such treachery be tolerated by the Spider Queen? Surely she knows the heart of every worshiper, and could prevail over any influences of a god of lesser power, such as Vhaeraun? The truth is that Vhaeraun is not so much less powerful than the Spider Queen--he simply uses his power in subtle, hidden, behind-the-scenes ways, not in the tyrannical, exultant, and brutal-naked-force manner so beloved by Lolth. He also watches over the drow in any place ruled by Lolth where he does have worshipers (such as the drow cities of Menzoberranzan, Tlethtyrr, and Waerglarn) often and attentively, looking into their minds for doubts and misgivings. If he finds great hatred or open rebellion against the dictates of the Spider Queen (or against her local high priestesses) and can find an opportunity for a private audience with the wavering Lolth worshiper, Vhaeraun manifests as a shadowy black face mask, and telepathically speaks to the individual. If the individual is discovered or attacked by others, Vhaeraun typically leaves--after using spells to destroy the beings who discovered or attacked his intended faithful. In doing so he manifests a sign of his power over Lolth and preserves the intended worshiper for another attempt at conversion later.
A double agent priest or priestess continues to advance in Lolth's service and to gain spells normally. If the individual's loyalty to Vhaeraun is ever discovered, Lolth typically alerts nearby drow, and refuses to grant any further spells to the traitor--but does not strip the drow of any presently memorized spells. If the drow survives long enough to flee Lolth's worshipers and any community they control, she or he continues at the same cleric level and spell power, losing only access to spells specifically and only granted by the Spider Queen (note that the Conceal Item spell is granted by other deities than the Spider Queen, and there may well be other Lolth-granted spells that have been granted in parallel for, by rival deities). The double agent becomes a cleric or specialty priest of Vhaeraun (although the dress and manners of a Lolth worshiper may be retained for use as a disguise), and typically travels to near-surface drow holdings or trading communities used by several races (such as Skullport). Drow tend not to speak the names or want to remember such traitors--their Houses disown them for safety's sake, and other drow are urged by the yochlol not to remind people of treachery to Lolth by keeping alive names of those who have so sinned.

Priestly Vestments: Vhaeraun's clergy garb themselves in half-masks, loose silk shirts, form-fitting pants, and leather boots, all of which are jet black. They are never without at least one black-edged bladed weapon on their persons, and most ar bedecked with half a dozen or more such weapons. The god's holy symbol is a black half-mask that can, of course, be worn and used like any mask. Clergy of Vhaeraun need only be within a mile of the holy symbol to use it in working spells given to them by the Masked Lord. It need not ever be on their persons (except when they first wear it to become attuned or linked to it) or brandished in spellcasting or dealing with undead.

Adventuring Garb: No clergy of Vhaeraun can wear any type of armor except leather armor, and dark garb is always preferred. Vhaeraun's clergy favor daggers, short swords, and long swords, but they always select the most appropriate weapon for the task at hand. The Masked Lord's clergy are well versed in the use of poisons, and typically prepare several varieties of wildly varying onset times, methods of application, and strengths before embarking on a dangerous undertaking.

[ EDITOR'S NOTE: There are no actual 3.X D&D stats for Vhaeraun, so do what we do, and take the 2E information below into account and create your own version. Once our conversion is finished, we'll post it for the use of our campaign. ]

Vhaeraun's Avatar
(Rogue 30, Fighter 25)

Vhaeraun frequently dispatches his Avatar to answer a summoning ritual performed by his clergy. He appears as a well-muscled, slim, graceful, handsome drow male with eyes and hair tha change in hue from red (for anger) to gold (triumph) to blue (amusement) and green (puzzlement or curious interest) to reflect his mood. He never wears armor of any sort, but he always wears a long, flowing black cloak.

( Game Statistics will be posted here when we finish our conversion )

Special Attacks/Defenses: Vhaeraun wields Nightshadow, a jet-black long sword +4 of quickness that is invisible in darkness, and Shadowflash, a silver short sword +1 that can flash with an eerie light equal to Continual Light at will. (Those who witness such a flash, apart from Vhaeraun, must succeed at a Reflex save {DC ?} to avoid being blinded for 1d4+1 rounds.) While holding Nightshadow, he can create a magical Bladebend effect once every 6 rounds. The Bladebend causes the blade of any one edged weapon currently held within 70 feet of Vhaeraun to twist about and strike it's holder for maximum damage. (The blade then instantly returns to normal.)
Those looking at Vhaeraun's cloak in darkness can see through it the stars, the moon, or whatever else is behind it even if Vhaeraun is obviously within the portion they are observing. Vhaeraun's cloak melts into nothingness if removed from him or his Avatar is slain. It's folds can harmlessly absorb seven spells of any level per day and also attract both Magic Missiles and area-of-effect spells such as Fireball, completely protecting the wearer (and nearby beings who would otherwise be harmed) as if the cloak were some sort of infinitely charged special Brooch of Shielding.
Vhaeraun can use magical items given to him by worshipers regardless of class restrictions, so long as they function for beings of his alignment. The Masked God has no spellcasting ability of his own, but in addition to his physical attacks during a round, he can duplicate any Divine or Arcane spell in the mind of a clergy member or follower of his faith who is within 180 feet. Vhaeraun always Passes Without a Trace and can turn Invisible at will. Vhaeraun can cast Bladebend once per 6 rounds, and such attacks always hit for full damage.
He is immune to the effects of illusions (apart from those created by a divine being) and cannot be charmed. He can only be struck by +1 or better magical weapons.

Drow Religion

Page Last Updated April 18th, 2005