Ben-Hadar

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Ben-Hadar in 2e.
Ben-Hadar in 3e, facing a kraken.

Ben-Hadar, Prince of Good Water Creatures and Good Elemental Water, is one of the four Princes of Elemental Good, a band of benevolent Archomentals introduced in Dungeons & Dragons to counter the machinations of the older, more iconic Princes of Elemental Evil: Cryonax, Imix, Ogremoch, Olhydra and Yan-C-Bin.

Unfortunately, the Princes of Elemental Good have never really had the traction of their more malevolent counterparts, in one part because DMs rarely have as much use for goodly monsters as they do for malign ones (evil parties are, after all, the rarity in D&D) and in another part because they really exemplify the complaints many D&D fans make of Planescape relying a little too heavily on grid-filling.

2nd Edition[edit]

Ruling over the goodly denizens of the Elemental Plane of Water from a hidden palace in the Coral Reef of Ssesurgass, the Neutral Good Ben-Hadar has the dubious honor of being one of the biggest assholes to still claim the title of "Elemental Prince of Good". Described an arrogant, selfish boor, Ben-Hadar clings to the title of Good only in that he fights evil at every turn and promoes the general welfare of those under him.

In fact, Ben-Hadar has relatively little to do with his malicious counterpart Olhydra - his bitterest enmities seem to be with Chan and Zaaman Rul, his fellow Archomentals of Good!

Ben-Hadar featured alongside his fellow Archomentals in the Planescape Monstrous Compendium Appendix 3.

This archomental takes the form of a tall humanoid figure made entirely of water, with huge, long-clawed hands. This grants him particular resilience against bladed weapons.

3rd Edition[edit]

A rush of pure, blue-green water coalesces into a humanoid shape taller than three men. Its eyes sparkle lke sunlight shining on ocean waves. Instead of hands, this creature has a set of watery claws resembling those of a gigantic crustacean.

When he was updated to 3rd edition in Dragon Magazine #353, Ben-Hadar became a very different character. This Ben-Hadar is described as a deeply emotional, intuitive being with a personality akin to a tropical storm: boisterous, loud and aggressive on the outside, but calm, peaceful and serene on the inside. He's still arrogant, and rather gruff, but he truly cares about his followers and would sacrifice his own life to protect them and his plane. Although easily bored, disappointed and dejected, he's equally easy to fill with love and happiness.

Of the three elder Good Archomentals, Ben-Hadar is the most scarred by what happened during the War of Law and Chaos; having already been sympathetic with Chan's horror at learning the Lawful forces were working with the forces of Lawful Evil, when Bristia Pel was murdered by Chilimba and Ehkahk, it was the last straw - Ben-Hadar turned on the vaati in disillusioned fury and fought on the side of Chaos for the rest of the war. This incident taught him that evil comes from all sides, and convinced him that he can trust no-one but himself. Ben-Hadar believes that seeking out evil to destroy is is a fool's enterprise, and that even evil creatures can sometimes be used for good purposes. As such, he keeps his affairs private and doesn't go picking fights - but anyone who picks one with him, well, they'll regret it. This is evidently why he's considered Neutral Good.

As in his 2e lore, 3e Ben-Hadar has no particular enmity for Olhydra, and the two Archomentals mostly ignore each other. However, his rivalry with Chan and Zaaman Rul has been quietly dropped.

Ben-Hadar rules from a fortified palace of living coral called Ssesurgass, where he is served by and watches over Colossal coral golems, water elementals, water mephits, water weirds, tritons, darfellan, ocean giants and aquatic elves.

He is rumored to be an ally or even occasional lover of Queen Morwel of the Eladrin, and a gargantuan sisiutl known as Triusis zealously guards a portal linking Ssesurgass to Queen Morwel's personal demiplane. He also stays on good terms with Deep SashelAs, Eadro and Persan, as well as the Water Lion. His oddest friendship is with the Slaad Lord Rennbuu, Lord of Colors, who often visits Ssesurgass to play with the massive coral reefs.

Ben-Hadar's major roles on the Plane of Water include policing the vortices to River Styx and the River Oceanus, keeping a watchful eye on Charon that he will live up to their ancient pledge of mutual non-interference, ensuring the marids of the Citadel of Ten Thousand Pearls stay in line, and opposing Sekolah and Panzuriel. He is often harassed by Bwimb II, daughter of the Archomental of Ooze Bwimb, and it's possible that the nauseating slop elemental has a perverse crush on her watery counterpart.

Ben-Hadar's titles include Squallbringer and The Valorous Tempest. His holy symbol is a blue-green wave in a golden circle.

4th Edition[edit]

Reverting back to original 2nd edition lore, the 4e version of Ben-Hadar - known as the Valorous Tide, the Prince of the Emerald Tide, and the Coral Lord - is once-more an arrogant, self-absorbed figure who care little for the world beyond his home in the Coral Reef of Ssegurgass. Spending most of his time brooding on his throne, Ben-Hadar of the World Axis has abandoned his rivalry with Olhydra, and is turn despised by both Chan and Zaaman Rul. He is still considered the Prince of Good Water Creatures, so he is presumably still Good and not Unaligned, much as how he was Neutral Good in the previous two editions despite being a dick.

The Archomentals of Dungeons & Dragons
Elements: Air Water Earth Fire Ice
Good Archomentals: Chan Ben-Hadar Sunnis Zaaman Rul
Evil Archomentals: Yan-C-Bin Olhydra Ogremoch Imix Cryonax