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Dragon God of Goodness
The noble and honorable counterpart and rival to Tiamat, Bahamut is the platinum dragon darling of paladins, dragonborn and the draconic faithful everywhere and has been a major part of the dungeons & dragons pantheon all the way back to the 1st edition. Even if it’s only due to a dragon-loving paladin, Bahamut is likely to make an impact on your games. So, heed the words of that mysterious old man and get ready to uphold justice as we go through everything you need to know. Want to see our full list of dnd gods? Look at our D&D Deities here.
Basic Bahamut Lore
As with any dungeons & dragons character that has been around since 1st edition, Bahamut’s lore has gone through multiple changes and has whole books worth of interactions and history. We’ll just stick to the fundamentals you need to understand the character rather than reading it off like a textbook.
Bahamut is the one and only platinum dragon, a revered patron of the metallic dragons and any other being on the path of good. In earlier editions Bahamut is a vassal and servant of another god of justice Torm, and Bahamut was labeled as a “lesser deity”. That whole notion seems to have been left behind and nowadays Bahamut is a full-fledged god and member of a lot of pantheons particularly the popular Wildemount setting.
Bahamut is the eternal rival of Tiamat (that's the 5-headed evil dragon goddess you may have seen before) and is often considered the king of dragons, or at least the king of good dragons. Each campaign setting has a slightly different version of Bahamut, but he's always a powerful draconic deity devoted to promoting good and stopping evil creatures with limitless empathy who foregoes punishment with forgiveness. He's particularly hated by evil dragons and any followers of the evil dragon queen Tiamat.
Bahamut isn't about killing beings in the name of good though, and usually goes to great lengths to avoid killing an intelligent creature, even a chromatic dragon which he should be diametrically opposed to. Instead Bahamut is known for polymorphing enemies into something harmless, talking them down, or practically anything else to avoid "bloodying his claws with evil". Bahamut's mood isn't perfectly consistent though, and every once in a while, he'll smite something that needs a good smiting.
Physically, Bahamut is a massive metallic dragon with a silvery-platinum hue. This is his natural form, but he also likes walking the world in a humanoid form, usually as an old man in peasant robes providing wisdom or a safe refuge to those in need. It's usually only when dealing with other dragons or combating evil that he adopts his huge dragon form.
The Council of Wyrms
Bahamut has a council of seven ancient gold dragons who attend to matters on Bahamut's behalf. In some versions these gold wyrms are the reincarnations of noble kings, but in most iterations, they are simply the ancient dragons that Bahamut trusts most. Each golden wyrm passed a challenging and dangerous test set by Bahamut, and to all dragonkind sitting on Bahamut's council is among the most prestigious and greatest honors. This council of wyrms often acts as a jury regarding evildoers captured by Bahamut's champions.
Bahamut holds a relatively minor position in several pantheons of non-dragons, but he is one of the primary members of the draconic pantheon and has many dragon worshipers. Copper dragons, silver dragons, gold wyrms, and most other metallic dragons worship him or at least hold him in high regard among their ancient pantheon. The dragonborn race also commonly number among his draconic faithful. The origins of the dragonborn race are a bit muddy now, but some of these dragonborn still consider Bahamut as the progenitor of their kind.
Bahamut was first introduced in the Faerûnian pantheon but he isn't terribly prominent in it. Usually, he's only mentioned in reference to Torm (a dragon riding god that fills a very similar niche) as a lesser deity serving under him as a subservient deity. Still, even in Faerûnian pantheon Bahamut has a place with human faithful followers and other creatures most dragons would consider "lesser races". Dragon worshipers have been praising the great platinum dragon and have been gaining his clerical spells since the days of advanced dungeons & dragons.
Temples of Bahamut
Bahamut doesn't go in for temples or hallowed ground, rather he is honored through the deeds of a divine servant. Some Gold Silver Brass dragons would construct small shrines to him though, usually consisting of nothing more than his image on the wall of a private place for Bahamut's worshipers to meditate, pray, and rest.
Using Bahamut as a DM
Bahamut and his followers have some interesting applications for your campaign settings and the dragon deity can be used in all sorts of ways in your stories, especially if one of your players is a Bahamut worshipper.
First, any church, knightly order, or clergy of Bahamut can function as a source of quests and potential allied NPCs. Smiting evil and upholding justice falls right in line with most plot lines and you can easily use them as a plot device to drive your players to their objectives.
Unless you’re running an evil campaign most Bahamut followers don’t make for great antagonists, though the “so good you become evil” trope can be fun to play with as your knight of Bahamut starts chopping off the heads of petty thieves. Bahamut’s teaches of leniency and mercy though, so your antagonist will have to stray pretty far.
Bahamut himself can also make for a memorable NPC as he has a long history of disguising himself as a wise old human man or a callow youth. The players can encounter him in Bahamut's wanderings unaware of his true nature. Surprise! The kindly quest giver just so happened to be Bahamut in disguise. The reveal of Bahamut's true dragon form can be an unforgettable moment.
I wouldn't recommend trying to use Bahamut in an actual combat for dnd 5e. As a deity he should be able to crush just about anything but if you absolutely need to involve him in a combat, I'd copy the Tiamat 5e stats with a few key edits. Change his breath weapon to cold or radiant damage and cut the multiheaded ability and the legendary action that uses it.
Playing a Bahamut Follower
Bahamut is an attractive deity to follow for both do-gooders and dragon enthusiasts. His dedication to good lines up well with any character who’s a fan of justice, mercy, and honor. Basically, if you could see your character rescuing a cat from a tree then Bahamut is probably a good fit. If your character gains their power from divinity like a cleric or a paladin though, there’s a bit more to it.
What God you worshipped as a cleric used to have a lot more impact regarding divine spells but in 5th edition clerics really only need to know what domains a god has for their clerical spells. 5th edition clerics mechanically select the domain, and the god is really more fluff surrounding it. Exactly what the domains of Bahamut are in 5th edition is a bit hazy since they’re not officially listed, but from what we know of in earlier editions and a bit of extrapolation from his character the life domain, order domain, and war domain should all fit. Arguably, you could also convince a DM that he fits the tempest domain as well.
Thematically it's also useful to know your god's symbol, which for Bahamut is simply a dragon's head in profile.
Bahamut’s virtues and policies regarding kicking evil’s butt seem tailor-made for dragonborn paladin players. But even with their divine powers 5th edition paladins don’t need anything from deities mechanically. In fact, paladins don’t even need to select a god anymore for anything other than fluff and flavor, rather they select a sacred oath. For the most part this oath can be left fairly vague, or it can be something unique to your DM’s setting. You can also adopt the oath and creed of your god though, and here Bahamut shines for his human faithful.
Knightly followers of Bahamut often followed the Ptarian Code, a draconic code of honor created by the gold dragon Ptaris, a member of Bahamut’s court. Originally the Ptarian code was just meant for Bahamut’s court dragons, but it eventually got adopted by knights and other honorable humans paying homage to Bahamut and other good draconic deities.
The major precepts were:
- Justice and Good above all.
- Honor and Fealty to the King.
- Honor and Respect to Righteous Innocence.
- Honor and Duty to the Balancer (Lendys), to Her Mercy (Tamara), and to the Justicemaker (Bahamut).
- Honor and Protection to the Lesser Races.
- Honor and Correction to the Enemies of Justice and Good.
- Honor and Forbearance for oneself.
Beyond a creed, those wishing to do good in Bahamut's name often wear bronze badges, silver badges, or gold badges bearing a simple image of a dragon's head in profile.
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Last updated: January 27, 2019
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